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Industry 4.0: what lies ahead for manufacturing?

On November 24, Concordia professor Nadia Bhuiyan explores the digitalization of enterprise at the Montreal Summit on Innovation
November 9, 2016
By Renée Dunk


On November 24, the Montreal Summit on Innovation — organized by Concordia partner Quartier de l’innovation (QI) — will unite nearly 300 people from industry, government, academia and community to explore how technology is transforming the manufacturing sector.

We sat down with Nadia Bhuiyan, summit speaker, mechanical and industrial engineering professor and associate director of the Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation, to talk about “smart factories” and future industrial advances.

The manufacturing sector under assault from the fourth industrial revolution” — this is a broad theme! How does the summit’s focus tie in with your teaching and research at Concordia?

Nadia Bhuyian: The fourth industrial revolution is all about the digitalization of the enterprise. It includes the internet of things, cloud computing, big data analytics and additive manufacturing, among other things, which are expected to revolutionize how products are designed and manufactured. 

Nadia Bhuiyan | Photo by David Ward Nadia Bhuiyan | Photo by David Ward

As industrial engineers, we have been teaching and researching such “smart factories” or “factories of the future” for a long time, but the extent to which this phenomenon is happening in industry today is starting to materialize, in large part thanks to new technological advances.

So our teaching and research will now extend from theory into practice and how to actually make this happen. Part of my research focuses on lean, which tries to achieve seamless flow in production and other business processes. Some people think that lean will lose its place, but I think Industry 4.0 will actually allow for truly lean processes, thanks to a heightened understanding of customer needs and better and quicker sharing of data, such as demand in complex supply chains, to name a few benefits.

There is a whole new set of research areas that will emerge as a result of Industry 4.0, and we are currently working on several projects with various companies.

What can attendees at your lecture expect to hear?

NB: A discussion about how companies can leverage the research being done in universities. There will be three university and two industry representatives that will sit on a panel and talk about the status of research in Industry 4.0 in our respective organizations, and we will also discuss what we deem as important research areas moving forward.

Do you have any recommendations of other events summit participants should check out?

NB: I think it all looks very interesting. There will be a talk about the trends in Industry 4.0 around the world, new emerging business models and how small- and medium-size enterprises in Quebec have been adapting, for example.

What are the benefits of the Quartier de l’innovation to the Concordia community?

NB: I think it's important for Concordia to be a part of this initiative since the QI brings together university researchers and students, businesses and citizens to take on global challenges. Living in Montreal, we all have a vested interest in making the city a showcase for creativity and innovation.

Register online for the sixth edition of the Montréal Summit on Innovation, taking place on Thursday, November 24, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

Find out more about the Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation.



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