Smart Manufacturing is the future of manufacturing. It’s a set of technologies that bring down the cost of producing goods while improving the quality of those goods.
Smart manufacturing has led to what’s been called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The data collected from the manufacturing process and equipment used can determine productivity and efficiency. However, most of the older factories are still running legacy systems. Many of the equipment are non-connected and unable to send any alert automatically when the machines encounter problems.
As compared to new manufacturing facilities that are now equipped with sensors that can collect extensive data and monitor the usage of their assets and logistics, this new breed of factories can easily lead the industry and leave behind their old competitors. Thus, they need to transform digitally and embrace IR 4.0 technologies such as IoT.
What is Smart Manufacturing?
As the world becomes more and more automated, smart manufacturers proactively embrace technology to make their businesses more efficient, profitable, and competitive.
In a world where robots are taking over manufacturing, and the role of a skilled, human workforce is diminishing, we need to look at what will replace it. The answer, as we see it, is AI-powered automation. And that means replacing humans with machines in almost every aspect of production.
The use of industrial robots has been growing steadily since 2005, with growth accelerating in recent years. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), industrial robots increased by 70 percent between 2005 and 2015. In the US alone, there were over 2 million industrial robots in operation in 2015. Today, robots are used in almost every industry, from automotive to food processing. There are many benefits to using robots in manufacturing. They can increase productivity by up to 50 percent and reduce human error by 90 percent.
IoT has been used extensively in manufacturing to monitor and control the machines from the remote. The expensive assets need to be connected with sensors to collect relevant data, especially in real-time, to make fast decisions.
8 Immediate Benefits of Implementing Smart Manufacturing
- Leaner Process.
As the industry becomes increasingly digital, manufacturers have faced a complex web of supply chain and logistics challenges. But by applying new technologies such as IoT and robotics, they can take advantage of the benefits of lean manufacturing to streamline processes and improve performance. This report explores the immediate benefits that smart manufacturing systems can deliver.
- Maximum flexibility.
The Smart Manufacturing solutions can provide you with the functionality you need to maximize your productivity and keep your operations running smoothly, from simple batch processes to complex assembly line workflows.
- Maximize efficiency.
When it comes to production, time is money. With Smart Manufacturing, you’ll save valuable time and energy. Scheduling & Planning Smart Manufacturing helps you build a workflow that works for you – from planning a project schedule to managing an entire manufacturing enterprise. You can also create detailed reports and charts that show you exactly how much time and resources your plant is using.
Do you ever find yourself wondering if your inventory levels are accurate? Do you ever find yourself trying to figure out which of your products are in stock? Do you ever have trouble keeping track of the inventory on hand and where it’s been?
- Increased agility.
The benefits of a real-time view into the manufacturing process can be significant for business performance, including increased agility. You can make better-informed decisions, improve customer service, and gain a competitive advantage. You can also identify bottlenecks, adjust processes, and take corrective actions faster to reduce the impact of delays and disruptions.
- Improved collaboration.
A real-time view of the manufacturing process can help you build a collaborative culture. Everyone in the organization understands their role and responsibilities, and no one is left behind. This approach creates greater awareness of the impact of a decision and how it affects other people. It helps foster a collaborative environment where everyone works together toward a common goal—a complete picture.
- Improved predictability.
When you have visibility into the process, you accurately see your work in progress. You’ll know exactly when your product or service will be completed, allowing you to better plan for the next release—more control.
- Increased quality.
You can see problems before they become significant issues by providing visibility into the process. You’ll catch inconsistencies and defects early on, which means fewer refunds and quicker resolution of customer issues. When you combine these three powerful concepts with the Internet, social media, smartphones, tablets, and a global economy, what do you get? You get what I like to call – The Collaborative Advantage!
- Proven Productivity.
I’ve been involved in the technology industry for more than 30 years. During that time, I’ve seen many trends come and go. What has always remained constant is the need for people to produce results.
In the collaborative economy, people are producing results. Whether you’re selling products or services, people need to be able to see what they’re doing and make adjustments as necessary.
You want people to work independently, and you don’t want them to be dependent on you for every decision. The way that technology helps you achieve this goal is by giving you visibility into the process.
Examples of How Smart Manufacturing Improves Product Quality
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal of every business. However, many companies only pay lip service to this goal while others neglect entirely it.
Smart Manufacturing goes beyond paying lip service to customer satisfaction by ensuring it becomes a top priority. How does Smart Manufacturing do this? By constantly monitoring and controlling the entire production process.
This helps to eliminate or reduce the following sources of customer dissatisfaction.
Overspending on costs
It’s not hard to imagine that when you spend money, you will want to make sure you don’t lose it. This is why you need to have an accurate and detailed manufacturing plan to ensure you are spending your money where it is most needed.
To prevent this from happening, Smart Manufacturing tracks every detail of the production process to know exactly what you are spending on. When you have the data, you can quickly identify which parts need to be improved or streamlined to make your process more efficient.
Inaccurate or low-quality products
Another thing that can lead to customer dissatisfaction is having inaccurate or low-quality products. For example, if a customer buys a product with a defect, they will be disappointed. Not only will they feel like they wasted their money, but they also may even think that the company did not care enough about their product to make sure it was good.
When customer knows that the company is willing to take care of them, they are more likely to buy again.
5 Tips to Embrace Technology
1. Compete. How your business uses technology will determine your ability to compete in the future. If you don’t use technology to improve your business, someone who is more digitally savvy will leave you in the dust.
2. Partnership. You need to find the best technology partners and integrate them seamlessly into your business. Don’t get bogged down in trying to understand how technology works in every nuance. Instead, delegate that part to the experts. After all, you have many more important things to worry about, like running your business.
3. Solutions. There are many technology solutions available for manufacturing. It’s essential to find the one that is right for your needs and then educate yourself on making it work for you.
4. Invest. Technology is not a panacea for every problem. Sometimes, you have to take the time and invest to solve problems with people, processes, and politics. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking technology will solve your issues instantly. In most cases, it won’t.
5. Expertise. You can’t just buy any old technology solution and expect it to work for your business. It would help if you worked with experts who understand your industry and make your business unique.
Time to Embrace IR 4.0
The data collected from the manufacturing process and equipment used can determine productivity and efficiency. However, most of the older factories are still running legacy systems. Many of the equipment are non-connected and unable to send any alert automatically when the machines encounter problems.
It’s the best time to transform the manufacturing process digitally and embrace IoT or other related technologies. Customers demand better, faster, and cheaper products. You can’t do this with older technology.