Industrial automation has taken a leap forward and has become essential in order to guarantee the competitiveness of companies in the future.
Industry 4.0, or connected and automated industry, provides the opportunity for any industrial organisation to obtain detailed information on production. Thanks to modern devices in use today, plant managers can easily access key data and information from anywhere, making it possible to control production remotely.
Nowadays, companies need to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in order to be efficient. In particular, due to situations like the one caused by COVID-19, companies must have flexible technology and methodologies if they are to be able to operate with the minimum reduction in production, even remotely.
If IT is insufficiently developed and automated, this can pose a barrier to this goal and for internal execution tasks too.
Understanding the purpose and benefits of remote control is the first step in capitalising on this technology.
Next, we describe the main advantages of having remote control of production processes.
Advantages of remote production control:
1. Efficient and immediate problem solving
Remote control of production systems allows immediate responses to any mechanical or physical problem with equipment, even from different plants.
With the right notification system, staff are instantly aware of issues that require immediate attention, especially when they are not present.
In this way, problems can be resolved quickly, thus minimising production downtime and without the need for travel.
Remote monitoring and diagnostics also enable fast and proactive maintenance to maximise equipment uptime and extend its life. It allows for small repairs to avoid even bigger problems before they happen. This contributes to avoiding inactivity as much as is possible, and to improving productivity.
The implementation of software, accompanied by the knowledge of the staff, is the perfect synergy for efficient problem solving.
2. Access and recovery of data
Due to critical plant operations tasks, safety activities may end up at the bottom of the priority list and be postponed indefinitely. But when a failure or an incident occurs, it is necessary to have all the most up-to-date information.
Having global control of the production process and storing all the data arising from it makes it possible to locate the causes of the incident, and can even enable the early detection of faults in production in order to anticipate problems before they occur, applying Machine Learning technology. A history of activity is stored, creating traceability and the possibility of analysing whether any of these data shows a change.
Modern manufacturing and production plants may have programming and data residing in lower-level devices such as smart instruments, valves, and frequency regulators whose information and configuration may also need support.
The cost of not having up-to-date programming and configuration data ready for restoration after an incident can be very high.
3. Access valuable information from whenever you are
The main advantage of remote production control is that you can monitor and control its status at any time and from anywhere.
It allows for the visibility and verification of all tasks and workflows, offering detailed reports on the situation and status of finished processes, of those that are being executed and of future ones – in other words they can be monitored in real time.
In addition, it allows you to compare information from different plants in order to carry out performance studies and roll out best practice to the rest of your plants, thus maximising production in all of them.
Optimal operation of production facilities requires real-time monitoring of automation systems, information systems, and plant operating equipment. This avoids collapse, downtime, and associated maintenance time that was not accounted for or scheduled.
4. Capacity and vision for growth
Having software can help you make smart and effective decisions for your business, even with a long term outlook. It affords you greater global vision, enabling you to foresee new opportunities for improvement in the operations and production processes of all your plants,
as well as predicting and avoiding potential production problems. In short, it gives you total control over the processes of your company.
5. Increase efficiency
Another advantage is that it promotes the agile and constant working of the systems which guarantees the satisfaction of demand through the automated execution of processes, eliminating the execution of possible manual commands subject to human error, which translates into an increase in the efficiency and productivity of the company.
It also enables production to be flexible and scalable, depending on the needs of the market at all times.
Nexus Integra is the platform that allows you to control your production and all your production processes, enabling a real digital transformation of your company with the advantages that this implies. Get Nexus Integra for free during the COVID-19 lockdown.