Smart Factory


Digitization process

It basically involves automating and optimizing production layouts and connectivity between machines and plants to increase control over processes, enhance automation mechanisms and improve collaboration between people, machines and software.

This process is made possible by the technologies that underpin today's Smart Factory, and they are:

  • the Cloud → enables new levels of scalability, flexibility and responsiveness; 
  • Analytics and Big Data → enable predictive information and trends derived in real time from huge volumes of data.



Different organization of manufacturing processes

Manufacturing processes are organized differently, with entire production chains – from suppliers to logistics to the life cycle management of a product – closely connected across corporate boundaries. In a smart factory, all individual steps included in the production process are fully connected and integrated.

Some of the processes to be impacted are factory and production planning, logistics product development, enterprise resource planning and manufacturing execution systems. Also, in a smart factory, the plant machinery and equipment enable the improvement of the production process through self-optimization and autonomous decision making. Data Collection is key to make this possible. To know more about it, read: Big Data.

Smart factories also use sensors, which offer flexibility in production by enabling remote and dynamic adjustments. These sensors free personnel from making the adjustments at each manufacturing work station. Interconnecting these devices reliably with higher-level control systems is crucial for smart factories. This is in stark contrast to running fixed program operations, as is the case today.



Implementing smart factory leads to immediate benefits such:

  • Increased agility: Thanks to state-of-the-art sensors technology, smart factory automatically recognizes manufacturing demand fluctuation. This will allow supply chain to respond with better agility and short time-to-market.
  • Enhanced flexibility: smart factory is engineered to suit different manufacturing environments and production setups. This ensures maximum operation flexibility.
  • Result Oriented productivity: Based on the Value Stream Mapping methodology, smart factory provides expertise for continuous and sustainable productivity improvement.
  • Improved predictability and improved efficiency: Data Analytics is a key tool to uncover meaningful patterns, which increases supply chain predictability and efficiency.

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