In the 80s & 90s, industries streamlined their limited automation processes led by PLCs & controllers through practices such as Lean Manufacturing. While these “practices” were termed as gamechangers, their value only diminished at the turn of the century, and today account for minor incremental returns. Fast forward to 2017 and these practices are now being replaced by “smart technologies” that promise a more holistic approach towards increasing efficiency and innovation.
Advanced manufacturing technologies spearheaded by concepts such as Smart Manufacturing, IoT and Digital Factory are already making headlines, and rapidly transforming the global industrial landscape. The word “smart” is simply an objective that has found profound use in today’s devices, phones, houses, grids and industries alike. Smart Manufacturing is a term a reserved for industrial automation and includes the:
of the entire manufacturing lifecycle to enable preemptive management of industrial assets through real-time information & execution.
The road towards Smart Manufacturing started in 2014 when the US Department of Energy released its Notice of Intent for Smart Manufacturing. From thereon, the US Government has promoted this concept through its renewed, cross-sector public-private partnership called Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.
Systems based on Smart Manufacturing principles are designed with advanced information processing capabilities, deep-rooted communication and synergistic integration of all available resources. The final goal is to automate the processes of monitoring & control, and in turn increase productivity and efficiency.
The technology particularly works on some specific areas of interest, which include:
Smart Manufacturing, IoT and Digital Factory are already making headlines, and rapidly transforming the global industrial landscape
Smart Manufacturing Technologies plan on driving the industrial revolution through three progressive phases:
Integration of all assets whether they are located at individual plants or enterprise headquarters to instill immediate improvements in costs through coordination.
The data collected from these assets will be fed into real-time simulation models to develop manufacturing intelligence to allow decisions to be taken based on facts and not predictions. Furthermore, this will allow industrial assets to respond flexibly to changing market requirements.
As the manufacturing intelligence grows through the accumulation of Big Data, productivity, efficiency and safety of the entire chain of operations will increase.
How is Smart Manufacturing linked to other Automation technologies like Internet of Things?
It’s simple, Smart Manufacturing is a comprehensive upgrade to all outdated industrial systems. The Internet of Things is a component, necessary for the success of Smart Manufacturing as its very core is dependent upon reliable networking between industrial assets.
What are some of the prime examples of Smart Manufacturing?
Smart Manufacturing upgrades existing concepts so that a better response can be issued in the face of any problem. These include:
Machine Monitoring, which gives manufacturers the ability to monitor their machines in real-time, and accumulate data which can than be analyzed.
Advanced Robotics, or smart machines operate autonomously and require little human interventions, communicating directly with manufacturing systems.
Integration with Supply-chain, real-time communication between supply-chain assets and manufacturing assets allow not only flexible outputs but provide a competitive edge through the use of Big Data Analysis.
In a nutshell, Smart Manufacturing is an integration of industrial automation technologies and is bigger than any single concept whether its IoT, Smart Machines or Digital Factory. The final goal is a more coordinated approach towards manufacturing during normal operation or crises.
While “Smart Manufacturing”, may seem like a thing of the future for most companies, manufacturers (big or small) don’t have to wait for implementation of new equipment to start seeing positive results. At FreePoint Technologies, our simple and noninvasive machine monitoring software connects with each of your current machines; regardless of brand, type, complexity or age. Going beyond the machine, we also focus on engaging and empowering your employees, equipping them with real-time data to see tangible progress, and allowing them to make informed decisions.