Transition to the smart factory: Making transition is a not an easy job and takes time. Every smart factory looks different due to setup in factory layouts, production of parts, machines size and performance and other factors. However, there will be many differences between smart factories but the mechanism needed to integrate a successful smart factory is almost same and each one is important: 1. Data2. Technology3. control4. People 5.
Cyber security. Manufacturers can consider which to prioritize for investment based on their own specific objectives.Data Data are the livelihood of the smart factory.
With the computation power of computers, data can be analysed and provides feedback to the system, since it is a closed loop control. With these data one can predict operational performance, fluctuations in supply chain, and abnormalities in a system, and can rectify it before major breakdown. Data can exist in many form not just operational data of machines but also data from the environment such as temperature, emissions and etc.
How data are combined and processed varies from factories to factories. For example in a quality department must consider the data from dust particles before taking measurement but other department need not necessary takes these information. For a factory to be smart, manufactures should constantly collect loads of data and analyze it.
Once a smart factory reached a certain position in terms of standards, the data generation is also increased over time. For example companies must upgrade their data storage. Data might be represented in form of1. Digital twin 2. Digital shadow.Digital twin servers as a life line between the physical and digital world. First smart sensors gather information about real-time status, working condition, or layout which is integrated with a physical machine.
The data from various equipments are connected to a storage device such as cloud-based system. This input is analyzed against business models. With the available information new opportunities are uncovered within the virtual environment that can be applied to the real world, ultimately transforming your business.Digital shadow refers to a set of unique traceable digital activities, operations that are performed using Internet or on digital devices. Digital data can also be stored in many ways depending on the company’s investment. Since it is a smart factory we expect storage as online, it records everything right from time stamping, ordering of products, workers time stamping works , etc, using these methods everything can be traced backed who did what, so there will be hassle free backtracking the sources of error.
TechnologyFor a smart factory to function at technological level one must integrate software’s, autonomous guided vehicles, and other equipments. The benefits of this integration are that devices and machines communicate with each other and also with the central network. However, factories need to consider other technologies as Material resource planning (MRP), Enterprise resource planning (ERP), processing power, Artificial intelligence (AI), Virtual reality (VR), and digitized operations.
ControlSince the smart factory is the ability to self -adapt, learn new things thanks to Artificial intelligence (AI) – it can impact the conventional process and business outcome. A self-governing system can carry out many tasks without human intervention; this will relieve us from making decisions i.e. Machines can take decisions instead of humans, which will reduce responsive time and stress. Additionally the connectivity of a smart factory can extend beyond a single plant and it can connect sub plants, suppliers which creates a new value chain. For example if there is an OEM manufacturer of Automotive industry who gets parts from suppliers, the OEM manufactures expects his parts to be available as quick as possible. So the solution is integration the business together.
This type of merge raises questions in new business models and also provides a bird sight view of what’s happening across the organizations. PeopleSmart factory has definitely created impact on people in both ways. There is a fear among people that robots will replace them in terms of automation. Well certainly it is, automation will replace some part of manual labour work but also creates new jobs in terms of automations, better roles and non repetitive task. There was a recent study in VDI that states automation will indirectly creates jobs. At the end of the day it’s one’s perspectives to view.
A successful smart factory creates a harmonious relationship between industries and peoples.Cyber securitySince everything is connected in a smart factory, there is always a fear that information flow might be disrupted by unwanted people in an aim to shut down factories. So for the very same reasons cyber security need to be addressed. Not only companies but also suppliers and customers are connected to network, the risk becomes much more. The point of attack on network is possible the weakest link, probably the DSN, or the employers network or common WIFI, these are some of the possible links and its security should be increased.