The Role of Smart Factory in Manufacturing

The Role of Smart Factory in Manufacturing

Laura Davis, Manufacturing Technology Insights | Wednesday, February 24, 2021

As the manufacturing industry's demands will continue, deployments of factory 4.0 will help meet the ever-present drive for reducing costs.

FREMONT, CA: Today's manufacturers need not expand the factory's four walls to achieve more. A smart factory is a highly digitized and connected production that depends on smart manufacturing. The smart factory's idea is considered an essential outcome of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, and used by manufacturers. Smart factory functions by employing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, analytics, big data, and the internet of things (IoT) and can run largely autonomously with the potential to self-correct.

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Communication and the potential to use manufacturing data is what make the smart factory intelligent. New technologies are evolving as Industry 4.0 is converging to allow the smart factory. Ultimately, it's intelligence at the factory level that develops a dynamic production environment and the desired outcomes—reducing costs while enhancing quality and reliability. The future of manufacturing is better customization, so by reducing downtime for retooling and resetting equipment, manufacturers can function efficiently while staying flexible.

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As the smart factory emerges, people's roles will evolve from what they are presently doing in today's factories. People will take on more complicated roles, while automation will conquer the mundane, dangerous, or presently impacted tasks by a labor shortage. While it's true that automation is seen as a threat to existing manufacturing jobs, there is also a new trend that is emerging called the digital talent gap. This means that manufacturers will need to start investing in talent development as Industry 4.0 technology will need a greater need for skilled workers.

The manufacturing sector's needs will continue due to the trend for more on-demand production and ever-present drive to mitigate costs. The smart factory is a direct means for manufacturers to excel in a competitive and dynamic marketplace as they'll leverage digital innovation to enhance supply chain efficiencies. Along with this, growing consumer requirements are spurring the manufacturing sector's trend towards more flexibility in production. Smart production plants can reach new levels of adaptability and meet the changing needs of the customer market.

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