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Smart Factory: What It Is and Why It Matters

 

The importance of digital transformation in the 21st century cannot be overstated. From production to distribution, every step of the way has machines dramatically boosting the output to meet the ever-rising demands of the modern consumer.
Where it gets interesting, however, is all the data those machines generate every single day. Smart managers and CTOs are leveraging that data to create an unfair advantage for their production facility, and that’s exactly where a smart factory comes in.

What is a Smart Factory?

While most factories are already leveraging automation today, most of it is limited to the physical processes, with limited communication and optimization between the individual parts.

A smart factory flips that equation on its head by connecting all the machinery and equipment through an Internet of Things protocol. Witha central system at its core, a smart factory combines sensing, measurement, control, and communication into a unified package, and then throws high-level automation, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence into the mix.

The result is a revolutionary system that’s capable of gathering all machine data and running complex big data analysis in real-time without human intervention. In more practical terms, it means actionable insights into the manufacturing processes of a facility, including opportunities for both major improvements and detection of any elusive flaws.

Reasons to Transform Traditional Manufacturing

The traditional manufacturing environment of today uses automation in many areas. Scanners, mover drones, production line robotics, cameras, and digital sensors are just a few of the many examples. As far as basic automation is concerned, the traditional manufacturing environment of 2020 is more optimized than ever.

Smart factories, however, can take that optimization to a whole new level by connecting all of those individual parts into a unified automation solution.

A basic but effective example of this is the way a smart factory can detect and highlight potential faults in motors using vibratory sensors.

It is typical for motors and bearings to produce uncharacteristic vibrations long before they break down. A central Intelligent IOTsolution like the FORCAM FORCE can detect those vibratory signs from day one and issue alerts for preventive maintenance — thus stopping a potential production disruption in its tracks.

By continuously monitoring and optimizing the manufacturing processes, a smart factory can dramatically lower production costs and errors. Furthermore, decision-makers can use smart manufacturing insights to detect underused production capacities, and then make appropriate changes to boost growth without any major investments.

There are plenty of opportunities to lower costs, minimize misplaced resources, and maximize productivity in a manufacturing facility — and a smart factory is key to realizing those opportunities.

About the author

With a global mindset and entrepreneurial spirit, Sandy Abraham works with and across the organization to execute on integrated marketing programs and to initiate compelling new operational models. Sandy loves pugs, travel, automotive engineering, the aerospace industry, and smart design.

 

 

Sandy Abraham

Marketing & Brand Management

sandy.abraham@forcam.com
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