Faced with this growing pressure, producers must find new ways to improve line operations in terms of speed, efficiency, flexibility and versatility. They are looking to monitor equipment efficiency and control system performance to maximize uptime across the line. They also need to implement sustainability measures to lower the consumption of energy, raw materials and other resources, while minimizing costs.
Ultimately, it is about achieving increased line performance, whatever the product, while optimizing total cost of ownership (TCO). All of this is driving a transition from mass production to mass customization; but this transition must not compromise on performance criteria such overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), TCO and sustainability.
The ideal goal is the “extended factory”, allowing the producer to take full advantage of technologically advanced solutions for additional capacity and increased flexibility. In this way, more stock keeping units (SKUs) can be produced, without the need to raise the investment bar in terms of assets or labor force.
Sustainable Production and Optimized Energy Use
Energy consumption and carbon footprints are now central factors in purchasing decisions so eco-friendliness should be a core element of any program. The capability to produce smaller batches and be closer to consumer centers reduces the need to distribute stock over long distances, contributing to a more sustainable approach.
Energy consumption simulation tools can be used to audit existing installations or to assist in the design of new ones to enable producers to test a wide range of configurations, validate designs and optimize energy saving proposals.
Video, Audio and Augmented Reality
We have also seen great successes with remote video assistance services, which deploy video, audio and augmented reality technology to enable specialists to better understand issues with a production line through real time viewing from a remote location.