How to Make Connected Manufacturing a Reality

Nov. 6, 2018
No matter how well your manufacturing business is performing, it can always perform better.

No matter how well your manufacturing business is performing, it can always perform better. If you want to keep up with emerging trends such as shop floor automation, additive manufacturing, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), you’ll need to make a quantum leap with your manufacturing technology.

The surest route is to embrace connected manufacturing. What does that entail? Let’s take a look.

What Connected Manufacturing Can Do for You

What if all your shop floor activity were recorded and collected in the manufacturing moment—and remained just a few clicks away for your employees, suppliers, and even customers? What if you could use historical data to create a demand and supply plan that you could easily share with your operations, sales, and marketing teams?

You can achieve all of this—and more—with connected manufacturing. It’s an emerging strategy that connects your people, processes, and supply chains to give you unprecedented levels of visibility and control. Rooted in cloud computing, connected manufacturing is all about letting you harness operational and business data to increase your visibility, efficiency, control, and customer satisfaction.

How Plex Enables Connected Manufacturing

Connected manufacturing could be your key to competitive advantage. How? By enabling shop floor connectivity so that you can get the insights to improve your processes—and your entire value chain.

Let’s look at four key areas:

Industrial automation. Plex helps you make connections so that you can capture data and insights from across your shop floor. From there, you can easily establish first-tier automation and control of a machine.

For example, suppose you need to ensure that the vibration of a machine doesn’t exceed certain desirable limits. With the right connectivity, you can automate responses such as slowing down the machine to prevent production quality issues later on in production. This will then help you improve your overall equipment effectiveness, yield rates, and production efficiency.

Advanced analytics. By building on the connectivity you’ve established with Plex, you can start getting predictive in your operations. Suppose you track a machine’s vibration signals over time. By analyzing your historical data, you can begin to identify the patterns that predict failures in the future. These insights can then enable you to trigger preventive maintenance that will help you avoid unplanned downtime.

Resource optimization. Based on the connectivity you’ve established with the Plex Manufacturing Cloud, you can go one step further in mining your historical data. You can use it to drive augmented reality scenarios for training (or retraining) your operations personnel. This will enable them to be ready to respond to virtually any production situation.

Extended enterprise. Suppose you’ve been smart enough to IoT-enable all your machines. The data stream these machines generate can give you actionable insights as you deal with your customers and suppliers. When a customer calls to report a problem with a machine, you’ll be able to determine whether it stemmed from a manufacturing defect, user error, or something in the environment. This will make it much easier to address the underlying issue.

Connected manufacturing could be your competitive advantage. Don’t wait until your biggest rivals get there first. Find out today how the Plex Manufacturing Cloud can help you connect your people, processes, and systems. Go to our Manufacturing Strategy Guide for more details.

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