FREMONT, CA: Digitization of existing systems achieves the expected results. Manufacturing companies are required to gain a clear picture of their mechanisms and operations. It is crucial to visualize and describe all the technical equipment that is part of the production process, but technology makes it easier.
Utilizing intelligent sensors, RFID or WIFI-enabled equipment, almost any processing plant can communicate with the emergence of Internet of Things. Machine controls are equipped with PLC or OPC and are therefore capable of delivering their status or potential problems. Use of Manufacturing Execution System (MES) plays a crucial role in developing a clear visualization of the ongoing process. For all process plants or machines, the MES acts as a virtual link and allows documenting, analyzing, and improving the process flow.
The next step is to visualize the business process after the breakdown of the production process and determine the function of all technical equipment. This move is the key to an integrated value chain, benefiting from Industry 4.0. All functional areas of a company must be connected to manufacturing and their correlations analyzed.
After visualizing the manufacturing process, the next stage is to monitor it. To provide clear real-time visibility of the current manufacturing process, KPI data, engineering data, reports, and all types of online analysis should be obtained and analyzed. Once the status quo is completely understood, the process of digital manufacturing development can be moved, to the next stage: optimizing the process, i.e., improving the problem areas detected by monitoring. Throughout this stage, incremental changes are made to the manufacturing process to enhance the results of the process.
A perfect virtual production image is the basis for scenarios of virtual reality throughout the production process. Enhancement at this stage has the potential to affect the current flow and planning of production altogether. This step provides the potential for quantum leaps in process improvement and preparation of material flow.
As the world becomes increasingly diverse and digital, the manufacturing sphere continues to evolve. Many manufacturing firms struggle to make the transition to digital production. But the firms that choose to move on with a digital strategy have a better chance not only to survive these changes but to thrive in them.