Sensors, cloud based networks and seamless information sharing are changing the way manufacturers work. These technologies and connected ecosystems are the hallmark of industry 4.0. Leading manufacturers are shifting their attention from traditional linear business operations to interconnected open systems that release data capabilities.
Let’s take a closer look at two examples of industry 4.0 applications: intelligent maintenance and warehousing.
Intelligent maintenance is divided into two categories: predictive maintenance and remote maintenance. The popularity of sensors and the Internet of things (IOT) has really opened the door for these two methods.
Predictive maintenance may really destroy the traditional passive maintenance. Imagine how many factories your company has. All manufacturing equipment is equipped with sensors to collect data about the operation of the machine. The sensor data is then sent to the cloud based system, and employees can access it anywhere.
The maintenance team proactively analyzes the information to identify failure related patterns. For example, the factory may need to replace the mechanical bearing and bushing every time it completes the operation of 4000 parts. Based on this information, the maintenance team can decide to proactively replace parts before starting an order that requires a large number of parts. This can minimize the possibility of machine failure in the middle of the order, thus saving money and ensuring on-time delivery.
A fortune 500 mandatory manufacturer with a predictive maintenance program has installed sensors on several machines. Whenever the machine records an error, the interface sends the data to Autodesk’s inventor design system. The maintenance team monitors location and orientation data from the equipment, uses it for problem tracking, and initiates design changes to the machine when needed.
Remote maintenance is another way for manufacturers to use technology to respond more quickly to plant problems and minimize downtime. In addition to collecting error code data, this information is also used to automatically submit maintenance requests to a cloud server that can be remotely accessed by the team. The maintenance team will be dispatched immediately. Since the sensor works 24 / 7 all-weather, it can find the equipment fault immediately. In addition, the cloud based management system means that the maintenance owner no longer has to be physically in the factory with the device.
Customers with short deadlines like to work with manufacturing partners, who can actively monitor the operation of plant equipment and be sure that they will deliver products on time. In addition, reduced plant downtime means higher productivity and higher profit margins.
Working closely with customers
Intelligent warehousing and inventory management can also help manufacturers work more closely with customers. For example, a communications company tracks and aggregates the combined bill of materials (BOM) requirements data for multiple projects to ensure the correct warehouse and availability for all project locations.
A custom application was built to allow project managers in each location to push their project’s electronic BOM information to the cloud. This data will automatically fill in and update the manufacturer’s inventory and asset management system. As a result, the manufacturer immediately keeps enough inventory components for the order at that location. This means that the delivery time of the project is short. It also provides better visibility for inventory planners. Reducing inventory can reduce manufacturers’ spending, so it’s a win for everyone.
Sensors embedded in warehouse lighting and heating and cooling systems collect valuable information about energy use. There are also potential energy benefits. This data, combined with information from warehouse motion sensors, can be used to deploy more effective lighting, heating and cooling strategies. For example, if an area of the warehouse is not used at a specific time of the day or week, the lighting and temperature levels can be adjusted accordingly.
Augmented reality is another industry 4.0 technology that manufacturers are applying to warehouse environments. It combines virtual model data for your machinery, product, or transformation plan with data captured from existing environments. The facility was captured by photogrammetry or 3D scanning. The enhanced view is then created digitally and combined with the virtual model to convey how the new plant layout works in the available space.
Many building renovation projects begin with this approach because it provides a cost-effective way to mitigate risk and highlights the reconfiguration of buildings and warehouses in the early stages of the process. Digital annotation also helps to locate the finished product in the warehouse environment. Workers equipped with augmented reality glasses can identify picking points in the warehouse and quickly find products.
Industry 4.0 is changing the rules of the game for manufacturers. The combination of sensors, cloud data storage, and cloud based software solutions opens the door to new opportunities to reduce costs, improve productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.
Editor in charge: yyx