Shaping the Industrial World: How Malta Recognizes Technology Trends by 2019 https://www.automation.com/files/pluginfiles/item_99715/field_376/Engineers-reviewing-industrial-data_reg.jpg
By Jonathan Grech, Director of JMartans Automation
Malta is known for being the site of choice for film productions such as Game of Throne  Gladiator and World War Z but the island is now recognized for its business-friendly environment. This article explains why the Maltese economy is flourishing and what to expect in 2019.
Malta is at the crossroads of contrasting economies and cultures. Thanks to its strategic location, it can serve as a hub for the markets of the European Union (EU) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). In fact, Malta's economy was one of the strongest performers in EU Member States in 2017, with an average growth rate of six percent.
With the forthcoming Brexit, 2019 will undoubtedly confront British and European companies with the implications of this without clearly understanding its implications for the long term future. With the growth of the country, the technology used in Malta has developed rapidly in the last decade. As new technologies evolve on a daily basis, it is unlikely that they will slow down in the foreseeable future.
Such a technological development is Blockchain. Defined by Don and Alex Tapscott as an "incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to capture not just financial transactions but virtually anything of value," the Maltese government believes that technology is exponentially improving the island's transportation and education systems
There is a lot of speculation about the role of Blockchain in the development of Industry 4.0 around the world, but some companies are already combining blockchain solutions with 3D printing and other processes to create new manufacturing trends. That's why Malta welcomes more technology startups and blockchain-based businesses in 2019, and we expect other countries to follow suit.
The recent worldwide proliferation of Ethernet communication protocols has led to predictions that the IO-Link market will continue to grow significantly after 2025.
IO-Link is an open standard serial communication protocol that enables bidirectional data exchange from sensors and devices to various networks and fieldbuses. We expect more companies outside Malta to know the benefits of integrating IO-Link systems next year.
One such advantage is that IO-Link systems do not require complicated cabling. Instead, devices can be connected using the same low-cost, unshielded 3-wire standard cable as traditional I / O applications.
An additional advantage is the abundance of data available via IO-Link. By accessing data at the sensor level, plant and plant managers can monitor the operation of system components. This data can then be used to streamline device replacement and schedule machine maintenance accordingly. Both reduce the costs and the risk of downtime.
We see companies taking bigger steps towards "smart manufacturing". Just as managers are turning to IO-Link for the convergence of operating technologies, we see technologies such as safety light curtains and two-handset functional devices being used to improve the safety and efficiency of complex manufacturing equipment.
For example, if a machine operator needs to use both hands to initiate and continue a machine cycle, two-hand controllers are required to keep the user away from dangerous machine motion. When one or both hands are removed from the control, the machine stops automatically.
Safety should always be paramount, but newer technologies like these make it easier for manufacturers to find and integrate the right device for them. This reduces the risk for the end product, the employees and the equipment.
These are just a few of the trends and technologies that JMartans expects to drive business in 2019, not just in Malta but globally. However, the battle for a competitive advantage could not be as cruel as those observed in Game of Thrones companies can completely avoid this by using the latest technologies as part of their manufacturing process.Did you like this article?
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