ManufacturingJune 25, 2020

Digital Manufacturing and the IIoT – Part 3/5

This is Part 3 of our 5-part blog series based on the…
Avatar Kim Terca

This is Part 3 of our 5-part blog series based on the IoT World Today white paper, “Digital Manufacturing and the IIoT: Success with a Single Platform.”

Part 3: IIoT Success – More than Just Connectivity

Effective use of IIoT deployments can help define business processes, workflow and coordination, data management, and product integrity and performance.

In the same way that digitalization enables businesses to dynamically connect production, distribution, marketing and customer service resources, a single, scalable platform fills in the missing gap in traditional IIoT manufacturing approaches. It can foster invaluable collaborations by enabling internal manufacturing teams to instantly view comprehensive production data where and when they need it.

A single, unified IIoT-based solution allows business teams to frame data in context. In addition to making better decisions, these teams can devise new ways to capture and deliver value. For example, manufacturers can evolve from a product-focused approach to a service-centric model. Using sensor data

and analytics, business teams can pinpoint and prioritize services offered to customers based on where the greatest source of value exists.

In addition to delivering innovative ways of commercializing products and services, organizations can transform their overall business approach.

These IIoT-driven capabilities enable business processes with higher level of flexibility, efficiency and responsiveness. Business professionals can instantly access powerful tools to support evolving organizational needs. In turn, these teams gain important insights through customer-facing data analytics as well as accurate and timely updates on production and supply chain conditions.

On the manufacturing side, digital modeling for engineers and increased automation on the shop floor result in sophisticated smart products that more truly meet consumer expectations. For example, operations teams can speed up response times and perform tasks based on precise, streamlined information. In one use case, a well-known A&D manufacturer optimizes factory logistics to meet stringent requirements for complex assembly of aircraft wings in real time.

Employing a single, unified platform to incorporate IoT data and provide an operations framework, the company employs heavy machinery and equipment (AGVs, cranes, etc.) across 89 factory zones. To meet production goals, engineering and production teams combine complex event processing with real-time sensor data to orchestrate 2400 assembly moves per day.

In addition to ensuring product quality (due to composite wing material constraints), operations teams can simulate events in advance while establishing high production throughput and shop floor safety. These capabilities offer a prime example of how combining experience with data-driven innovation is made possible by connecting the real world to the virtual world.

It also demonstrates how successful IT and operational technology (OT) convergence can actually deliver use cases that will meet a manufacturer’s business goals. Of course, employing a flexible, scalable platform for end-to-end visibility of design, manufacturing, support and production is an integral part of that success.

The ability to gather and contextualize different IIoT data streams for meaningful insights is fundamental to competing in today’s digital arena.

For example, in the transportation and mobility market, a major automotive OEM validates and optimizes ergonomic passenger and driver designs through simulations based on IoT sensor data. Using real-time motion capture with AI, designers can identify ergonomic issues early in the design process and avoid costly mistakes. Designers employ a single interface to simulate the way humans interact with seats, spaces, and controls on a vehicle under design. In addition to reducing the number of design iterations, a single platform ensures collaboration throughout the build process and instant access to any design.

These collective workflows provided by one comprehensive platform contrast sharply with single-use technology systems. For example, organizational requirements that dictate how a certain technology is utilized, such as data analytics, may not meet the departmental requirements of business teams. Moreover, companies regularly accrue vast amounts of structured and unstructured data in different file formats from a variety of systems (design, engineering, support, production, etc.). Siloed and isolated solutions aligned to one specific technology simply lack the integration necessary to coordinate all this data to achieve meaningful insights into the manufacturing process.

For a manufacturer that supplies the diesel engines used in commercial vehicles, innovation from engine design to production is critical. Deploying a unified platform enables this manufacturer to boost both productivity and efficiency. The company has advanced from producing ten engines per hour to forty. In addition, due to increased statistical and data support provided by the new unified system, operations teams have increased the hourly output year over year. The company also achieved significant cost reductions through greater efficiency and quality improvements.

For example, by relying on a single, comprehensive system, operations teams can pass on manufacturing knowledge and experience to ensure continuity and maintain high levels of consistency. In addition to fast scalability, a unified platform not only ensures a single view of all manufacturing processes, it also provides integration with legacy systems. As a result of these innovations, the company’s manufacturing output doubled in three years.

In the next installment, we will explore the value of collaborating on a single platform.

Part 1: Moving Beyond Pilot Stage Purgatory

Part 2: Confronting Data Challenges

Part 3: IIoT Success: More than Just Connectivity

Part 4: The Value of Single-Platform Collaborations

Part 5: Ensuring Customer Satisfaction & Future Outlook

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