The smart factory makes industrial manufacturing even smarter. The connection is being crafted throughout the world: the digital world and the Things and Services Internet are melding with the production world. The smart factory marks a new strategic direction with its promise of improved productivity and faster innovation.
According to a report from Statista, the smart manufacturing market is likely to thrive from just a few hundred billion in 2018 to about $480 billion by 2023. Since more systems are becoming connected, the industrial and manufacturing industries, as well as the entire supply chain, must proceed to mature to provide manufacturers with a set of tools in their connected factories to optimize and increase efficiencies that aid them to keep pace on the market and eventually enable greater technological progress.
Many factories and industrial settings are solely focused on streamlining data and networks to enhance operational efficiencies—including trends such as improving IT/OT execution to converge IT systems with operational (OT) systems. But in order to promote ongoing change and growth, manufacturers should contemplate a technology-based approach that streamlines their factories to be using software to control systems as well as provide valuable data analytics while at the same time learning to improve from that data continually. On the other side, a smart factory that enforces software in its activities can configure, operate and monitor its different control systems automatically – from intake to assembly and dispatch
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A connected IIoT network managed by a software platform also simplifies operations in addition to enabling transparent communication among designers and manufacturers. A smart factory with sensors aligned throughout can track factors such as temperature, humidity, status of equipment, progress of work, and deficiencies reported. All these connected data can provide engineers with insight into how the plant operates, which they can then use to improve the engineering process. Software fills the knowledge gap between designer and manufacturer at its heart by streamlining the flow of information from the design of the engineer to the machines and the people on the networked factory floor in a constant cycle of design, construction, and testing.
To ensure that manufacturing continues to expand and evolve into smart factories, manufacturers should consider transferring to a software-first attitude to understand the true potential of business insight and enhancements it can give. Just after widespread adoption will we begin to see significant change in how the future operates and evolves factories and manufacturing.