FORCAM event highlights data management challenges, and the benefits of software to drive change

The key to implementation of Industrie 4.0 is data, according to attendees at the 3rd Smart Factory World Symposium, presented by FORCAM on Oct. 26 in Chicago. The key to the change management needed to implement Industrie 4.0 is vision.

But what happens when that data comes flying at you from all directions? Watch here >>

That issue was demonstrated when Dr. Lloyd Colegrove of The Dow Chemical Company asked symposium attendees to throw plastic balls toward an audience volunteer. “Catch the data—this is what our engineers and the operators at our plants are asked to do on a daily basis,” Colegrove told the audience. With 20 balls thrown from all directions, the volunteer could only grab two or three—and that was the point.

Collecting manufacturing data is different than effectively using the data, and that was one of the main themes from the symposium, presented by FORCAM at Chicago’s Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) at UI Labs. The event’s Premium Partners included Infor, Jobs Ohio, Hannover Fairs USA, Predictronics and Wago.

“Data management is at the heart of FORCAM’s offering to manufacturers,” said Franz Gruber, founder, chairman and CEO of FORCAM. “We put the symposium together to help manufacturing professionals understand that data collection and data management are two related, but very different challenges. FORCAM’s product offering helps manufacturers turn the data into practical information, but what the symposium also pointed out is that manufacturers need leadership and a strategy to ensure the data being generated by software solutions makes it way to the people who can affect change on the plant floor—the operators.”

Colegrove spoke at the afternoon keynote presentation about how analytics are being used at Dow to improve the performance of manufacturing and business assets, and to forge a greater understanding of how Dow’s manufacturing and engineering functions impact on the company’s overall performance.

The attendees at the day-long symposium also heard from a number of speakers, including:

  • Tom McDermott, executive director at DMDII and chief program officer at UI Labs
  • David Brousell, global vice president, research, and editorial director of the Manufacturing Leadership Community at Frost & Sullivan
  • Mohamed Abuali, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at FORCAM, Inc. Americas

In addition, event master of ceremonies Bob Vavra, content manager at Plant Engineering magazine, led two panel discussions.

The first, entitled “Is American Manufacturing Still Competitive?” featured John Fleming, Executive VP Manufacturing & Labor Affairs Ford Motor Co., and Gary Silberg, Partner, National Sector Lead for Automotive Industry at KPMG.

The second panel, which discussed the Lean mindset and its impact in a digital age in aerospace and automotive manufacturing, included Jamison Rediehs, Director of Rexnord Business Systems (RBS) at Rexnord Aerospace, Isaac Bennett, Global IT Innovation Manager at Maxion Wheels, and Shahrukh Irani, Ph.D., President at Lean and Flexible.

Another afternoon keynote featured Mike Stone, EAM product manager at Infor, who talked about how technology can pave the way to manufacturing success.

FORCAM also demonstrated how FORCAM FORCE can deliver on the kinds of data management challenges outlined in Colegrove’s visual presentation. Attendees also heard from three FORCAM partners—Ryan Lanham, IT Manager at Dynomax Inc., Bob Luthy, Continuous Improvement Manager at Richards Industries and Bryan Little, Plant Manager at MiTec Powertrain Inc.—on how FORCAM’s solutions were being used in their facilities today.