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Smart Manufacturing: Optimizing Manufacturing Operations with Technology

By Dick Weisinger

Smart manufacturing.  It’s the use of advanced data analysis and software algorithms to optimize the workings of manufacturing.  The goal is to increase efficiency, eliminate waste, and be significantly more cost efficient.  Smart manufacturing incorporates technologies like automation, robotics, sensors, and data analytics.

Machine to Machine (M2) communication and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two technologies that are especially beginning to bring change to the factory floor.

Conrad Leiva, VP Product Strategy and Alliances, iBaset, wrote that “Smart Manufacturing is an initiative to bring about a revolution in manufacturing business strategy, turning traditional factories from cost centers into profitable innovation centers, through the integration of industrial automation, IIoT, and information technology (IT) including cloud services, 3D models, mobile computing, intelligence, and integration platforms.  Smart Manufacturing will enable proactive management of the manufacturing enterprise through informed, timely (as close to real-time as possible), in-depth decision execution.”

A recent report on smart manufacturing identified three phases of smart manufacturing:

  1. Integration of all stages of the production process
  2. Optimization based on data monitoring within the manufacturing plant
  3. Re-engineering based on accumulated knowledge

Andrew Waycott, CEO at Factora, wrote that “smart machines are better than humans at capturing, analyzing and communicating [some types of] data. Manufacturers can pick up on inefficiencies and issues sooner, and find answers faster… A major part of the story is the drop in technology costs. The emergence of cheap connected devices, coupled with the availability and affordability of mass computing power, has been the biggest driver of Smart Manufacturing.”



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