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Increase the efficiency and profitability of your production line with Industry 4.0

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The production line data contains a tremendous amount of information, but unfortunately it is often under-exploited. When properly gathered and analyzed, it becomes the driving force behind the achievement of your objectives.

Digital transformation is getting on top of the priority list of manufacturing SMEs. Government financial support is growing to encourage digital transformation, and more and more companies are undertaking such a project.

Moving your plant to Industry 4.0 allows to get a new vision of the operations and brings many long-term benefits for the sustainability of your operations. Here is how a digital shift can increase the efficiency and profitability of your production line.

By automating manual processes

It is important to note that automating processes is not necessarily the magic solution to the labour shortage. In fact, a study shows that the arrival of technology in the manufacturing industry has had the effect of creating jobs. Traditionally associated with manual labor, the manufacturing industry is now looking for a workforce with a much more technology-based skill set.

However, automating manual processes is a good solution to address the issue of a shrinking workforce that is less interested in repetitive manual tasks. Automating manual processes allows employees to be assigned to other tasks and thus optimize the commitment and potential of existing employees.

Automating processes also makes it possible to get data faster. For example, one food company eliminated the manual data collection and transcription of its sample. From now on, the data collection is automated. There is no longer a delay between the time the sample data is entered in the system and the time it is read by the quality managers. In this situation, the automation also eliminates the risk of human error associated with data entry. The employee who was taking the sample has been assigned to new value-added tasks for the company.

Automation also reduces operating costs. Indeed, the cost associated with the employee who took the sample was perceived as a direct recurring cost to production. Automation definitely brings a cost, but it is a one-time fee, and the return on investment is perceived quite quickly.

By getting performance indicators calculated in real time

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)

Your best friend here: getting in real time your Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) rate. This is an essential data for any manufacturing company.

Showed as a percentage, this performance indicator helps target the most strategic improvement actions a manufacturing SME should consider, such as eliminating a bottleneck on its production line.

The strength of the OEE lies in the fact that it simultaneously considers the three main manufacturing efficiency ratios: the availability ratio, the performance ratio, and the quality ratio.

OEE (%) = Availability (%) x Performance (%) x Quality (%)

An OEE measurement of 100% means that only good parts are made, as quickly as possible, without downtime. In the industry, an OEE score of 85% is considered excellent.

Improve the understanding of your OEE with Industry 4.0

Knowing your OEE is one thing, but Industry 4.0 takes analyzing the result to another level and provides a real-time view of the production line activities.

Today’s solutions make it possible to determine the exact causes of machine downtime and item rejection quickly and accurately, as well as to estimate the financial impact.

Solutions to make better decisions

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enable to monitor and to control an entire plant from anywhere. Many solutions exist on the market, whether for small or large budgets, start-up, or large-scale plants, and can easily be integrated and customized to your realities.

Beginning a digital shift by integrating decision support solutions into the production line means having precise performance indicators to continuously improve operations.

By detecting where the bottleneck is

The current era of digital transformation, Industry 4.0, offers the necessary tools to view production line data. Indeed, it is now possible to see, in real time, on a computer, a tablet or a smart phone the status of one’s production line via colorful and user-friendly dashboards.

The archiving of thousand data records per second makes it possible to display trend curves and analyze historical data. Real-time, bi-directional data exchange with decision support systems allows, for example, to target the exact location of the bottleneck.

Industry 4.0 brings real added value to manufacturing companies. With performance management tools and decision support solutions integrated into the production line, plant managers have better access to data and can better understand the nature of operations to take action where it counts. Ready to start the shift to 4.0? Contact our team.