Virtual Event : Industrial Meditation: Preparing for the New Normal
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, most sectors find themselves unprepared for an event anything of this magnitude. It is a time when business leaders are evaluating priorities and readiness to operate and thrive in the new normal. Recently, Microland joined NASSCOM as a Knowledge Partner hosting a virtual round table — the topic “Industrial Meditation: Preparing for the New Normal.”
The session provided insights on how a smart manufacturing ecosystem enables and accelerates business value securely. Leaders of various industries joined the event, and it was interesting to hear different perspectives on how enterprises are trying to keep pace with rapidly evolving demand expectations.
Anchoring the discussion, Manjanath Nayak, SVP - US Customer Success & Global Industrial IoT presented his views on Industry challenges and key consideration to thrive in the new normal. He was joined by Rajkiran C, Senior Director & Head of the IoT/AR Business, India and a joint customer, Mehul Shah, Founder and MD - Encube Ethicals.
Here the five key takeaways from the event:
1) LIGHTS-OUT PROCESSES & WORKER PERFORMANCE AUGMENTATION IS THE KEY :
The focus of digital transformation around manufacturing should be to make processes more efficient and reliable, rather than taking an ‘Automate Everything’ approach. Taking engineers and technicians out of the manufacturing equation is a mistake, and instead, manufacturers will do better by automating the parts of the overall process that contribute to human error. The goal should be to empower workers, to change the way they work rather than changing the fact of action.
For example: Going paperless by digitizing the workflows ensures a win-win, firstly by bringing smiles to shop workers by removing the manual recordkeeping, and also significantly cuts down the cycle time to generate business and production reports. Here’s a case study from Microland on Driving Change Using Smart Manufacturing.
Similarly, new collaborative robots (aka cobots) enhance the native abilities of the workers at the shop floor rather than replacing them.
2) EMBRACING REMOTE OPERATIONS MODEL IS INEVITABLE
Factories depend on operators to keep machines running, and it’s simply not possible for them to work remotely. However, it is possible to reduce the number of people needed to maintain operations with the right remote strategy in place.
With the advances in OT network connectivity that provide access to machine level data in an easy to interpret format, several functions at manufacturing plants that were considered essential to be co-located with the shop floor are now reimagined as remote central functions.
Empowering these functions for full remote operations needs a robust OT digital backbone, which enables real-time access to shop floor machine data.
From a technology perspective, AR plays a significant role in this space enabling Remote Troubleshooting, Remote Maintenance, Worker Instructions Over The Air, and more.
3) GET EVERYONE ON THE SAME PLATFORM
To provide larger context and insights, factory data from machines need to be aggregated and seen along with data from ERP, MES, LIMS, and other systems over a single glass of pane – Industrial IoT Platforms in this case. Once this centralization information is available, it can be viewed and analyzed through various data visualization or exploration tools that allow teams to compare manufacturing performance across lines, shifts, products, and more. The visualized dashboards are also tailored to various personas like maintenance, plant manager, machine operator, higher management, etc. The data is further used by machine learning and advanced analytics models to identify bottlenecks and provide predictive alerts.
Early Adopters of this move have relatively seen a much comfortable switch during restricted operations in the pandemic time, and will always have the edge over traditional operations in the future. Organizations need to balance cash conservation with digital investment for future preparedness.
4) TECHNOLOGY TO ENSURE SAFETY IN THE NEW NORMAL
The most critical focus for every organization is to keep employees safe in an environment where repeated outbreaks are a persistent threat. Therefore, it is imperative to leverage technology to build scalable solutions to ensure employee safety in the new normal.
Numerous technologies like Bluetooth, LoRaWan is enabling robust contract tracing solutions to monitor and minimize the shop floor experience, providing smarter ways to operate through the immediate need to maintain enhanced hygiene and physical distancing.
Similarly, there are vision-based solutions as which are used to ensure compliance with PPE adherence, social distancing norms, in addition to traditional safety uses cases like collision-detection, perimeter monitoring, geo-fencing, etc.
5) KEY IIoT INTERVENTIONS TOWARDS SMART & FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING
Most importantly, all the investments and strategies need to focus on building an Integrated Smart Factory, enabling connected and flexible manufacturing. Here are the broad areas of the Smart Factory
- PRODUCTION INTELLIGENCE: Real-time insights on production health and effectiveness and other KPI like quality.
- ASSET AVAILABILITY: Improve asset uptime and utilization. Drive operational predictivity.
- ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Energy consumption insights & forecast for production continuity & reduced carbon footprint
- WORKFORCE PRODUCTIVITY: Drive workforce productivity through digitalization and tracking work cell effectiveness.
- AUGMENTED EXPERIENCES: Leverage AR to enhance the training experience for assembly, repair, or operating procedures.
- REMOTE OPERATIONS: Enable remote/central management of production operations and shared services
- AUTOMATION: Automate repetitive, precision processes to augment workers, drive scale, speed and lights out processes
- WORKFORCE SAFETY: Leverage technology to drive safety compliance and detect/prevent unsafe conditions.
- INTEGRATED VALUE CHAIN: Aggregate multiple silos, to drive insights, predictability & optimization of the end to end value chain (SCM, Manufacturing, Logistics)
Also checkout Microland’s Industrial IoT Solutions.
Although businesses have had reason to embrace digital workflows in the past, COVID-19 has provided another strong incentive to accelerate this journey.
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