7 Examples of Smart Manufacturing at Work

7 Examples of Smart Manufacturing at Work

  • By

    Swapnil Ghaisas

  • /
  • Posted

    26 Apr 2019

7 Examples of Smart Manufacturing at Work


Smart manufacturing is more than just data or sensors or robots. It is about connecting the machines and overall processes and making the data available through that to optimize the manufacturing operations. Technological advances have made it possible for organizations to capture the minutest data to process and make smart decisions. Many manufacturers have already implemented smart manufacturing use cases and it is only going to burgeon in the future. According to Capgemini Digital Institute, smart manufacturing will contribute around $500 billion as the added value to the world economy!

Let’s take a look at how companies worldwide have already implemented (and benefitted from) smart manufacturing -

Smart Metering

Smart metering has by now become an intrinsic part of the shop floor. So much so that, it is being bulk manufactured by companies like L&T and Landis+Gyr for household purposes. Initially, its purpose was to analyze when the peak load happens, what's the lean period like and collect specifications. Based on the collected data, the load on the shop floor can be disbursed to smoothen out the peaks and troughs. Recently, organizations have started implementing the smart metering system into their products to understand their performance.

Caterpillar is one good example here - the company attached smart meters into their heavy equipment. The data which is streamed give them offers the company insights about the data quality and what needs to be modified during testing.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance leveraging IOT is catching up in the much-touted scenario of Industry 4.0. Implementing PDM can fetch an increase in ROI, up to 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs and it can also open up new revenue streams. The premise is that the pattern of the sensor readings can provide an insight into the impending breakdown. On the basis of the insight, the RCA is done to eliminate the cause at its root so that breakdowns from similar causes are not repeated.

NASA's cooling system situated in California has already collaborated with Siemens to implement predictive maintenance. A cooling system will typically comprise of Fans, coolers, cooling towers etc. The sensors installed will constantly stream data and send notifications if there is any major status change.

Reduce Downtime

It was only a matter of time before AI and ML made an entry into the shop floor. Unplanned downtime is any floor engineer's worst nightmare. On top of that, detecting the cause for which the whole line has come to a standstill is an uphill task. Imagine, having downtime for a bit broken somewhere that cannot be located. Technology can come to rescue here.

GE is implementing AI on shop floor keeping exactly these scenarios in mind. Leveraging the knowledge repository and AI tool can provide step by step guidance about how to go about tackling an emergency.

Product Design and Training

Typically, 20 percent of the manufacturing time is spent on designing the product as well as the production. At the same time, there are stats showing that 40% of the new products bomb straight away. AR/VR is being used by companies to optimally design their products.

In the recent Paris Motor Show, Renault trucks showcased that they are leveraging this technology to create quality control solutions right there on the shop floor. Porsche and Mercedes are also using the same technologies to train their workforce, which is resulting in a 40% reduction in downtime.

Given these facts, it is only logical to conclude that this technology will get more and more enmeshed with the manufacturing process in the coming future.

Reduce Wastage

Big Pharma giants are not far behind in the adoption of IIoT.

For example, pharma giant Baxter isleveraging analytics to understanding the reasons for the drug rejection by the quality department and the reasons behind drug wastage.

The company uses sensorial data from the shop floor to analyze the reasons and come to conclusions. The company monitored various parameters such as the weight of the process, foremen, and technicians handling that particular line. By retraining the identified technicians as well as fine-tuning the process has helped Baxter reduce shop floor wastage of products as well as raw materials.

Optimize Supply Chain

Optimization of the supply chain is always high on agenda for manufacturing companies.

Johnson & Johnson revolutionized the concept of IoT-enabled visibility into the supply chain with the help of smart RFID technology.

The company produces a large number of screws for medical devices. They implanted RFID enabled chips into their screws. By doing that they ensured that there is visibility into the supply chain and real-time location of the consignment. Another added advantage was that Johnson & Johnson had a clear picture of how the screws were being put into use. With that data, they were able to remind their client when a screw wore off and needed replacement. This kind of service helped Johnson & Johnson increase customer satisfaction exponentially.

Remote Asset Monitoring

L&T Construction is a large construction major in India and famous across the globe. Recently they implemented IoT to manage their assets. L&T wanted real-time visibility into the health of their assets so that they can optimize their performance and also monetize the idle ones.

By doing so, L & T not only brought down the asset downtime by 10 percent but also created new sources of revenue.

IIoT aka smart manufacturing is no more the future. It is already here now. Even small manufacturing companies are already exploring Industry 4.0 possibilities by running pilot projects. The major areas where smart technology can be effectively leveraged are predictive maintenance, real-time health and performance monitoring, and asset optimization.

Let’s connect, and we will be happy to discuss your smart manufacturing initiatives.

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