A smart factory is a highly digitalized and connected environment where machinery and equipment can improve processes via automation and self-optimization. The benefit extends past the physical production of goods and into functions like planning, supply chain logistics, and even product development. In a smart factory ecosystem, the physical infrastructure is powered by information and communications technologies, which strains insights from the landscape’s data. Automation is powered by insights that allow the execution of business processes and delivers the programmed output with minimal human intervention. Henceforth a cyber-physical environment, which is founded on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is the very foundation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is drawing intelligence to manufacturing.
The entire manufacturing process is unified by seamless data flow between machines and enterprise systems. Big data tools consume data from anywhere, like in the environment outside the manufacturing facility, in structured, unstructured, and semi-structured formats, to give visibility into the production environment. It fuels the enhancement of dynamic manufacturing operations. Smart equipment and Industry 4.0 technology help the manufacturers to defy economies of scale and assemble customized products or handle small-sized production runs in profit.
Cloud computing empowers smart factories to generate, process, and store large data sets cost-effectively. The secure cloud architecture meets the requirements of connected ecosystems. However, raw data offers limited benefits, and sophisticated analytical models are required to monetize big data and predict needs.
The value of IIoT overshadows automated measuring, sensing, and control of operations. Advanced analytical tech and cognitive models intelligently leverage big data to create a responsive and self-healing environment for the factory in the modern world. Predictive analytical tools harness intelligence from the customer, supplier, equipment, and production data, which can later be acted upon. It minimizes downtime for retooling equipment and asset maintenance. Automated maintenance, ordering, receiving, assembly, shipping, and after-sales services ensure agility when analytics drives self-optimization.
Even with this digital monitoring of physical processes with the help of sensor-based technologies, people will drive the future of manufacturing. People who are relieved from routine by technology will find ways to direct their new-found productivity into tasks that can only be carried out with the help of human imagination and intelligence, such as creating useful new products that must be manufactured to solve the problems of our times.
See also: Top IoT Companies