What is Industry 4.0?
We’re amidst a huge change with respect to the manner in which we produce items on account of the digitization of assembling. This change is convincing to the point that it is being called Industry 4.0 to speak to the fourth revolution that has happened in assembling. From the primary modern insurgency (motorization through water and steam control) to the large scale manufacturing and mechanical production systems utilizing power in the second, the fourth modern upheaval will take what was begun in the third with the appropriation of PCs and computerization and upgrade it with savvy and self-ruling frameworks filled by information and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The path to industry 4.0 is not a direct path regardless of what any salesperson tells you. There is no magic software or single major overhaul in automation that can lead a manufacturer from legacy current state to a Smart Factory overnight. This process is like peeling an onion and should be done layer by layer. At IndustLabs we always take a more personalized approach that starts with becoming intimate with your manufacturing process. Often not starting with automation but working to repair or re-program existing automation systems to work more optimally that can sometimes lead to major improvements.
An example of this early stage approach can be found in this case study where we doubled the productivity of a flour products Food manufacturer by simply automating systems that we’re already connected. By simply optimizing their Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) program logic, they we’re able to produce 2 tons of flour product from their original 1 ton. All from a small PLC programming service call. Eliminating their need to spend millions building a 3rd manufacturing station inside their facility.
Check it out here: food-beverage-manufacturer-doubles-production-with-automation/
How smart is your factory?
Build a smart factory with AI and IoT. Increase operational visibility, predict equipment failure and process-related loss and prescribe corrective actions. Be proactive and not reactive with Industry 4.0. Over 1 terabyte of data production data is created daily by the average factory, but less than 99% of that data is not being analyzed by manufacturers. Did you also know that one hour of downtime can cost you over $100,000. Shift from reactive to predictive maintenance using artificial intelligence and industrial IoT. See how IndustLabs IoT can help you achieve the most uptime.
How do we become Industry 4.0?
At IndustLabs we take a four Tier approach to Industry 4.0
Innovation 1 – Maximize Your Existing Capacity
We start with the basics, how can your current automation processes flow from start to finish with no human intervention. Through conveyors, sensors, lifts, actuators, etc. Even if many of the processes in your manufacturing process still require manual labor, if you have invested in automation, we do not want those investments to be idle during production. If you have queues built up waiting for someone to load or move product from one process station to the next you are not maximizing your capacity. The slowest bottle neck in your process is the maximum capacity of your manufacturing process. Constant flow of product into that process should never be idle.
Innovation 2 – Eliminate or Decrease Your Manufacturing Bottlenecks
Once we reach Tier 2 we start looking at all the bottle necks we identified in Tier 1. How do we eliminate or reduce our customers bottle necks. Our experience across so many different industries has provided us the experience needed to solve complex problems.
Often however, the solutions are simpler than most people realize. For example, we have a customer whose largest bottle neck was a conveyor used to paint large 30’ rods at the end of their refurbishing process. The rods have to dry for 20 minutes on this conveyor which lead to large queues of product waiting to be painted. They did not have the factory square footage to extend the length of the conveyor or add a second queue. They did however have a lot of space from floor to ceiling. We built a custom linear actuator to build a 2nd layer of conveyor with a simple expansion process to continue building higher as time goes on.
Innovation 3 – Complex Automation Opportunities with Industry 4.0
Our 3rd approach after working through bottle necks is to start combining more complex automation solutions. This
often includes vision systems or robotics combined with Machine Learning. If a human is required to inspect a product for defects for example, a vision system can perform the same checks. If you feed images into a Machine Learning system and teach the machine what a pass looks like, identifying anomalies can be automated and product rejects can be tracked, counted, and analyzed to reduce waste.
Innovation 4 – Digitize Operations to turn data into Business Analytics
The final approach, once we have conveyors, sensors, advanced automation techniques, all built with data telemetry in mind from day one, we turn that data into business analytics.
Data combined with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence leads to continuous improvement and optimization throughout the life cycle of your product. Predictive maintenance so you can schedule down time instead of paying overtime to make up for lost productivity. Finding anomalies in your production to discover causes of increased product waste. Finding new bottlenecks in production so you can continue to scale.