Have you thought about adopting Industry 4.0 technology but are worried about: costs, expertise, training, or the viability of connecting to existing machines? In this blog, Intouch Monitoring answers your questions about smart manufacturing technology.

SMART factory or Industry 4.0 can seem daunting. It can seem a bit futuristic and high tech.

But actually, it is no different from what we are all using in our daily lives now. From the smart home temperature controller allowing us to control the temperature of our homes when we are out, to our emails being accessible on our phones, to our fitness watches keeping track of how many steps and how many calories we are burning and showing us how we can do more of some stuff to be healthier.

Many supermarkets now give customers their own handheld scanners so that we can scan our groceries as we shop.

Most of us use a satnav to get to new places now, making driving less stressful and safer than when we used to have to negotiate the roads whilst looking at our huge paper maps. Satnav technology also warns us of standstill traffic and offers alternative routes.

There are so many types of smart technology that we now use in our daily lives as standard, offering us an array of benefits, but they all tend to have some things in common:

  • They make our lives easier
  • They save us time
  • They give us the information that we need when we need it
  • They are accurate

The examples that we used: the smart home temperature controller means that when we are away from home, we can lower the temperature remotely, or when we have guests coming and we need more hot water, we can open the app and in 3 seconds make the necessary adjustments. Our fitness watches show us what activities burn more calories, how much sleep we have and they allow us to see patterns and what we can change to increase fitness, lower BMI, or improve sleep. The handheld scanners mean that you don’t have to put your shopping onto the conveyor belt and back into your trolley, saving you time and effort.

It is exactly the same with a smart factory

All that is involved in turning your factory into a smart factory is employing technology to make your job easier, more efficient, more accurate and saving you time and money.

What about costs – is it expensive?

It used to be that buying a Manufacturing Execution System for example would require a significant upfront investment that would take anything from a year to a few years for ROI. Cloud technology has brought new technology to the reach of anyone with its low monthly subscription and scalable model.

It has also made it possible to offer free trials, giving peace of mind to anyone considering investing in the new technology.

And security?

People don’t trust Cloud technology when it comes to business in a way that doesn’t worry them when they are dealing with personal stuff. Nowadays, everything is on the Cloud. Our banking, our shopping, our photos, our documents. Manufacturing cloud-based technology is no different.

And in the same way that you only trust reputable brands that have been around for a while with your personal things, if you do the same with your business/manufacturing, it will be the same and just as secure because they have a proven track record.

I have a mix of old and new machines and they have different processes – can I still turn my factory into a Smart factory?

You may think that you need to invest in new machines to benefit from any new technology that you implement, but that isn’t the case. Intouch monitoring, for example, is just as effective when implemented in new and legacy machines and can simultaneously monitor all the different types of process machines in your plant.

Do I really need Industry 4.0?

Well, you can still manufacture without Industry 4.0, but the answer is that if you hope to stay competitive or profitable, then YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED IT.

Because your competitors are implementing Industry 4.0 and because of that they are able to manufacture more efficiently, reduce lead times and provide a much better and informed service with consistent quality to their customers.

What about training? I can’t afford for my staff to take a long time learning how to use the new technology

Like with all the technology we are using at home, smart manufacturing technology is designed to be intuitive, so all you need is a little training upfront to learn what you can do with it and then you are ready to go. Intouch staff are always at the other end, happy to help at any time (we have a long-standing reputation for being very helpful).

Intouch Monitoring specialises in providing manufacturing solutions that give you complete clarity and control of your operations. With 2 months free trial, you can have your Intouch system installed and your staff using it in weeks.

  • Ewelina from Talisman Plastics was able to turn switch their medical machines to a 24/7 unmanned operation, improving their BT Cells (NHS) machines from 70% to 90% OEE and overall factory OEE from 62% to 67%.
  • Dave Sheridan from OnePlastics increased uptime by 10% and improved changeover times by 30% (which is important as they have over 170 changes a week).
  • Simon Anderson from LVS Small Plastics Parts was able to drop from 18 shifts to 15 shifts per week after just 3 weeks.
  • Helena from Andel Plastics said, ‘we didn’t know how much we were missing, until we had it!’. She also really values the confidence it has given her in meeting production deadlines.

The beauty of Smart technology is that it helps you operate much more efficiently, meaning you can make the same or more, with consistent quality using the same or fewer resources. This means you can stay competitive, offer your customers better prices, promise deliveries whilst remaining profitable.

Intouch offers a 60 Day Free Trial. We help you set the system up remotely and train you and your staff remotely. The system is a subscription and scalable. Start and stop whenever you want and add machines as needed. Please refer to our website for our pricing.

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Intouch Monitoring

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