Operations in a Manufacturing plant can have large losses completely masked due to lack of visibility of the actual data. Losses are hidden due to information silos & inaccurate data capture mechanisms. Automating the process of logging the man, machine and material activities into a single related DB would help unearth operation losses and inter-dependencies of these with each other. Digital Factory is all about this process of automating operation logging by capturing real time activities.
IoT, Big Data and Analytics
Connected machines and sensor networks have been an integral part of manufacturing industry for a long time. However, advancements in electronics have enabled ultra low cost, battery operated networked sensors that can impact & transform an old legacy factory with advanced sensing options. Integrating these sensors into legacy PLC/Scada systems could be complex, however, enabling these sensors and achieve real time remote monitors and analytic is made simple in a digital factory.
Factories globally have benefited from the skill and experience of the operators. The experienced and gifted ones could predict when a machine would fail or what would be the quality of a chemical that would be produced based on their experience. However, with digital factory and smart sensors, today this aspect of talent driven decisions is making way for data driven decision making with much higher accuracy and zero dependency on the operator skill.