What’s Your Industry 4.0 Approach?

November 4, 2019

What’s Your Industry 4.0 Approach?

Unleashing the Insights You Need to Become More Proactive and Predictive

By Nigel Taylor

Industry 4.0—a fourth industrial revolution that marries advanced manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things (IoT) to unleash factory-wide data for greater insight and control—presents transformative benefits for the modern manufacturer. Yet, while 94% of executives at industrial companies consider digital transformation a top strategic priority, only 14% are confident in their organization’s ability to fully harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0. Such a paradox leaves high-volume, high-velocity operations uncertain of how their factory can maximize its Industry 4.0 approach.

Core to unleashing the true benefits of Industry 4.0 is the ability to harness factory-wide data in real-time decision making. Oftentimes, this is accomplished through the use of sensing modules affixed to systems and equipment throughout the factory floor that collect insights on processes, throughput, production conditions, and more. These insights can then be leveraged in a myriad of ways to improve product quality, safety, and efficiency.

True Industry 4.0 insight therefore relies on a symbiotic relationship between factory equipment and the product, with insights that are mutually beneficial. Let’s explore:

Harnessing Equipment Insight to Inform Product Insight

A single equipment failure can have widespread ramifications for the manufacturer. Take a compromise in an automotive parts facility, for example. A car is comprised of nearly 1,800 separate components—not including components like the engine, which also contain numerous parts. With 70 million cars and 25 million commercial vehicles estimated to have been produced in 2018 alone, there are billions of automotive components distributed across the world in any given year.

Core to unleashing the true benefits of Industry 4.0 is the ability to

harness factory-wide data in real-time decision making.

When a specific machine fails to perform as expected, it is therefore critical to rapidly identify and isolate potentially compromised components before they exit the factory and are distributed. In the fast-paced manufacturing environment, where even a few minute lapse could result in thousands of faulty components, ongoing maintenance and monitoring of equipment is integral to product integrity and safety.

Sensing modules provide manufacturers real-time insight into equipment conditions, notifying operators when systems fall outside of set parameters to minimize downtime. Not only this, when sensing modules are correlated to specific products, operators can go one step further, identifying with certainty compromised products before they exit factories.

Harnessing Product Insight to Inform Equipment Insight

In the same regard, compromises are not always caught in the moment, but unfortunately result in recalls that come months or even years down the road. For instance, in 2018 there were 914 automotive recalls impacting 29.3 million vehicles. Often when these recalls occur, the inability to isolate causality results in a sweeping recall of all vehicles—leading to tremendous costs for companies from both a financial and brand equity perspective.

Sensing modules enable data insight to go both ways by not only collecting data at the equipment-level, but also working backwards by allowing quality assurance team members to take a single faulty product and trace it back to the point of compromise. From the point of compromise, they can then trace forward to every impacted component and product, enabling a highly targeted approach to recalls.

This not only assists in the event of a recall, but also helps prevent recalls in the first place by taking a proactive approach to quality management that assists factories in establishing causal links between compromises.

Factory-Wide Insight, At Your Fingerprints

In today’s fast-paced environment, the key to unlocking greater process efficiency, product integrity, and throughput comes down to a manufacturer’s ability to embrace Industry 4.0 transformation on its factory floor. At the same time, such insight should not require manufacturers to rip-and-replace current systems, but rather, augment and extend existing factory systems and capabilities for rapid ROI.

At Ashton Potter, we understand the requirements of highly regulated, fast-paced manufacturing environments. Rooted in nearly a century of high security printing, today we deliver advanced product security and traceability technology that unleashes insights across the global supply chain. Through our SaaS-based ProLinc® technology, we collect data from sensing modules across the factory floor and store this information in a secure, Blockchain-enabled database for remote, real-time access by operators and decision makers alike.

Are you interested in unleashing true Industry 4.0 insight in your factory? Talk to an expert today to learn how.


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