Should we automate?

Speaker: Duncan McFarlane

Abstract: Originally, automation was a term used almost exclusively in the industrial domain, yet now being applied in most aspects of life. Yet the rationale for automating and its implications is often not clearly understood. This talk will explore the origins of automation and examine what is encompassed by the term today. It will explore the rationale, benefits and downsides of automating – including implications for the future workforce – and will attempt to provide some signposting around whether we should automate, and if so when and where. A range of industrial automation developments from more than thirty years’ experience will be used to support this presentation.

Biography: Duncan McFarlane is Professor of Industrial Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge and Head of Distributed Information & Automation Lab and a visiting Professor at University of Melbourne. He began his career as an engineering cadet with BHP in Melbourne and has worked in the industrial automation area for over 25 years joining Cambridge in 1995. He was Research Director of the Auto ID Centre in 2000-3 and subsequently co-founder and Chairman of RedBite Solutions Ltd – an industrial RFID/IoT based asset management solutions company. He is Principal Investigator on the Digital Manufacturing on a Shoestring programme developing low cost digital solutions for small manufacturers with more recent spin-outs into construction, logistics and medical systems.  From March to July 2020 he led a team which won the RAE Presidents Award for providing Industrial Engineering support to local hospitals managing the Covid-19 Epidemic and from September 2020 to July 2021 was Operations Logistics lead at Cambridge University for its Asymptomatic Covid-19 Student Testing Programme.

Startup without nasty surprises – Simulation and Virtual Commissioning with Emulate3D

Speaker: Michael Maurer

Abstract: See how Emulate3D Digital Twin Software helps to expand what’s possible in the design and performance of machines before parts are ordered. Discover controls issues before you go on site. And transport plant personnel to a virtual world where they can train on systems without consequence, predict future performance and simulate line changes.

Biography:  Michael Maurer is Team Leader & Solution Consultant at Rockwell Automation