After all the industrial revolutions we had, we are in another in the last few years. With the well-known history and the hype around, the Industry 4.0 is one of the most important global trends all around the world. Since it is something important for not just the industrial companies but for governments and societies too, we should talk about not just the industrial effects and have some viewpoints from the other sides.
With these new viewpoints and the synergy of the different industries and sciences we can clearly define some interesting new ways of working – on the shopfloor and in the offices too. Having new equipment and some common and well-known tools the jobs we nowadays do could be something automated in the future. And that’s the edge where all the industrial and social aspects should be collected together.
What is the role of Industry 4.0 in the global changes of the way we work?
First, we should have a look on an average workday: how many tasks do we have which could be digitalized easily. If we could collect all of them and make them self-acting, we would have more time for the value-added tasks. And this is one of the most important roles of Industry 4.0: the thinking of digital solutions.
Having a lot of room for automation is a great potential for development – and it was in Industry 3.0. The next step today in Industry 4.0 is finding the best digital automated solutions, using special devices, AI and a lot of other new technologies. This makes some troubles for societies from the side of employees and a plenty of work for researches and employers.
Thus, we should collect all the easy-to-automate tasks and find the best way to make them automated. – That sounds easy and it truly is if we have the right solutions and ideas in our hand. And when we talk about the right solutions, we are not saying that they must be expensive too: Industry 4.0 and the spreading of digitalization makes the best tools cheaper and more accessible than ever before.
Bring your own device
OK, you heard about GDPR in the last few years and yes, it was a big deal to make all your processes compatible with the new rules. Increasing number of digital tools appearing in the offices and in the production as well, moreover, connected to the internet; and most likely not through the companies strictly protected network, that makes the common safety rules voided. But now you must have a second short look on that: the devices used on the shopfloor and in the offices are made for industrial applications and thus, they are more expensive than consumer tech devices.
What if you use some easy-to-apply tools like smartphones and tablets not made for industrial applications? – You make the paradigm bring-your-own-device live. These tools are available not just in the production, but they can make an easy access to the collected data from anywhere to all the authorized people. The difference between these devices and industrial ones is usually in their lifetime and their robust, unbreakable design, next to the software background. That means that latter tools can be safely used on the shopfloor and they were made to do their duties, but the updates and new functions arrive slower. The reason is simple: the development of an industrial application is slower itself, since the industrial push is not as big as the consumer pressure and besides, there are a lot of industrial standards must be observed before bringing a new solution on the market.
Hence, devices made for the consumer goods market are recently updated and handled with special care from UX, UI and design-sides. These are important reasons when we choose the tools for data collection and analysis in the production and not just for that: the variety of devices and the novelty of tools make more attractive the factory and production for the younger generations too.
Besides the updates in the devices make a plenty of other impact on production and work in a factory. To mention some of the affected areas we can talk about data driven maintenance, production planning and execution, internal logistics and automated workplaces or even quality. A digital device can serve as one of the most versatile devices for making the processes digital: smart devices are capable of controlling processes; can serve as a flexible UI User Interface; can collect manufacturing data directly through sensors or manual input. And the listed items are just a small piece of the full cake: we use mobile devices for almost all the work steps we made in our work.
Mobility, Cybersecurity, Data Collection and Analysis
The three most important trends according to a research made by PwC experts in 2018. Asking the CEOs globally and having the results mentioned above we can say that being flexible and resilient was never as important as it is now. The respondents agreed that this is a baseline in Industry 4.0 and cannot be neglected if someone’s goal is to flourish a company in the 21st century.
The second most important factor is security – and we do not have to say nothing more connected to this. All the networks around the production, the offices and for consumer electronics we should be eager to watch the smallest vulnerabilities. Since a tiny fault can cause the biggest error in the complex system.
Last but, not least Big Data – or rather its smaller sibling: data collection and analysis is the third most important trend in the digitalization industry. It means that more and more specialists recognize, the first step of automation is not the buying-a-robot process but collecting important and meaningful data from the production. This is the hard and expensive start of a new approach in the production, but it is not just a toy for bigger companies. It is important for smaller ones too, since they have the same maintenance tasks and issues or quality systems in their production.
Expensive solutions – slow implementation
In fact, most of the industrial mobile devices – special smartphones, tablets or intuitive touch panels are more expensive than the same functionalities for consumer market. Next to that the updates are slow, and features are usually limited. But these devices can guarantee the maximum cybersecurity for production and the best compatibility with all the manufacturing devices. Behind the interfaces there is usually a complex and expensive data analyzer and production control system which can make the costs even bigger – the commonly used MES-PLC pairs can mean an almost 10.000 EUR investment for a company. Thus, it is reasonable to find cheaper and multipurpose devices where they are applicable.
Even so most companies are using industrial devices dedicated for some special application in the production. This could be reasonable if we are talking about a bigger and stable business but for the SME sector it is not the best way to follow. These smaller companies generally have less money to spend on digital development, but it does not mean that they do not have to manage it like bigger businesses.
This is the reason why it is so important to find cost-effective and easy-to-implement solutions for digitalization and data collection. On the way of digital transformation, the smallest step is a big deal and could be useful and important for the companies. Digitalization is not something we can live without – on the contrary, we must find the best way to live and work with it.
Making the transformation easier keeping the investment needs as low as possible we could get an idea from consumer market and find new ways to use these devices in industrial applications.
