Every manufacturing executive might have heard or may have come across the term Industry 4.0. The term was originally coined in Germany through a technology project to automate the manufacturing process. However, the concept of Industry 4.0 has now become a worldwide initiative and is constantly working to improve the business sector. Countries like Japan and China have even coined their own terms like “Industrial Value Chain Initiative” and “Made in China 2025” respectively to emphasize their contribution to the concept. And there’s a good reason for why Industry 4.0 projects are penetrating into every area of the manufacturing industry. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, operations and equipment optimization in the factory setting can generate up to $3.7T of value in 2025.
On the other hand, smart manufacturing harness natural language and sensors-based capabilities. The concept leverages current production technologies, such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), analytics, mobility, and advanced robotics to provide tangible benefits to the manufacturing company. It creates a new interaction between humans and machines enabling the machine supervisor to assess the performance of the machine/process and receive immediate answers to the issues resulting in any unplanned downtime. Smart manufacturing allows technicians to access years of stored performance insights, quality assessments, manuals and repair detail, presented in context with user needs. It addresses a shortage of critical parts by providing supplier/ecosystem details, weather and transportation information and company expertise, all in a shared resolution room.
How smart manufacturing is adding advantages to the manufacturing industry
The concept and the technologies involved in smart manufacturing assist a manufacturer to achieve his desired goals in a hassle-free and smooth manner. Smart manufacturing adds some distinguishing advantages to the manufacturer’s company.
Some of the advantages are mentioned below;
Reduced human labor but also a requirement for a different skill set
With the help of automation and smart business intelligence provided by the technologies driving smart manufacturing, manufacturers can attain less human intervention in their processes. This results in a centralized ecosystem that can deliver a better result for a complex work schedule. However, to make this centralized ecosystem functional and feasible, the company must have a proper skill set available on-board. As the fragility and complexity of the technology require steady hands to monitor them, it becomes one of the top-most prerequisites for the company to have dedicated people for enjoying the benefits offered by these practices.
How Industry 4.0 is a game changer for factory owners
- How Industry 4.0 is a game changer
- The role of IoT and data analytics in the manufacturing industry
- IT/OT Convergence: Why it’s important for IoT adoption
- Current market trends and value
- Smart factory: The evolution not revolution
- Demo and review of smart production line monitoring
- Q&A session
Real-time information and improved decision making
Both the concepts enable the manufacturer to move beyond just predicting the possible outcomes. As a result of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing, a manufacturing company can now know the current stock levels, machine health, the precise time of break down, and the degree of damage that can be caused by the failure of equipment. This also allows the manufacturer to have real-time information of flowing data from various production cycles. Also, it helps the company to optimize the entire value chain from inbound logistics, warehousing, production, marketing, sales, and outbound logistics.
Improved quality and increased innovation spending
The automation provided by Industry 4.0 increases the standardization of processes and procedures, therefore reducing the variability and faults in final products. Manufacturers can now focus on innovating and improving their products rather than setting aside significant budgets to repair faulty products.
Ability to understand and deliver what customers actually want
A manufacturer who works with customers on a one-to-one basis is availing the benefits of smart manufacturing and industry 4.0 by gaining the ability to have real-time behavioral insights of customers. Also, the manufacturing industry can have insights on customer’s products and services in real-time.
These were some of the advantages the manufacturing industry is availing from smart manufacturing; now let’s have a look at some of the use cases that can help a manufacturing company to gain a competitive edge amongst its competitors in the market.
Manufacturers face a wide range of challenges in maintaining the desired rate of production, especially when it comes to creating the desired level of collaboration across various manufacturing operations. With the smart manufacturing and monitoring of pre-defined KPIs, it becomes a lot easier for organizations to monitor and document tangible and quantifiable benefits. As a result, the company gets a clear start and finish with the results that are ready to be measured in order to assess the real value of the technologies implemented in the business.
Leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to Set Up a Smart Factory
It looks like the manufacturing industry is set to see some evolutionary changes with connected factory, offices, supply chain, etc.
Here are some use cases demonstrating the power of smart manufacturing and its role in Industry 4.0;
Smart maintenance enables a machine supervisor to assess the problem occurring in the machine or process that is hindering the team to achieve the desired output. It allows the supervisor to monitor the process/machine’s performance and receive immediate answers avoiding any unplanned downtime. With the help of deep search and discovery, it unveils the disrupted critical patterns resulting in improved predictive maintenance. This approach offers the manufacturers with the potential solution to the issues affecting the optimum production. Additionally, this approach also speeds up the production along with driving flexible automation for the organization.
Critical parts management
All thanks to every industrial revolution in the past, the production of a manufacturing company solely depends upon the proper functioning of its machines. Any machine failure can lead to a serious loss to the company. On top of it, if correct parts are unavailable at the time of repair, the situation can be easily escalated as downtime crucially increases.
Smart manufacturing allows the manufacturer to prevent such shortages with context-driven supplier or ecosystem details, part availability on the premises, transportation of the part, and company’s expertise for installation of that part. This keeps the production line in the manufacturing company up and running and increases the business agility.
Any anomaly that occurs in the production line or in the machines associated with the manufacturing organization can be best understood when there’s a visual proof for it. Now, either the supervisors can wait for that visual evidence to happen and cause major damage to the entire production facility of the company, or he can receive an early alert that can warn him about the forthcoming danger. Smart manufacturing evaluates the entire working of the machines and processes and communicates with a system that alerts the supervisor with “go/no-go” flags. This, as a result, removes the defective parts and devices from the final deliverable chain before they get into the marketplace.
These major use-cases showcase the versatility of smart manufacturing in an organization. Yet, the technology and the concept are still new and organizations are testing its limits and area of utilizations.
About Softweb Smart Manufacturing
Softweb Solutions is a cognitively connected organization that actively offers advanced solutions to the manufacturing and other verticals of the business world. Softweb Smart Manufacturing is designed to deliver the best actionable insights to manufacturers in order to help them overcome the challenges. Whether it’s production line or logistics, asset management or generate periodic reports of an entire process of the business, Softweb Smart Manufacturing responds to every situation actively resulting in a better business process and increased production.