Digitalisation is progressing in every domain, including the manufacturing industries. Digitising, digitalisation and digital transformation are concepts that are sometimes mixed or intentionally broaden or constricted. For us digitising is the way to provide a digital presentation (model) of an entity i.e. converting information from a physical format into a digital one. Digitalisation means the implementation of processes or services via information and communication technologies (ICT). Digital transformation is the way to digitalise your product, services or processes; i.e. how to proceed with digitalisation. In Finland, there are examples of ICT forerunners on manufacturing sector.
For example, Cargotec already has over 250 implemented robot process automation applications. The first industrial 5G, edge-computing and AI-based machine-vision system can detect errors and guide workers online at ABB. However, there are some smaller forerunners, too. For example, Mantsinen has implemented intelligent maintenance service based on an Internet of Things (IoT) solution that feeds 50 different bus signals into the cloud about every second. This service is piloted with material handling machinery in a harbour in the UK. This leaflet focusses on Finnish manufacturing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and clarifies their digitalisation status, challenges and potential technologies. Some supportive actions are proposed. VTT’s role and means to support those SMEs will be considered in more detail soon.