SMART FACTORY Smart factory is a small step towards INDUSTRY 4.0 which was initiated by German government in an aim to computerize traditional manufacturing process. It represents a huge jump towards  future from a conventional automated system to a fully functional connected system. And also it replaces pyramid flow of information Automation has always been a part of the manufacturing process for decades. We have seen various kind of automation (simple or complicated) across factory floors. However, the word “automation” means single, discrete process. In order to create a smart factory we need to merge this discrete process into continuous process, we can achieve this with the help of cyber-physical systems called Internet of Things (IoT).With recent advancement in Machine learning, sophisticated cyber-physical systems have been developed which combine physical machines with business models. Where machines, products and process are connected to network so they interact with one another and data flow between them is continuous. Using these data/information entire production process can be controlled according to the customer demand. It’s more like combining Business sides with manufacturing side, This in turn improves customer’s relationship with companies.WHAT MAKES SMART FACTORY SO SPECIAL?Smart Factory caught center of attention at HANNOVER MESSE. What makes it so special is that’s its just not automation but beyond that. Smart factories are designed to operate autonomous but they can also connect to a global network.  The ultimate goal of smart factory is to be flexible as much as possible, ability to transform and adapt itself to the changing environment – like changing customer needs, expansion of business to new market, production of new products, process and services. Smart factory provides feasible solution for some of the issues. It has the ability to learn and meet changing requirements from data in real time. And can also make a decision which helps companies to avoid operational downtime, failures, delays, cost and other losses.There are various parameters involved in building a smart factory one of them is “connected”. Smart factories require the machines and materials to be connected in order to generate the data which can be used to make real-time decisions. Data generation from new machine is easy because most of them are advanced but in factories there do exists older model machine as a backup or rarely used. Data generation from these machines is not that easy but doable, smart sensors are equipped in and around machines so the data generation is continuous, this data both from new and older machines are verified and updated.  Combining data’s from operations, business, suppliers and customers enables us to provide efficient supply-chain processes, and thereby increasing supply network value.Second feature in smart factory is optimization which allows process to be executed with minimal human intervention and more reliable. The autonomous work(job) flows, harmonization of work in progress products or finished products or raw materials,  improved job tracking and setting up, and how much energy consumed in the smart factory can increase quality, and reduce costs and also throwaway(waste).Transparency plays a vital role in smart factory. It’s always better to capture Real-time data from processes or work in progress and convert the captured data into actionable insights, either for humans or autonomous decision making. A transparent network can provide a clear vision of what is happening across the factory floor and ensure the company by providing accurate information using aids such as real-time updates on production and real time production positioning, etc.Dedicated system, employees and computers can anticipate when the downtime occurs and can act accordingly in preference to taking actions after problem arises. This feature can include identifying problems, filling up inventory or stocks, identifying and controlling quality related problems and checking safety and maintenance concerns. The benefits of the smart factory to forecast future outcomes based on historical data and real-time data can improve throughput time, tak time, quality, and avoid problems related to safety. Responsive flexibility allows the smart factory to adapt according to changing product demands with little human intervention. An advanced smart factory has the capacity to change its configuration (machines and other devices) and flow of material depending on the customer demand .Additionally; flexibility can improve throughput time and can become more flexible schedulingThese features provide manufacturers greater visibility across their factory floors, and allow them to navigate some of the problems faced by more traditional factories. The goal of a smart factory is to improve product quality, productivity and responsiveness to suppliers and customer demand and services. WHY SMART FACTORY IS NEEDED NOW?We all know automation has be around for so long but, why all of sudden, investors are interested in smart factory. It’s because of the advantages its provide than traditional one• Provides competitive edge over competitors.• Improves supply-chain network. • Decentralization control of production• Capacity to provide cutting edge product design.• Integration of shop floor network to management.Competitive edge over competitors Smart factories has always been a dream for many companies due to mass data storage, network bandwidth cost, computing power, artificial intelligence, machine self awareness, etc. the wait is over due to recent developments and reduction in prices. Its has become a reality where companies has invested in smart factory and those who has made an investment has a advantage over competitors in these areas which will eventually improve company profit.Improves supply-chain networkSince globalization has become a key factor for trading and purchasing of products, companies has found a way to reduce the cost of products by shifting manufacturing plant into host country/concern continent .These shifts are integrated with demand from the local, international customers, low labour cost, resources  and supply chain . Due to these changes companies has found a solutions to logistics, reactiveness and agile.Capacity to provide cutting edge product design.Its goes by saying “no two products are same”, this goes same for the customers who are interested in one type of product while others are interested in another type of product. For this very same reason there exists modular machines, these machines are popular because they share same structure but with little tweaks new type of setup can be produced  which will in turn help new product (we don’t have to build machine from scratch ). In smart factory, machine learning can decide which type of setup is needed for what type of product, so the final product is build faster than the conventional method.Integration of shop floor network to management.One of the tedious jobs is integration of shop floor to management. This procedure is like a lifeline of the whole factory. It provided a hustle free communication from workers to the top management.  Factory is not just made up of white collar employee but there also exists both skilled and unskilled labours who keep production running. So this is vital communication for smooth operation.Benefits of the smart factory Smart factory program should orient itself toward the company goals. It addresses wide range of categories such as Energy efficiency, quality, material, labour and maintenance costs, safety. These categories, among others, may increase benefits to the company such as low product ordering times, increased market share, and better profitability, product quality, and labour force stability. Regardless of whether, it’s the ability to demonstrate how successful the smart factory is going to be if investments are made and creating confidence in investors for future investments.Energy efficiency Smart factory generates tons of data that needs to be continuously monitored and evaluated, so that if a problem arises in some areas of manufacturing then it can be rectified quickly with minimal downtime. The benefits of this type of factory is that it has the capacity to self diagnostic when problem arise which is one of the most prominent benefits of a smart factory. Energy efficiency should translate into lower machine downtime, capacity, reduced setup time, etcQualityThe self-diagnostics feature of the smart factory can predict when there is going to be a defect and can help identifying the source of it. It can be either in machine, workers or environment. This could help in lower defects and improve lead times, replenishment times, process times and increase product quality.Material, labour and maintenance costs Traditional manufacturing companies have a hard time in maintaining material, labour and maintenance cost due to in effective planning and decision making. Optimized factory leads to predictive inventory replenishment, better hiring process and quality maintenance. This can be achieved by integrating all services right from machine, inventory and workers to a global network. Better integration leads to better quality product which will eventually lower other variable cost.Safety Smart factory has a greater impact on labour wellness and environmental safety. Since everything is digitized or autonomous the amount of human error is minimal and can advert accidents across plant, and carbon footprint on environment is low compared to traditional factory, which overall increases safety of both humans and environment. Smart factory certainly replaces major of works where humans find repetitive and dangerous. However, the role of the human worker in a smart factory is not completely eliminated, smart factory opens door for new opportunities in maintaining IT sides and so

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