As manufacturers endeavor to create products for the global market, manufacturing processes are becoming increasingly complex and factory equipment more costly.
Computer-integrated manufacturing systems are rapidly being equipped with sensors, controllers, and other embedded devices that are able to manage production, equipment maintenance, product quality, inventory and supply chain operations.
Manufacturers that are able to collect real-time sensor data and mashups of external data sources can use predictive analytics to identify potential equipment failures and operational discrepancies. This information enables manufacturing leaders to take proactive steps to prevent costly downtime and improve the operational efficiency of plant floor activities.
The resulting data that is being generated by the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing – where sensors are embedded within or attached to manufacturing systems and connected to the Internet via wireless and wired network connections – are creating enormous opportunities for manufacturers to optimize processes, increase uptime, and maximize factory utilization.
Eighty-two percent of companies that have implemented “smart manufacturing” capabilities – using analytics to enable smarter decisions and more efficient operations – have been able to increase efficiencies while 49 percent have experienced fewer product defects, according to a study conducted by the American Society for Quality.
A manufacturer of fans for laptops has found that data generated by the molding system used to assemble the fan blades reveals that the molding system is overheating, which could cause the fan blades to crack under stress once they’re installed and in use in the laptops.
The plant floor manager for the company is alerted to the anomaly and is able to drill down on the data to determine the root cause of the problem (a failure of cooling circuit components).
By identifying the cause behind the overheating problem and addressing the issue before a high number of fan blades has been affected and installed into laptops, the plant floor manager is able to help the company avert a costly recall.
The manager is also able to schedule the replacement of the faulty cooling circuit components and avoid extended downtime of plant floor operations.
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