Over the last decade, the evolution of the Internet of Things, Big Data and the desire for ever-increasing productivity has driven the smart manufacturing movement. But what is smart manufacturing?
Today, manufacturers can see and react to the performance of their machines and integrated systems with analytics in real time. They can enable machines to talk to one another, control operations remotely, predict challenges and even share live data with the supply chain.
The benefits of smart machines, smart factories and smart manufacturing go far beyond efficiency, quality and cost savings. They are the promise of enabling truly sustainable, efficient and custom manufacturing. Once networked to a larger system, smart manufacturing holds the potential to reshape supply chains.
Smart manufacturing isn’t all about what’s happening inside the factory alone. It also enables transparency through the supply chain from original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, right down to their lowest-tier suppliers.
A robot’s communication back to its manufacturer via the internet – or the Industrial Internet – show how technology can change the way factories work with part suppliers and manufacturing technology providers.
Data being generated by sensors embedded in equipment has opened up a new world of possibilities in manufacturing. Advancements in storage, bandwidth, processing power and algorithms enable us mine telemetry data more quickly than ever.
The digital revolution will magnify mechanical innovations and enable machines to move from isolation to fully integrated production models that evolve toward learning systems.
Source: Smart Manufacturing magazine, 2016