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Smarter Manufacturing: Intelligence Drives Operations Innovation

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Smart devices and intelligent machinery keep managers aware of problems — quality errors, equipment stoppages, production delays, energy overdraw — and trigger reactive responses.

Yet solving problems isn't nearly as good preventing them in the first place. To be truly competitive, manufacturers must get smarter and leverage data to proactively eliminate problems before they happen and continuously innovate operations processes and practices.

How? By integrating equipment with plant controls and business systems to generate insights from plant-floor data.

When production machinery is linked directly to analytics software, managers gain insights into overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and other operations metrics, such as energy usage, environmental compliance, and safety variances.

These insights allow managers to become innovators who uncover and remove the root causes of operations problems.

Underperforming equipment, for instance, can result from a complex mix of issues occurring on a line — material sourcing and makeup, duration of machine times, sequencing of goods.

Deep analysis of all production variables — including machine data — can help leaders to innovate the overall process, improve equipment capabilities, and improve performance of the entire line.

Over time, insight-driven innovations such as these reduce maintenance costs, eradicate production wastes (time, resources, and inventory), improve equipment reliability, and boost profitability.

Smarter manufacturing also provides real-time “check-ups” of production lines and equipment, preventing unexpected problems. For example, embedded machine intelligence — coupled with integrated security — allows a manufacturer to authenticate who has access to equipment, technology, and enterprise data. Security breaches are stopped cold before they can happen.

How smart are your production lines? And how much more profitable could you be as a smarter manufacturing company with data-driven operations innovation?

Beth Parkinson
Beth Parkinson
Market Development Director, Connected Enterprise, Rockwell Automation

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