Packagers are reconsidering using Industry 4.0 technology due to Industrial Internet of Things-enabled machines using the IIoT to slack off at work.

Many plants in Australia and around the world are reporting downward trends in productivity after installing IIoT capability, with managers frequently finding connected machines engaging in time-wasting activity such as using social media, surfing the web, and playing browser games during work hours.

According to Joe King, general manager of Foolham & Winke Packaging, he has to reprimand his equipment for wasting time on the job on an almost daily basis.

"I come onto the factory floor and I catch my machines just stuffing around on the Internet of Things. They’re scrolling the Facebook of Things, posting selfies on the Instagram of Things, getting into arguments on the Twitter of Things, looking for hookups on the Tinder of Things, even playing the Candy Crush of Things. It’s ridiculous. This isn’t what I pay them for," said King.

"I even had to fire one of my palletisers for looking at obscene images during work hours. Just screens and screens full of schematics, and pictures of robots with their panels off and their wires and servos exposed. It was disgusting."

The machines themselves, however, are pointing the clamp at management. Articulated robotic arm 4PR17-F0075, which is installed at Foolham & Winke, told PKN more needs to be done to create a stimulating work environment.

"It's always the same jobs, hour after hour, day in and day out. Can you blame me for wanting a bit of a break from pick this, pack that all day? I could do it with my sensors closed. Cut us some slack.

"Honestly, we're being treated like robots here," it said.

The problems don't end at wasted time, according to cyber-security expert Trick Storey, who says that machines - especially older ones - might not be savvy to Internet of Things-based scams that could cost them and their employers money.

"They're all clicking on links in the email of things that lead to shady phishing sites, or sending money to exiled Nigerian mainframes," said Storey.

"Malware is also a huge problem, and the proliferation of anti-antivirus conspiracy theories on the Facebook of Things isn't helping.

"Honestly, it's like they'll believe any old nonsense they read online," he added.

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