Over the past couple of years, smart manufacturing has been the trending topic of discussion amongst manufacturing experts, strategists, and industry thought leaders. Despite smart manufacturing garnering increasing popularity, many in the manufacturing industry aren’t quite sure of what it entails, its benefits, and how it is relevant in their organization. Smart manufacturing is a powerful force with the potential to restructure the existing competitive landscape and produce a new set of market leaders. Companies that are slow to adopt such advanced technologies and processes could be left behind. In this blog, experts at Infiniti answer four key questions relating to smart manufacturing and how it is transforming the manufacturing landscape as we know it.
What is smart manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing involves the use of fully-integrated and collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real-time for catering to the rapidly changing demands and conditions in the factory, the supply network, and customer needs. It is a broad concept that cannot be implemented directly in the production concept. It employs computer controls, modeling, big data, and other automation to enhance manufacturing efficiencies.
What are the benefits of smart manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing opens up new avenues of innovation that will optimize the creation of higher quality products, improve productivity, sustain safer plant floors, and improve energy efficiency. Furthermore, it will give manufacturers the opportunity to boost employment rates over the current national manufacturing workforce. With the adoption of smart manufacturing techniques, more technology based manufacturing job positions will be available, creating direct manufacturing as well as non-manufacturing positions.
What does smart manufacturing mean for manufacturers?
For small manufacturing companies leveraging any type of business intelligence solution from legacy systems has been extremely limited. Generally, these systems are not interoperable. As business models are increasingly becoming non-scalable, non-replicable, overly complex, and costly, it is increasing the difficulties for small manufacturing firms. Using smart manufacturing technology, small and medium companies in the manufacturing industry will gain access to new and growing forms of business intelligence. It can also be used to analyze data and test simulations that play a significant role in improving products, design, and performance.
How does data drive smart manufacturing?
Smart manufacturing primarily revolves around harnessing data. Since smart factories are built on the foundation of data, cybersecurity will play a key role in the entire manufacturing ecosystem. While enabling advanced techniques such as smart manufacturing, data security is imperative. Machines, smart sensors and robotic platforms on the shop floor generate data that is necessary for monitoring, maintenance, and the basic management of the production line. However, much of this data remains in information silos within the factory. Greater integration of context data coming from several different data sources can enhance efficiency and increase the speed of production processes.