Countries’ competitiveness is directly related, among other things, to the ability of their local industry to produce goods with a high rate of efficiency. The productivity of these companies is therefore a measure of success, not only of their single business but also of the general welfare of the nation.
Therefore, the quest for industrial efficiency, generates strong friction between the industrial sector and the utilities service providers. In this context, the companies that supply public good such as electricity, gas, fuel, water, or connectivity, are subject of constant scrutiny by both public and private sectors. Especially when the cost of services is being pushed with skyrocketing inflation like nowadays.
While this debate takes place, we are experiencing an unprecedented convergence between the world of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the manufacturing industry. This is perhaps the main disruptive trend that is taking place in the industrial world today. With technologies like the Internet of Things, companies are incorporating more and more computational intelligence into their old and traditional manufacturing processes. The so-called Industry 4.0, in which equipment and machines are permanently connected to the Internet, allows companies to monitor their production in real-time, remotely control their systems, optimize their processes and, in some cases, even generate high levels of autonomy in their production processes.
According to the consulting firm McKinsey, the Internet of Things will generate $6.2 trillion in economic value annually by 2025, and $2.3 trillion will be in the industrial sector alone. In addition, the same firm revealed that manufacturing generates more data than any other sector, with almost two exabytes of new data every year.
In the same way, according to a survey by the firm PTC, carried out in advanced manufacturing companies in the United States, it determined that, on average, companies in this field that implement Internet of Things platforms experienced a reduction of between 10 % to 15% in your downtime and a 14% reduction in labor costs.
The use of the so-called Industry 4.0 in processes that involve high energy consumption could give companies more and better information on the real use of their productive assets. In addition, It’s standard in the industrial world that the three determining indicators of productivity are: the actual use of the equipment (the so-called availability), the number of units produced (performance), and the quality of the final product, measured negatively with the quantity of waste or "scrap" resulting from the process. Jointly this three components for the OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) indicator.
The use of industrial machinery is the element that is most closely related to the energy consumption and inefficiencies in the industry. Even though this indicator is widely known and monitored in corporations, the truth is that the common practice is to gather manual and even random documentation of it. It is usual to find companies where the documentation of active times and the reasons for stopping production are forgotten - unconsciously or on purpose - by the operators and supervisors, consumed by the accelerated hustle and bustle of the production routine.
Therefore, managerial decision-makers are exposed to inaccurate, forced, timeless, and worthless measurements for their continuous improvement analyses. It is difficult to determine, for example, what is the percentage of productive energy that was used in a period and how much was wasted in downtime, micro-production stoppages, or simply poor management and operational synchronization. It is even less possible to know the root causes of low productivity, the only resulting solution being an investment in more equipment (CAPEX), more personnel, or more shifts that allow them to meet their production quotas (OPEX).
Without the use of technology, it's impossible for a manager to find out in real-time the capacity of all his machinery, or to be able to react promptly to a possible production shortage problem. They are usually tied to costly and slow manual data processing that involves many human steps. The documentation cycle begins with the person who records information on a piece of paper at the production floor - well or poorly documented -. Then the one who types it in a spreadsheet while other person uploads it to an ERP -in the best of cases-. Other who downloads it again to another spreadsheet and merges it to other indicators, develops the presentation, to finally show it in a management meeting weeks or months after the events; when there is little or nothing that can be done about any inefficiency occurred. Besides this whole process is on itself a waste of resources and time.
LANTERN TECHNOLOGIES and GBM (an IBM partially own company) have specialized in the development of innovative Industry 4.0 solutions, blending different technologies to tackle the needs of the market, and incorporating industrial-grade Internet of Things into their production lines. One of their flagship products is SENSE4. SENSE4 measures the usability of industrial equipment through wireless and non-invasive IoT proprietary sensors. These sensors are connected into any type, brand, and age of industrial equipment, in an installation that takes minutes and uses state-of-the-art algorithms to automatically monitor and record the usage of these industrial assets and record the Overall Equipment Efficiency indicators (OEE).
The information provided by SENSE4 is key for the equipment and processes monitoring in industrial contexts. Manufacturers use SENSE4 web platform to have a live view of their production floor. Modern dashboards with current and historical information on their production, quality, and usability allow them to make informed decisions about their operation efficiency in real-time.
This type of solution contributes to leveraging productivity across the company within days, increasing their throughput with minor efforts and strengthening the industrial sector's overall competitiveness.
CEO Lantern Technologies
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