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Smart Manufacturing

By Ravi Ramakrishnan and Loveleen Gaur

What is Smart Manufacturing and How Can It Improve Manufacturing?

According to Frank Riddick, “Smart manufacturing is a data intensive application of information technology at the shop floor level and above to enable intelligent, efficient, and responsive operations.”

Smart manufacturing involves use of a myriad of technologies like big data, predictive analytics, and virtualized process modeling and simulation to create value from data by streamlining data and factory operations (Ransome, 2016). Among other benefits, smart manufacturing and IoT-enabled machines can be used to influence the supply chain, growth, safety and technological advancement.

  • Supply Chain: Factories stand to benefit with the Internet of Things (IoT) from operations optimization, predictive monitoring, inventory optimization, and health benefits. With the IoT, many car manufacturers like BMW and Toyota are integrating the full supply chain to identify all supplier parts, going inside the assembly of a car and, thereby, reducing defects and recalls. The IoT can be used to a get a single 360° view of what components are getting deployed where at every point of production. The IoT-enabled products can also be provisioned or deprovisioned on demand and can help introduce new business models totally different from the earlier physical product sales, thereby introducing diversification and competitive advantage based on digital models
  • Growth: Smart manufacturing can power strategic growth through sustainable means using renewable forms of energy and recycling using a converged approach involving humans, machines, data, products, and digitization. The IoT applications in manufacturing can provide easy-to-recognize high-RoI applications like preventive maintenance or emission controls and energy conservation that can be measured under key indicators such as reduce costly downtimes, improve productivity and reduce unit cost of production, help simulate newer business models, improve and convert marketing opportunity, regulatory compliances, and improve operating margins.
  • Safety: People safety and security is one of the biggest concern areas in manufacturing, especially in conditions of high temperature (boilers and furnace), radioactivity and magnetic rays (centrifuge and power generation), high pressure (compressors), fast moving assembly lines (chains and shafts), or high decibel sounds (vibrators and motors) that are highly accident prone. The IoT-enabled machines and sensors can help detect human proximity to such areas, CCTV with infrared detection and motion detection and warning alarms can also warn about the presence of humans in time.
  • Technology: Smart manufacturing incorporates many advanced digital technologies such as robotic arms, automated conveyor belts, contactless transmission and receiving using RFID, Bluetooth, or related technologies, connected supply chain networks with end-to-end visibility of the supply chain from initial raw material provider to the end consumer, and the focus on human-machine collaborative coexistence.




Explore Smart Manufacturing from Internet of Things: Approach and Applicability in Manufacturing for vital information on shop floor productivity, energy monitoring, the operational efficiency of machines, smart design and new product development conceptual model (below) among other key manufacturing topics.

This articles was cited from Internet of Things: Approach and Applicability in Manufacturing, by Ravi Ramakrishnan and Loveleen Gaur (2019).



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