In the present fast-changing world, innovation takes place and technology changes seemingly every day. This often makes people feel as if they’re “out of the loop” on technology changes in various industries. In the realm of manufacturing, there have been three primary periods of massive innovation: first was the industrial revolution, then the assembly line, and lastly the computer and electrical revolution.
In the last half-decade, the manufacturing industry began stepping into the early stages of the what’s called “The Fourth Period of Massive Innovation — Industry 4.0”. This is the revolution that brings together digital, physical and people in harmony to hyper-boost productivity. It will inevitably impact human life by implementing what is called “smart factories”.
Smart factories are already transforming the way manufacturers approach production processes, allowing them to be adaptive, profitable and sustainable. Big data and analytics are playing a pivotal role in helping manufacturers to improve efficiency and driving down costs… but what are big data and analytics?
What is Big Data and Why Does it Matter?
Big Data is a collection of information (data) from traditional and digital sources inside and outside companies that represent a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.
The Internet of Things (IoT) — the concept of connecting siloed data sources - offers manufacturers vast new sources of information from their production floor. The vast number of devices with sensors (estimated to grow to 50 billion by 2020) allow communication with other devices/people through the Internet. Today data is collected everywhere, via IoT and the cloud.
This data is what allows computers to perform tasks efficiently based on current information that it receives through data gathering tools. Big data is powerful, but building computers that can effectively interpret massive amounts of data is challenging.
This is where analytics comes in.
There’s a clear distinction between being able to collect data and compile it, but being able to use that data effectively is a completely different game. Using data effectively is the sole purpose of analytics. Given the sheer number and complexity of manufacturing activities that influence production, manufacturers need a more granular approach to diagnosing and correcting process flaws, saving both time and money.
Improving Operational Performance
Improving operational performance yields multiple benefits, so it should be every manufacturer’s goal. That’s why leveraging big data is critical. In particular, big data leads manufacturers to be more efficient with how they use and manage resources.
Manufacturers can quickly identify and solve the production constraints that exist in their factory when they have the ability to easily analyze the data collected and generate insights. Using the harmonious combination of IoT, big data, and analytics enables manufacturers to make better decisions. Beyond manufacturing speed, “Industry 4.0” technology also allows machines to detect product failures and defects. Some other additional benefits are:
Although Industry 4.0 enables factories to produce more, waste less, and innovate faster, there are many challenges associated with building smart factories. The amount of data produced is overwhelming; one challenge is sourcing the right devices and technology to connect to sensors and make sense of the data. This is where we come in.
Using a combination of IoT technology, wireless connectivity, and big data, Oden Technologies is helping manufacturers optimize production efficiency. At Oden Technologies, we provide a device that plugs into almost any kind of machine and is capable of providing actionable insights for manufacturers. We help compile important productivity metrics into one clear interface, with no complicated integrations.
Regardless of if manufacturers are preparing for Industry 4.0, it’s coming and it’s in their best interest to prepare for it and see what the available technologies are available to optimize for it. For those who don’t take this seriously, they may end up just like Sears did.