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The Africa Automation Fair and Connected Industries conference, taking place from 6 to 8 June 2017 at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, will focus on the changes wrought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Happening alongside Pollution and Waste Technology Africa, the conference aims to evaluate the technology and infrastructural requirements behind the revolution and the impact it will have on efficiency and quality.

African Automation Fair announcedThe Fourth Industrial revolution builds on the Third – the digital revolution – and is characterised by the fusion of physical, digital technologies and the biological worlds. Also known as Industrie 4.0, it is evolving at an exponential pace, starting with the industrial Internet and manufacturing, and spreading to impact industries across all sectors.

The biggest impact in the future will be in the changing skills profile of workers in industries such as manufacturing, according to experts. The European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU’s diplomatic service and partner of the Africa Automation Fair, believes that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will demand the mass upgrading of the digital skills of workers.

To keep pace with global trends, South Africa must therefore invest in education and innovation. Massimo De Luca, Head of Trade and Economics at the delegation of the EU to South Africa, says that Industrie 4.0 will create a shift from mass production to customised and creative solutions. “Innovation and creativity will be key. Emphasis on education all the more necessary.”

Oratile Sematle, Society for Automation, Instrumentation, Measurement and Control (SAIMC) President, adds that South African industries will have to unlearn and relearn in order to stay relevant. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution/ Internet of Things is reshaping the face of industry, connecting everything to everything and leveraging emerging computing capacity to automate industries,” he says.

“Industrie 4.0 is changing the face of industry and is a key topic across the US and Europe at the moment. To help fast-track change locally, we are bringing leading European experts to South Africa to update South African public and private sector players, large manufacturing and processing plants, and the petrochemical, automotive and mining sectors on Industrie 4.0 trends and best practice internationally,” explains Hanli Goncalves, conference director of the Africa Automation Fair and Connected Industries conference.

The event has been endorsed by, and secured the participation of, a significant number of local and international industry bodies, as well as the South African Departments of Trade and Industry and Science and Technology, Goncalves says. Representatives of the Department of Science and Technology, the European Union Embassy and Chamber of Commerce; the German Embassy and Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the Black Management Forum; the Universities of Pretoria and Johannesburg; industry bodies and leading enterprises will participate.

For more information on the conference, visit www.reedexpoafrica.co.za/AfricaAutomationFair/

Image credit: Copyright: 06photo / 123RF Stock Photo

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