The Connected Factory—Efficiency and Innovation Redefined

Approaching challenges from the perspective of your ideal operating environment can allow you to think without constraint. You may even find yourself using the term ‘in a perfect world’ as you demonstrate how innovation can deliver the optimal performance your company strives to achieve.

The connected factory is a chapter from the ‘perfect world’ playbook. It is not a pie-in-the-sky concept; it is in regular functional use today as forward-thinking businesses embrace the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

In a connected factory, a network of equipment and machines are linked by technological devices to form a powerful system. This system continually monitors performance and acquires, exchanges and analyses data to allow for rapid decision making and a truly collaborative framework7. However, this is collaboration in the IIoT era; whereby your team can communicate with machines, which, in-turn immediately confer with other machines and equipment to deliver intelligent responses.

Real-time machine to machine communication opens the door to highly effective business practices. Predictive maintenance becomes highly optimised, assets are tracked by location, status and condition, and errors are immediately corrected. Downtime is then an all but forgotten term, while ‘perfect’ makes its way into the manufacturing lexicon; facilitating for Made to Order, Configure to Order and Engineer to Order manufacturing to be undertaken confidently. Inventory costs are therefore reduced as ultra-accurate insights drive automated just-in-time systems. 

The manufacturers that fully embrace the opportunities presented by IIoT will extend their connectivity beyond internal systems and machines. They will integrate data from suppliers and customers to create a holistic view of their supply chain; providing a more complete story. Such extensive insight allows automation systems to evolve to the level of self-optimisation, as detailed further in our upcoming topic; Intelligent Machines.

A connected factory with intelligent machines helps your business drive continuous improvement. Find out how Epicor Advanced MES (Mattec), helped Johnson Controls achieve an 8% increase in overall productivity while reducing its annual cost of quality by $600,000. 

“We were the Flintstones. Now we’re the Jetsons.” Hear more from Dave Rose, Quality Engineer at Johnson Controls.

Continue reading Intelligent Machines—Significantly Transforming Manufacturing