Advancements in technology are revolutionizing how businesses operate across many different industries. The manufacturing industry has not been left behind by the digital revolution. Digital in manufacturing has now become the central focus for most businesses, where they can combine IIoT technologies with their manufacturing processes.
Incorporating the IIoT into manufacturing leads to the development of smart factories that are able to use automation, in-depth data and the digitalization of the production line to achieve higher levels of efficiency. Smart factories are also able to implement more effective communication strategies between operators, departments and management in order to address problems in real time.
With digital in manufacturing, you can revolutionize your daily tasks by making them more efficient and effective. But in what specific ways can digital manufacturing make your factory’s daily tasks easier?
Using IIoT technologies on the production line has made data collection easier, more accurate and more efficient. Instead of having workers stand near a machine counting items or physically inspecting production lines, the process can now be automated. Digital equipment can be used to automatically collect data at these strategic points along the production line.
The data can then be transferred to a centralized location, where it is integrated with data from other sources. This lets operational managers and other employees view the entire manufacturing process across the plant in real time. The data can also be used to establish benchmarks and to improve manufacturing processes.
Digital in manufacturing revolutionizes how you carry out routine maintenance on your equipment. With IIoT technologies, you can make the jump from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance. This means that rather than wasting resources on costly maintenance plans because you fear that your equipment will break down, you can now monitor how your machines are working in real time.
By using sensors and valves, you can monitor temperature, pressure, noise and cycle changes. Any faulty components that are detected can be replaced before they break down and cause the production line to stop running.
In addition, the use of smart technologies allows you to plan equipment replacement and expansion in accordance with performance metrics. Equipment upgrades can be done before a spike of demand occurs, and repairs can be carried out during off-peak periods.
Preparing and Submitting Reports
Before the use of smart technologies in manufacturing, data would be manually collected and entered into Excel spreadsheets for analysis. This process was time-consuming and prone to many errors. In addition, managing multiple excel spreadsheets was a headache for the staff involved.
With digital in manufacturing, you can now collect and analyze data in real time. You can also generate reports based on many different timelines and data points. These reports can be used as key reference points and shared with management when deciding to put in place processes to improve production. The automated generation of reports gives employees more time to focus on acting upon the information presented, as opposed to spending time preparing those reports in the first place.
IIoT technologies can notify you of any concerns in the plant before they escalate to full-blown problems. Rather than learning about low production, increased demand or machine breakdowns at the end of the week, using smart systems means you will receive alerts in real time. Sensors placed on machines can relay data instantly and notify you of any upcoming or potential problems. The availability of inventory and production inputs can also be determined in real time, allowing the appropriate personnel to order more supplies when needed before any downtime is experienced.
IIoT technologies are also useful for determining direct labor costs. Labor costs can be compared against productivity within the factory, helping you to determine if your labor costs exceed daily or weekly targets.
Cutting Down on Overtime
Overtime costs can drive up production costs and eat into your bottom line. Smart technologies help you reduce overtime costs by establishing daily targets according to your KPIs. You can then optimize your processes to speed up production during regular work hours in order to meet your daily targets.
Digital manufacturing also allows you to gauge employee productivity during the day, and to keep their activities on track. You can also use these technologies to display KPIs on screens within the factory in order to keep employees focused and motivated.
Generating, Analyzing and Storing Forms
It is now time for your factory to shift from using paper forms. Going paperless means that your factory will save on costs incurred by have to buy and store the paper forms. In addition, smart technologies allow you to generate, fill out and share production forms in real time and across multiple departments. Employees can now work on forms simultaneously, and errors, omissions and other concerns can be quickly addressed.
The forms are also digitally stored in the cloud, where they can be easily accessed when needed. Forms related to governmental compliance, safety standards and other company regulations can also be managed and stored safely for future reference.
Reducing Energy Consumption
IIoT technologies help your factory reduce its energy consumption, and thus its operational costs. With digital manufacturing, you can use established and optimized production processes to carry out your operations according to the benchmarks you have set.
This reduces the losses of materials, as well as the number of machines used and the time employees need to spend each day on a given task. You can now complete more work in a shorter amount of time, and equipment can be used in a more productive manner.
Inventory management has been revolutionized by smart technologies. The availability of inventory can now be compared in real time to incoming customer orders and production requirements.
As demand and production go up, inventory levels can be monitored and adjusted in real time to respond to the increasing demand. Orders to suppliers can also be automatically triggered when inventory levels go down to a pre-determined minimum.
With digital in manufacturing, you can view what is happening in your factory in real time. All your IoT technologies come together virtually in a centralized location where data from multiple departments is transmitted. You can access this information at any time from a mobile device, at a remote office location, while at home, or on the go.