Smart manufacturing is an entirely new concept coming up steadily these days. It’s renovating the entire idea of manufacturing. World class manufacturing concept has been present since, the inception of manufacturing but was merely a concept. But now it has been used widely and the definition changes based on the type of industry and its use can be tweaked accordingly.
It has been positioned as an international manufacturing excellence technique achieved by developing a culture based on factors such as continuous improvement, problem prevention, zero defect tolerance, customer driven just in time production, and total quality management.
Here are some of the actions points to plan the path of smart manufacturing:
Revive Traditional Machinery
One of the major gains for manufacturers with investments in aging but still operating machinery has been the plunging cost of sensors. Just two decades ago, not everyone was eager to embrace the change and there were only handful of early adopters eager to invest hundreds of thousands to connect the sensors and controllers and analyze the results. But this is becoming comparatively easier as retrofitting sensors to older machinery is surprisingly doable. It’s possible to successfully add one sensor at a time.
Collection of Digital data to find the existing bottlenecks
Organizations tend to have a data collection system in place. The question which arises is about the use and purpose of storing this data. Is the data used for record-keeping or being used aggressively to decrease the downtime? The key purpose it serves is to objectively discover what warrants attention and remove the bottlenecks of the system. It also helps in developing a solution to the existing problem. Sophisticated software can assist to catch up with the flood of data, find meaning, and, as times goes by, leverage that meaning.
Streamline a Manufacturing Execution System (MES)
To build a smart manufacturing system an organization needs to start with manufacturing execution system. This can be initiated by collection of data from the plant floor machinery. This is followed by analysis of data to identify problems and money-saving opportunities which is the driving force behind the fundamental operational improvements. Smart Manufacturing is concerned with the logistics and the supply chain to fulfill the order on time and in the most efficient way.
The reality check
It is not a compulsion for everyone to upgrade and attain the unsteady levels of digital automation. However even the smallest of a manufacturing firm competing in today’s market should adapt to the latest advances in technology. Also it should try to be up to date to get its share of market. This will enable the manufacturers to fit in the advanced system of its neighbors to fulfill the outsourced orders.
As it is quite evident, the organizations are witnessing convergence of technologies and process improvement initiatives with the potential to radically improve the way manufacturers thread processes and systems in the entire product value chain in order to deliver more options and new service models to customers. By each passing day the world of manufacturing is getting smarter and raising the bar, on the road to world class manufacturing.
Written By Faber Devna Chaturvedi