THOUGHTS

The World is Embracing Smart Factories – And Why You Should Too!

Mar 9, 2018

There have been rapid changes in manufacturing technologies in recent times. The emergence of automation systems, Industry 4.0, and machine learning have resulted in the convergence of digital and physical worlds. Today, manufacturing is less about producing volumes and more about the intelligent and dynamic creation of value. Advancements in digital technologies have led to the preference for smart factories, where the machinery and equipment can improve processes through self-optimization and automation. The benefits of a smart factory extend beyond manufacturing into functions such as supply chain logistics, planning, and product development.

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Advantages of a smart factory

Asset efficiency

Advancements in sensor technology have enabled the manufacturing industry to generate huge volumes of data that can be continuously analyzed to reveal asset performance issues, which need corrective optimization. A unique advantage of a smart factory is that human operators aren’t required to analyze such data and implement a corrective course of action. It is entirely possible for such factories to take corrective measures by themselves through predictive analytics and machine learning. An increase in asset efficiency translates to lower downtime, optimized capacity, and reduced changeover time.

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Lower cost

A smart factory enables manufacturing facilities to operate with lower inventory levels, which further lowers costs related to sourcing and supply networks. Additionally, the material handling costs also drastically decrease alongside wastages and downtime, which directly translates to cost savings. Also, lower energy usage and quality processes will further reduce the warranty and maintenance costs.

Quality improvements

As discussed, smart factories are capable of implementing a corrective course of action on their own. Such principles can also be used to predict and detect quality defect trends sooner along with their cause. It will inevitably lower scrap rates and lead times; thereby, increasing fill rates and yield. As a result, an optimized quality process will ensure quality improvements.

Maximum flexibility

Smart factory logistics systems are equipped to handle a host of different manufacturing environments and production setups. As a result, it can handle the differing nature of operational tasks, ensuring maximum flexibility. Additionally, advanced sensors technology can automatically recognize manufacturing demand fluctuations, which, in turn, allows a company’s supply chain to respond with better agility.

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