Smart Machines & Factories
Smart manufacturing solutions
Published:  11 July, 2018

Most manufacturing companies are constantly balancing the desire to improve production against the return on the investment required to achieve that improvement. Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Industry 4.0 has the promise of facilitating great improvements. However, as with many emerging technologies, there is a shortage of expertise and experience. Most companies have the skills to install sensors and use the outputs to trigger the next step in production. Many also have the ability to collect all the data from all the sensors and store it for later use. Very few companies have either the expertise to effectively analyse the data and produce useful results or the experience to know what can be realistically achieved from the results.

Turck Banner as a major sensor manufacturer says it is frequently asked to provide the complete solution, not just the sensors. It explains it can achieve this in two ways: The company has invested heavily in its systems division to have in-house expertise in middleware development and has its own secure cloud storage facilities. It also has specialist integrator partners like SmartFactory – the Irish manufacturing solutions firm based in the Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Limerick, who has a proven history in delivering turnkey projects.

Smart solutions

SmartFactory has developed a solution to capture, analyse and visualise key performance indicators from the manufacturing, logistics and utility sectors, using smart Industry 4.0 technology. Its smart solutions reduce the amount of time and resources required to capture and communicate critical information across your organisation and dynamically translate this data into actionable intelligence. They empower employees to take the appropriate corrective action to help eliminate losses and promotes a sense of ownership and collaboration. Its secure OPC architecture can communicate to virtually every type or brand of PLC.

Its solutions are built on the industry proven technology of its hardware partners, including Turck-Banner whose Smart wireless sensors facilitate the capturing of data from non-networked machines or semi-manual/manual processes.

In addition intuitive mobile touch screen devices convert manual paperwork into lean digital workflows. Interactive smart digital displays eliminate the wasteful effort of preparing and printing paper reports and help to digitise the daily management process. Continuous product and process improvement and the elimination of waste, is a fundamental principle of lean manufacturing. Capturing and visualising data to highlight losses in real-time has been proven to change behaviour, improve throughput and quality and has been shown to improve overall productivity by 5-10%.

Its data acquisition, analysis and visualisation tools are in use across the globe and are considered best-in-class. It integrates with existing processes and control systems to automatically capture critical data and make it actionable in real time. It also helps identify hidden losses, thus reducing planned and unplanned downtime, increasing productivity and maximising efficiency.

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