Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is changing the traditional manufacturing landscape. It encompasses three technological trends: connectivity, intelligence, and automation. Connectivity leads to intelligence and intelligence can lead to automation. These technologies combined can help drive manufacturing’s digital transformation and integrate previously disparate systems and processes.
But why should manufacturers care?
Those who embrace Industry 4.0, digital transformation, and interconnectivity will see a myriad of benefits including greater agility, flexibility, and operational performance.
Industry 4.0 also plays an integral role in the current talent gap hitting manufacturing. There is more pressure to hire individuals who can focus on high-level activities, which means manufacturers are leaning on technology and automation. Also, automation is critical to improving/increasing quality, as for many manufacturers and distributors, high quality is the #1 goal and it’s very difficult for people to inspect high volume and critical spec components.
Also, Industry 4.0 allows for visibility internally, which drives production schedules and dramatically improves up/down status, production counters, machine and job statuses, and alerting. Integrating the shop floor with business systems eliminates delay, waste, & inaccuracy to help drive efficiency.
Above all, manufacturers should care because this is the overarching trend of the decade. This is a revolution and if you’re not gaining ground – you’re losing ground to your competitors. And your competition isn’t just companies within your industry, consumers are leveraging the information they have available to see where they get the most value and if it’s not from you – you’re losing business.
How do I start simple?
Take a deep breath. This might feel like information overload, but we’re here to help break it down. At Software InsITe we have the experience – and have traditionally focused on – manufacturing and distribution. We help companies leverage their aging shop floor machines through modernization and technology integration. Basically, we solve the parts of the problem that either a company can’t get to, doesn’t want to do, or can’t fill the positions for. Here’s how it works:
We help manufacturers get their machines connected. This is the base level to get to Industry 4.0 – you need connectivity to the machines and sensors. This includes
- PLC Integration
Connected machines create new data. We help you collect the data and determine what happens next. Should it be fed somewhere? Can it be utilized in a way to help and improve processes? This includes
- Data analytics / Power BI
- Machine Learning
- Automated Workflows
With the data collected and analyzed, we can make appropriate decisions on what should be and shouldn’t be automated.
- Artificial Intelligence
- Automated Visual Inspection
We’re going to come in from the ground level and look at the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). OEE starts with knowing and measuring performance, which breaks down to:
Availability X Productivity X Quality = OEE
As your trusted technology partner, we’ll start with getting the right network on the shop floor and again, connecting all your machines. If they are old and can’t be connected, we work with you to adapt the machinery with IoT.
We use technology to solve the “we didn’t know” problem and enable companies to see their data from anywhere with remote operations. Companies that “don’t know” what to do with their data or how to fully leverage it are losing time. We come in and make sure everyone knows what the priorities should be when they arise, and it makes a big difference.
At the end of the day, we’re looking to automate quickly and leverage all the benefits of Industry 4.0.
How important are these technologies to the future of the industry?
Industry 4.0, digital transformation, and interconnectivity are critical to the future of the manufacturing industry. These emerging technologies are revolutionizing the way the industry operates. More customers are searching for transparency and real-time information, and with schedule, accuracy, and quality are raising in stakes. Manufacturers can not afford not to meet the expectations of customers. And given how unrealistic it is for manufacturers to replace every piece of equipment or cell, it’s time to see where improvements can be made to visibility, equality, and accuracy to drive higher OEE and overall throughput.