How autonomy can help to deliver sustainability

Much of the focus for the decarbonisation of the planet, understandably, has been directed at industry. Industrial practices have been a main contributor to the high levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to generate a rise in the planet’s temperature (the world is already 1.1° C hotter than it was during the late pre-industrial era).

Even indirectly, for example through fossil fuel-powered transport and consumer electrical products, decisions made during the manufacturing process have a significant bearing on the impact on the planet further down the line. Industry now needs to think and operate sustainably.

Industrial sustainability has the power to limit or even reverse the negative impacts to become a source of solutions rather than problems. Central to this will be the smarter use of data, giving far deeper insights and greater control over manufacturing processes.

Grasping the full potential of manufacturing data gives the ability to measure, analyse, simulate and predict outcomes at every step. This is impossible to do accurately without access to the right tools to capture data and utilise it in more powerful ways.

With smart software and hardware operating together and ‘speaking the same language’, manufacturers can make decisions that instantly and continuously improve efficiency, productivity and quality. These gains quickly translate into reductions in energy use and less material waste which combine to limit the pressure on our planet’s variety of ecosystems.

Having those decisions made autonomously by the machines themselves takes efficiency and speed up yet another notch. This is the journey we are on, putting data to work to empower an autonomous future where industry, business and humanity sustainably thrive.

Autonomy will increasingly shape our industries and our lives. Sensors and software will connect and utilise data to enhance decision-making for faster, more agile and more efficient processes. This will result in increasingly efficient and sustainable use of resources, requiring only what is absolutely necessary to perform tasks and manufacture products. Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén will explore more on this topic during his opening keynote at HxGN LIVE 2022. Ola will reveal that the way forward is closely linked to freedom of autonomy and detail how a new smart digital reality will transform obstacles into opportunity for both business and our planet’s future (click here for more info).

Autonomy for the people

Autonomy will also make manufacturing safer for employees as human error becomes a far rarer occurrence.

People’s roles and skills will change with the development of autonomy in industry, but autonomous processes will always be supported by a human framework and some tasks will still require human skills. Getting that collaborative element right will be critical, but the potential benefits for everyone are enormous.

We believe that doing well for business through the implementation of autonomy and smarter manufacturing methods will naturally lead to positive outcomes for the planet, because in order for environmental sustainability to be achievable, economic sustainability must also be considered.

Resilience ‘manufactured-in’

One of the biggest challenges for increasing use of renewable energy are related to resilience and providing power on demand. We have already seen in recent months the enormous problems related to energy supply and soaring costs. Hexagon’s solutions will play a crucial part in developing a more resilient and sustainable energy mix, optimising drivetrains, wind turbine blades and plant positioning to ensure renewable energy continues and accelerates its rise as part of a growing sustainability economy.

Our metrology solutions are also playing a key role in ground-breaking nuclear fusion projects. This technology could potentially become one of the cheapest and cleanest sources of energy, but is still in the experimental stage. Watch this space!

Learn more

If these concepts spark your curiosity, join us at HxGN LIVE 2022 from 20-23 June where the Future of Manufacturing Summit will reveal more about how autonomy can transform manufacturing ecosystems. Explore, discover and learn about smart digital reality solutions and hear from experts on how proven technology is digitally transforming facilities and assets to drive productivity, optimise workflows and digitalise your manufacturing ecosystem. Network with industry leaders, take home ideas that will inspire your organisation, and experience an autonomous future. We look forward to you joining us in Las Vegas.



  • Richard Scott

    With more than a decade of experience editing B2B publications, Richard joined Hexagon in 2021 as Global Content Programmes Lead. Located in the UK, Richard has written for and edited a wide range of journals focused on subject areas such as electrical engineering and the chemicals industry.

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