Industry 4.0 Implementation in US Primary Wood Products Industry
Research subject and fields:
Understanding barriers to implementation of Industry 4.0 strategies is a first step to enable companies to begin to use and implement new technologies; using new technologies will allow mills to improve efficiency and stay relevant in the face of increasing international competition. This study uses a mail survey to gather insights regarding awareness of technologies within the US primary wood products industry as well as the barriers to using new technologies. Awareness of technologies is generally low, especially with respect to additive manufacturing, autonomous systems, and big data. Lack of skilled workers is the primary limiting factor to implementation of new technologies with other key factors being out-of-date facilities and unclear financial benefits. Existing expertise was highest in manufacturing process monitoring and data analysis, and lowest in robotics. Only a very small group of respondents have already implemented any form of robotics. Overall, only six respondents (6.7 %) have an Industry 4.0 strategy, while 77 % did not recognize the terms “Industry 4.0” or “Smart Manufacturing.” Results suggest considerable room for additional application of I4.0 technologies in the industry.