Industry 4.0: How to make the most of it
There is more than one way to the factory of the future
At the beginning of their digitalization process, most of our clients have similar questions on their minds: What benefits can I expect – and which ones are guaranteed? When is the ideal moment to implement a new technology? How can I prepare my shopfloor to get started and support a successful implementation?
Even though the questions are often similar, the answers may differ from client to client. In this new article series, we will be happy to share our experience and knowledge and give you an idea about the different ways you can digitalize your factory successfully.
The many benefits of digitalization
Real-time data is the raw material of Industry 4.0. The possibilities to use this data for manufacturing companies are almost limitless. At the same time, the scope and goals of a digitalization project are different for every company and every site. One thing is certain: there is more to gain across different industries than many would imagine. By keeping these advantages in mind, digitalization projects will quickly turn into real added value.
Reducing complexity and increasing transparency
IIoT data provides higher transparency and actionable insights. These enable employees to act instead of reacting. IIoT software may further help by adding context to the enormous amounts of data. For instance, a condition monitoring solution provides access to easily understandable machine data, which in turn enables employees to act fast – ideally even before a problem occurs. The result: shorter or no downtimes at all.
Less errors with less effort
Thanks to increasing automation, employees can focus more on value-creating tasks. This not only improves workplaces and motivation; it also increases efficiency. In intralogistics for example, an automated booking system helps to avoid errors and saves time that would otherwise be spent with cumbersome search efforts.
Meeting the challenges of volatile markets
Besides improving efficiency and product quality, IIoT technologies provide greater flexibility in manufacturing right down to lot size one – without losing the advantages of large-scale production. Smart production lines make it easier to manufacture a large number of variants with a high degree of individualization.
The added value of data
Data itself is valuable. In fact, it is the new “industrial gold”. Optimization potentials are no longer restricted to a single shopfloor at a time. Manufacturers can provide other production sites or even customers with data from every individual process step. This increases trust; and thanks to shared production data, optimization can take place globally.
Self-improving processes with artificial intelligence
Time-consuming data collection and analysis are a thing of the past. In the digitalized factory, data is readily available. The right software helps to analyze it, to identify correlations and to continuously improve processes. Artificial Intelligence opens up further possibilities such as predictions and independent process optimizations based on big data.