Updated April 13, 2022
When is it risky to wait? When everyone else is moving forward. Utilizing smart manufacturing technology sooner rather than later is the smart choice. Industry Week reported that most manufacturing companies have been working on at least one smart manufacturing project since the end of last year and that "moving to smart manufacturing can help you reach and serve customers better and more profitably." They also said that many businesses are experimenting by adding sensors to their existing equipment. Why not give it a try?
Smart manufacturing is the concept of using real-time data to deliver actionable insights that drive process improvement, process optimization, increased equipment utilization, and highly flexible responses within smart manufacturing systems.
This use of data leads to smart manufacturing plants where production equipment is integrated with data collection, analytics platforms, and other new technologies. Smart manufacturing uses a variety of technologies to make this happen. These technologies and tools include computer controls, data modeling, robotics, and edge computing.
The concept of smart manufacturing has been around for many years, but technology is now making it a reality. It’s rooted in the growing adoption of digitization in the manufacturing process. As mass-production systems grow to meet supply consumers' needs in a growing global economy, data created by the merging of cyber-physical systems is increasingly used to improve overall operations.
Manufacturing equipment is connected by sensors or devices to monitor and collect data during the manufacturing process. This data may be directly streamed to the cloud, or it may employ edge or fog computing to process it before being sent to the cloud. The data received by the cloud uses a host of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced data analysis, robust machine learning algorithms, and machine monitoring platforms. It then transforms the data into actionable insights that can be used for sharper decision-making.
The benefits of smart manufacturing extend to the entire enterprise. Insights are used to address issues within the supply chain and develop predictive maintenance programs. Smart manufacturing can even provide valuable data analytics to enhance the value of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
The arrival of smart technology in the manufacturing industry is changing how companies do business. With intelligent manufacturing, an entire manufacturing business can transform into a leaner data-driven company that reaps significant benefits and revolutionizes business processes.
Let’s look at the development of industrial equipment and review each successive revolution that ushered in enormous gains in productivity.
During the first industrial revolution, manufacturing moved from the hand-crafted home-based model to the factory. Innovations such as water and steam power made mass production commonplace.
The second industrial revolution saw further innovations such as improved steel making and the electrification of factories. A human could now operate a machine to produce a much greater volume of goods compared to the era of hand-crafted products.
The third industrial revolution saw the computer introduce automation and take manufacturing processes to even higher productivity levels. This enabled extensive process improvement and efficiency gains.
A collection of emerging technologies is now powering the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. It consists of a suite of technologies such as the industrial internet, artificial intelligence, machine learning, additive manufacturing, edge computing, robotics, augmented reality, and other smart technologies.
|What is Industry 4.0? Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, is an all-encompassing term to refer to the way computers, data and automation are evolving and coming together to change the way work happens, and in particular, manufacturing. Read the Complete Guide.|
What is Industry 4.0? Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, is an all-encompassing term to refer to the way computers, data and automation are evolving and coming together to change the way work happens, and in particular, manufacturing. Read the Complete Guide.
These technologies allow manufacturing plants to leverage the vast data created at every piece of equipment to improve efficiency, enable smart services for added revenue, and deploy cyber-physical systems that increase operational efficiency and impact growth strategy.
Here are some key areas where smart manufacturing relates to Industry 4.0:
Smart manufacturing's potential is vast. Intelligent factories with attached devices can deliver data in real-time and link to analytics engines using cloud-based computing. This connection makes a smart factory more responsive and flexible.
Data directs the operation's activities and tells the manufacturer what to do. This impacts the entire enterprise, not just the production department. Quality systems can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for in-line visual inspection and precise weight and measurements per unit. Like production systems data, quality data is immediately available for better decision-making.
This same collection of sensors will give real-time visualization of machine status. Operators can respond faster in production, reduce downtime, clear jams, and report problems to technicians. When combined with AI and ML algorithms, these sensors and devices can allow predictive maintenance programs that pull machine maintenance out of the passive, reactive state and into a proactive value-added function. This helps manufacturers control cost, reduce downtime, and lengthen equipment lifespan.
Smart manufacturing can also generate new products and value-added services. The capability of monitoring a product through the end of its lifespan is a gamechanger that opens companies up to an unprecedented level of field service and helps them design better products down the road.
This potential is already proving itself through results. For companies utilizing Industry 4.0 technology to develop smart manufacturing, 88% report higher productivity, 74% report higher profitability, 43% report an increase in customer satisfaction, and 42% report an increase in machine uptime. These benefits cannot be overstated.
MachineMetrics unlocks real-time, accurate production data for instant visibility into operations, enabling smart manufacturing from the shop floor to the top floor.
Like all revolutions, progress to full digitization will take time. Along the way, several obstacles must be overcome. These may include:
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offers an enormous opportunity to achieve smart manufacturing powered by Industry 4.0 technologies. MachineMetrics offers out-of-the-box functionality to make this a reality. Our platform also enables advanced analytics, machine learning, and the connection of devices across a factory (including new OEM and legacy analog manufacturing equipment).
MachineMetrics understands that smart manufacturing doesn’t need to be cost-prohibitive or ad hoc. By utilizing the best-in-class platform, companies can realize the benefits of smart manufacturing and capture unprecedented cost savings, higher productivity, better quality, improved processes, and a competitive edge in their smart manufacturing environment.
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