The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and improvements in Big Data and data analytics are dramatically transforming the manufacturing industry. Because of these advances, suppliers are now not only able to gather but also analyze performance information in real-time, providing them with unprecedented insights into what is happening on their factory floor. Here are six ways that your firm can leverage that technology.
Increasingly, manufacturers are deploying intelligent devices at different end points, so they gain more visibility into device and plant performance. Interest in these tools is growing at a rapid rate: revenue is expected to rise from $4.56 billion in 2017 to $12.41 Billion by 2022, a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.1%., according to Markets and Markets. So, what potential improvements do these solutions deliver?
Boost Equipment Performance
Data analytics helps suppliers understand equipment performance. Wireless sensors reach directly into devices and capture usage and performance information. They examine items, like how hot the system may be and how many cycles it completes. Consequently, businesses get a better handle on device performance, breakdown rates, and lifecycles, information they can use to squeeze more life out of their equipment.
Improve Manufacturing Processes
Manufacturers are constantly trying to boost productivity, and real-time analytics help in this area. Availability compares the percentage of a manufacturer’s actual production time versus its scheduled time. The difference stems from various factors, like scheduled downtime, unscheduled downtime, production glitches, shift changes, and human error. These items impact performance and lower how many finished goods (units, boxes, or bottles) are produced during a production cycle. A wide number of factors, such as equipment speed, staff absences, and device breakdowns, impact those numbers. Companies track the various elements and correlate actions, such as altering employee work schedules, to achieve desired outcomes, mainly producing more products.
Access to real-time data insights help manufacturers systematically improve their operations. Plant managers gain granular visibility and operational insights specific to their organization. They monitor processes, working hours and employee behavior and turn that information into action.
For instance, quality is calculated by determining the number of “good boxes” produced as a percentage of the total number of boxes produced. Not all boxes pass standards, and this must be taken into account. There can be losses due to underweight, misshapen, or off-color products, which all affect quality and cannot be used, including “tainted products” with safety problems, such as salmonella or metal pieces.
Using automatically collected data, managers track waste, production counts, and user-defined events, and automatically associate events with specific causes in real time. By harnessing the intelligence of industrial data, companies have better insights into root causes and take steps to address problems.
Keep Your Supply Chain Humming
Many manufacturers seek operational improvements in their supply chains to maintain profitability. One challenge is having clear visibility into what is happening with parts and goods. Real-time analytics provide manufacturers with a clear picture of how their supply chains are operating. If the truck carrying the materials has a flat, the system notifies the plant manager, who then makes changes to the production schedule. The company empowers its operators to manage and respond effectively to process disruptions. In addition, they uncover lost capacity in the manufacturing plant, reallocate resources, and improve efficiency. Customer service improves. Managers inform customers about any potential impact a glitch may have on their order.
Streamline Maintenance Work
Traditionally, the calendar determined maintenance schedules. Businesses ran equipment and established set service schedules, which could be daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Maintenance occurred whether or not the device needed tweaking. With real-time analytics, maintenance activities occur more strategically and more efficiently. The reports use triggers, such as a spindle spinning slower, to notify the company to take proactive steps, such as lubricating or replacing it. Consequently, they maximize equipment use and staff time, while lowering their maintenance costs.
Each year, the U.S. industrial sector leads all economic sectors in energy consumption. The industrial sector uses more delivered energy than any other end-use sector, consuming
54% of the world’s total delivered energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration
One reason for the high usage is many manufacturers have not pursued a holistic or systematic energy strategy. Data analytics technology offers a cost-effective solution for improving energy efficiency. Real-time data analytics help plant managers understand their facility’s energy consumption, monitor usage for excess or untimely consumption, prioritize specific energy efficiency retrofits, promote behavioral changes among employees, set informed and achievable energy savings targets and, most importantly, reduce overall energy costs.
Recent advances in IoT and Big Data enable manufacturers to capture more information about their operations. By putting those features into effect, they gain more visibility into their operations and take steps to reduce costs, improve productivity, and increase customer satisfaction.