How to Build a Strong Foundation for Smart Manufacturing

Industry 4.0, smart factory, and connected manufacturing ...

If you are a manufacturer, the chances are that you are bombarded with a lot if information from multiple channels on Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing. Although there is no doubt that Smart Manufacturing is crucial for every manufacturer, you should start by understanding it well and building a strong foundation to support it. 

The Four Main Pillars of Smart Manufacturing Application

As a manufacturer, you might ask, “what should I start with when building a smart manufacturing system?” The answer is working on the four main pillars, which include automation, visibility, analytics, and system connectivity. Here is a close look at these pillars: 

  • System Connectivity 

In smart manufacturing, all your manufacturing equipment should be integrated so that they can communicate easily with each other and the central control system. To achieve this, you should start by understanding your plant systems, and evaluate gaps that need to be closed for efficient communication. Consider using cloud architecture that helps to simplify connectivity through application programming interfaces (APIs).

  • Automation 

It is important to note that automation is not synonymous with Smart Manufacturing. However, it is an important component in Smart Manufacturing. To automate your plant, whether in the mining niche, as highlighted here or other niches, start by analyzing your plant’s production system, focusing on centralizing controls and monitoring. Also, you should aim at using robotic process automation (RPA), which can help you automate repetitive workflow tasks. 

To make automation more effective, make sure to focus on progressive improvements. Particularly, consider advancing to the next level by looking at ways of integrating machine learning into your system. 

  • Visibility 

Just like automation, you should also be able to track inventory, allowing you to see entire production system from a single interface. Consider using advanced business intelligence tools that make it possible to track your entire factory in real-time and even follow on mobile platforms such as smartphone.

  • Analytics

The primary reason why most companies adopt Smart Manufacturing is to enhance their efficiency, and you can only know if the objective is being met by setting performance indicators. Analytics are used to follow business performances and determine if the preset goals have been achieved. Contextual analysis, in most cases, is combined with artificial intelligence to make evaluation more emphatic, identify patterns, and draw the right decisions.

 If you have a manufacturing plant, it is time to get smart in your production. With Smart Manufacturing, you are sure of higher production efficiency, lower cost of maintenance, and higher profits. To enjoy more benefits from smart production, make sure to build a strong foundation by following the pillars we have listed in this post.