Industry 4.0 is already part of the present, dynamising the manufacturing sector and optimising it to the maximum, challenging the traditional industrial system.Smart manufacturing scenarios are created to achieve a high level of integration between machines and information systems, through the optimisation of manufacturing processes.
What is Smart Manufacturing?
Smart Manufacturing is an English term that refers to the digitalisation of a factory and the connection of each and every one of the elements that make it up. Data is collected through sensors, stored in the cloud and processed at breakneck speed.
Thanks to the analysis of this massive amount of data, valuable information is extracted and truly effective and useful decisions are formulated for the company.
Through the installation of systems (hardware and software), it is possible to connect absolutely everything: machines, sensors, production programmes, etc.
Characteristics of Smart Manufacturing
The processes integrated in Smart Manufacturing have real-time information, enhance control and base part of them on automation.
However, what characterises this set of systems? According to McKinsey, smart factories are based on 4 fundamental technological pillars:
1. Connectivity, data and computational power. This includes IoT, Cloud Monitoring with MES or ERSP tools, and Blockchain.
2. Analytics and intelligence. This feature encompasses fully evolved data analysis, thanks to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning.
3. Genuine human-machine interaction. Virtual reality, robotics and automation at the service of human needs.
4. Advanced engineering. From the creation of Digital twins, to the meticulous work with nanoparticles.
On the other hand, to carry out Smart Manufacturing, it is necessary to cover the 4 main areas of Factory 4.0: materials, quality, maintenance and production. Bringing these four branches of industry closer to users, in an intelligent and systematised way, will considerably reduce costs and production times, opening up the possibility of designing strategies and outlining outstanding decisions for the future.
What is the Smart Manufacturing process?
The starting point of this process begins by finding the common ground between the customer’s requirements and the company’s internal production capacities. If we have control of production times and cycles, we will be able to sequence this planning, even reducing stock coverage.
Then, the manufacturing process comes into play, in the purest sense of the word. By integrating and applying AI, optimal process coordination and planning is achieved, resulting in a self-organising factory, whose technology embraces all aspects of the manufacturing cycle (planning, production, maintenance, etc.).
However, Industry 4.0 does not stop there. Following the trend towards digital and “smart”, it brings with it a clear evolution in manufacturing processes that opens the door to new technologies, business models and opportunities to improve its value proposition. In other words, innovation in manufacturing will have a positive impact on design, R&D&I, the supply chain… And any link that is part of this process.
Finally, monitoring and traceability are essential at any point of the process in a smart factory. By making production traceable throughout its entire course, a quick, detailed and accurate analysis of the causes and impacts of any kind is guaranteed.
Advantages of applying Smart Manufacturing
There are a wide range of reasons why a digitalised manufacturing system is a very good idea. These are some of them:
- Optimisation of resources.
For example, if you centralise the most important systems, your team will have greater control over surplus waste and can increase and improve manufacturing forecasts.
In this case, it would not be necessary to supply more raw material than necessary, adjusting the manufacturing to the real demand. The Manufacturing System allows a global management of the supply chain from beginning to end (End to End).
- Predictive maintenance.
Smart Manufacturing makes it possible to implement solutions with the capacity to identify, prematurely, breakages, wear and tear and possible incidents at any step of the production machinery. In this way, you can apply predictive maintenance, thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, formulating brilliant predictions and practical patterns that will prevent your business from many problems in the future.
- Reduction of manpower processes.
This is another of the strengths of Smart Manufacturing. By optimising and automating processes, we will help the business to carry out its projects more efficiently. By accessing data in real time through various platforms, we will free part of the team from certain tasks to focus on other much more important ones.
- Increased productivity.
Achieving efficiency is a key objective in any business. And, as mentioned in the previous point, spending time on irrelevant tasks is not profitable. Automating these activities will help the team to be much more productive and motivated, as they will not be managing repetitive and tedious tasks.
In addition, the reduction of unplanned downtime due to equipment failure will be drastically reduced, maintaining stable and uninterrupted production.
Why digitise my industrial production line?
Given the many advantages of Smart Manufacturing technology, it is now more important than ever to be up to date in this field.
It is also vital to remember that having supply chains that are more resilient, up-to-date and able to cope with unforeseen events of all kinds is a plus for any type of business.
In short, digitisation is key to putting your business ahead of the curve and making it stand out from the competition.
Do you want to know how to implement Smart Manufacturing technologies in your industrial business? Contact us and our team of experts will advise you so that you can boost your company with Nexus Integra.