3+1 cost-effective and easy-to-apply solutions
Making your business more sustainable and effective you are looking for new and reliable solutions. These cheaper applications save not just money but time and capacity too for a SME. Hence, finding these solutions makes production more effective, reliable and inexpensive.
We are trying to collect some cheap and non-complicated smart solutions for your SME business to getting on the road to the world of automation, digitalization and big data. All of them are based on some well-known and intuitive commercial devices, such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and small but powerful sensors for data collections. Therefore, they could be implemented easily by not only multinational companies, but by smaller SMEs as well.
By presenting them, our main goal is to show you that digitalization is not something mysterious and overpriced thing. It could be, but it doesn’t have to be. Digitalization is a way of thinking, a mindset and a toolset for your production efficiency. Let’s see some great example for a fresh – and happy start.
1. Where are my assets in the production area?
RTLS (Real Time Location System)
Imagine that all your production devices, logistics assets and products could be found at a glance – that is what RTLS made for. Using small sensors installed on the moving objects and receivers in the production area, RTLS manage to ensure valid and real-time data about the proper place of the product you are looking for.
This solution uses simple and easy-accessible devices like smartphones or tablets to show the location data in the production area. Thus, ensures the opportunity to have real-time information about the production – from anywhere. Besides RTLS has other advantages : by monitoring the way of products and logistics devices on the shopfloor, the manufacturing process could be optimized. It means that engineers can find shorter and easier ways for product relocation and RTLS gives the possibility to find out which workstations need the most attention and the longest cycle times.
So, what you need for a Real Time Location System is a bunch of sensors and connected receivers. This solution does not need special knowledge to build up and to keep up as solution providers usually gives an intuitive dashboard on a cloud platform for managing data and perform analysis – that makes it easy to implement even for SMEs .
2. Measurements have never been so easy like this!
Measuring manufacturing parameters or specific features of products is not a simple task. But some creativity can help you out here: sometimes the special devices for measure a defined parameter is highly overpriced and the installation is complicated. In these cases, you can use something what you have in your pocket: your smartphone.
You can measure almost anything in your production. But choosing the right parameters and the best way to measure them is essential. Picking this easy and cheap application as an example the measurement device is a smartphone which can record the sounds of the examined asynchronous motor. The sound of an asynchronous motor is corresponding to its power consumption, represented by the vibrations.. Thus, measuring its sound can be referred to its consumption.
This method can similarly work with other applications. For example, you can examine a machining tool’s sound which is in correlation with its feed rate and power. The same measurement process can be applicable to any kind of machines with moving (preferably rotating) parts. All you need to find out is the correlation between vibrations’ sound and the parameter to measure.
3. Collect every small data-crumb and let’s do some magic!
Preventive and predictive maintenance – words that you heard for sure in the last years a lot. You heard them because they are important and can ensure higher quality and less downtime in your production system. And they are also paradigms can always be improved.
These maintenance strategies are based on data collection, so please be welcomed in the world of big data, even if it is just the lobby of the castle. But how does it work behind the numbers?
For building a condition monitoring system you need sensors to collect data and devices to store, to manage and to analyze them. Here is the connection point with IoT and IIoT systems and cloud or even edge computing. These buzzwords are not for scaring you, but you should be familiar with them to find the best solution for your production and maintenance. Condition monitoring and data-based maintenance help you to keep your production’s quality on a constant level during all duties – use it for your benefit.
This solution could sound a bit complicated or too complex for a small company, but that is just what it looks like not what it is actually – hereby it can be cost-effective step on the road of digitalization.
+1. Making the full production more effective – with a small sensor only
Efficiency improvement (OEE=Overall Equipment Effectiveness)
We have seen data collection with a microphone some efficiency improvement and condition monitoring by small sensors. What if we use all these simultaneously? This sounds like a big step, but this is the real start of data driven production.
A small sensor on your machine, some smart devices for data collection and another computer for the analysis – a recipe for a more reliable production. The aim of Haris Digital is nothing else then make your production more effective with simple ideas and tools like smart sensors and a mobile application named Haris OEE Operator. Using all the measured data and production parameters overall efficiency could be optimized and by analyzing the OEE could be increased.
With Haris OEE Operator you can monitor machines up and down times, production anomalies and you can make in depth analysis for your operation. All you need for all these benefits is a smart sensor and a smart application. Let’s be a part of the fourth industrial revolution and the world of IoT what we simple call in the industry IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things)!
All the solutions mentioned above we were trying to give you a viewpoint on commercial and industrial devices: to make easier the decision about investments for SMEs. But knowing some opportunity is never enough: implementing them is the key for long-time work. Stay tuned for some ideas and a step-by-step script for implementation!
- Industry 4.0 is one of the most important industrial trends and it remains in the near future too. – You should be eager to follow the new and new solutions and be open to implement them.
- Bringing own devices to the production is not something wrong or dangerous. It is important and makes the work easier.
- The presented solutions are all based on some commercial devices and easy-to-implement ideas. They are ideal for a smaller or even a big company – all you need to do is find the best fit for you. Note: first identify your problem to be solved and then select the tool and not vice versa.
- Besides the good production numbers the CEOs all around the world listed three most important trends in the industry: Flexibility, Cybersecurity, Data Collection and Analysis. – Thus, it is time to step on the road of digitalization and big data.
- Industrial devices are usually more expensive than commercial ones and are usually dedicated for only one task or a bunch of them – these are some of the good reasons why you should think about buying simple but versatile tools and use them in your production. It could be possible that the employees are more familiar with them too!