The following was originally published as a blog by the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development and is published with their permission.

The Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is pleased to announce a yearlong series of workshops for manufacturers interested in learning how new technologies are transforming the industry. Offered through the Macomb Next initiative, in partnership with Velocity, attendees will learn about Industry 4.0 and why it is important for businesses to keep up to date with smart manufacturing, or risk being left behind. The first event will be held Thursday, Feb. 16 at Velocity in Sterling Heights.

“Industry 4.0 is more than an industry buzzword. It’s transforming our businesses and the way we live, work and play,” MCPED Director Vicky Rowinski said. “In my role, I am able to see this transformation happening in real time as I tour through some of the most innovative and state-of-the-art facilities in Macomb County. These workshops will help manufacturers in the County keep pace.”

Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is the ongoing automation of manufacturing and industrial practices, using modern smart technology. I4.0 helps manage and optimize all aspects of the manufacturing processes and supply chain. It provides access to real-time data and insights necessary to make smarter, faster decisions, which can ultimately boost the efficiency and profitability of an entire operation.

The nine pillars of I4.0 include:

  • Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)
  • Advanced Robotics and Automation
  • Advanced Simulation
  • Big Data and Analytics
  • Cloud Computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Internet of Things
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)
  • System Integration

MCPED’s five workshops, sprinkled throughout 2023, will address these pillars and how interconnectivity, automation, and real-time data can be implemented into a facility. A panel of industry experts and peer adopters will discuss these topics, as well as returns on investment and how workers play a role in these changes. Vendors will also be in attendance to answer questions and show new available technologies.

“Velocity is really excited to partner with the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development team on this important event series for our business community,” said April Boyle, senior advisor for entrepreneurship and innovation, Velocity. “Bringing together the best content, connections, and easy-to-implement tools and resources to help our business thrive and grow is our goal.”

The first workshop of the series will take place Thursday, Feb. 16 from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. and will examine cloud computing and the Internet of Things. It will feature keynote speaker George Singos, the Industry 4.0 business leader advisor for the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, and a panel discussion featuring Heidi Devroy (Prosper Tech), John Babi (L&L Products), and Mike Rumel (Fisher Dynamics), who will discuss their experiences as they implemented these technologies.

“These events are for manufacturers of all sizes,” said Rowinski. “Those involved in making key operational decisions are encouraged to join us for breakfast followed by an opportunity to listen, ask questions, and network.”

Other Industry 4.0 workshops in the series include:

  • April 13 – System integration, big data, and analytics
  • June 15 – Virtual reality/augmented reality
  • Aug. 17 – Additive manufacturing (3D printing), advanced robotics, and automation
  • Oct. 19 – Cybersecurity

Learn more about the workshops and other Macomb Next initiatives at