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The Rise of The Smart Factory

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With factories and manufacturing under constant pressure to compete, comes the drive to be as efficient, cost effective and productive as possible. In the drive to achieve this, Smart Factories are becoming ever more prominent. Using digital technology such as analytics and big data, advanced robotics and the Internet of Things, factories are moving forwards at a rapid pace.

Smart Factories can benefit from reduced operating costs as well as increased levels of productivity and flexibility, and are using new methods to do so.

smart factories digitalisation connected internet of things

Big Data
Certain areas of manufacturing, by their very nature are subject to very variable and shifting processes. Whist in certain environments it is possible to reduce waste and lower variables, in areas such as mining and chemicals for instance, that use more complex procedures, the challenge is much harder. This is where Advanced Analytics, or Big Data, can come in, helping manufacturers to take a better look at historical data, hence identifying patterns. This will allow them to look at the relationships of the different processes in great detail, and look carefully at what has had the most impact and when. Data can be combined from different processes and relationships analysed.

In order to achieve this it is necessary that manufacturers look at what data they have available to them and invest in the skills needed to successfully harvest this information, possibly investing in hiring data analysts. If sufficient data is not being stored, this is something else that would need to be focused on, as Big Data becomes increasingly important.

internet of things smart factories digitalisation

The Internet of Things
A term used to describe the inter-networking of physical devices and equipment, The Internet Of Things allows items to collect data from each other as well as exchange it. The potential for use in the manufacturing environment, and the subsequent increase in productivity and efficiency that it could bring is immense. The most obvious benefit comes in the form of equipment being able to correct itself; any malfunctions or errors will be picked up immediately and can be rectified. Potential malfunctions can be identified before they occur, and changing rates of production can be accommodated and adapted to. There is also significant scope for connectivity to move forwards and embrace the supply-chain and component ordering, to create a fully stream-lined process.

Advanced Robotics
While the use of robotics within the factory environment has been a staple for decades now, new developments have pushed their use into new areas. Image processing has been a key development, with advances in sensory proficiency meaning that robots are capable of embracing new environments and new tasks. Utilising The Internet Of Things, they are also able to adapt and change quickly, as well as learn and develop new skills and make decisions. The ability to imitate and learn from human demonstrations is also possible.

A key factor in the increasing dominance of Advanced Robotics is their dramatic rise in affordability. While once the domain of major manufacturers, the fall in price is allowing smaller operations to embrace the technology more fully.
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Successful Use of AI Technology
As there are many components that constitute a Smart Factory, making them run smoothly together is key to any manufacturer’s success. Factories are operating increasingly in a process in which the first stage sees software take customer and client orders, the second stage see production started by automated Advanced Robotics, and then data is stored. Using the Internet Of Things technology throughout the process ensures all aspects are efficient and time effective through constant communication. 

If you want to be play your part in the engineering workforce of the future, register your CV with Fircroft today.

Recent Comments
very good and reliable.
Usman Saad, 08 October 2017
Very nice post! There are many things needed for the rise and expanding of factories in a efficient way and to keep the workings in good condition. Thanks for sharing this post! Learned a lot about increasing the factory.
Factories Winston Salem, 02 April 2018
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The Rise of The Smart Factory - Time to read 4 min
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