Everything can be solved with Data. At least that’s what we’ve read for years in glossy advertisements and seen in beautifully edited online videos. With sensors and IoT you can monitor all your machines flawlessly and with AI you can predict everything. The future is bright, the possibilities endless. But how should one actually get all of this going? How should one go about it in order to really apply these beautiful promises in their own company? How can I really continuously predict whether a machine will stop? How can I monitor in practice whether my installation is achieving its intended return? How can I link this with the continuous monitoring of my energy consumption?
The examples you are confronted with often turn out to be the result of a long and complicated process or are limited to an individual realization, mainly financed with marketing budgets. In other cases, it turns out that from the results listed, only 2 were actually achieved, and the other 6 turned out to be "future possibilities." Frustrating. Consultancy with a bit of software sauce.
This does not sound very reassuring ... But fortunately, it can be different. We start with a short analogy:
In order for your employees to enjoy a tasty sandwich in the afternoon, you no longer have to sow lettuce, make cheese, make up recipes and fill sandwiches yourself. Within many companies, all colleagues pass on their sandwich selection from the menu during the morning shift and at 11:45 AM the van from the local deli comes along with the delivery for the hungry: just enough, and for everyone to their individual taste. In the world of "Smart Manufacturing" today analogous steps are followed such as these for obtaining a tasty sandwich at noon. Just follow the following line reasoning:
- Generating data = growing the lettuce and herding the cows
- Collecting, checking and structuring the data = harvesting, cutting and packaging the tomatoes; making the cheese...
- Analysing the data and converting it into insights and predictions = creating tasty recipes based on the available ingredients
- Show the predictions and insights to the various stakeholders in the workplace = make the sandwiches and deliver them at the right time, to the right person
The sandwich shop takes care of all these steps and gets the right ingredients from the right supplier, as a company you just have to ensure that every colleague can indicate in time what they feel like eating at noon and the rest: will get done. Fortunately, today the same kind of service is available when it comes to making your production processes "smart". Specialized suppliers offer complete solutions to fully monitor a specific machine or installation and provide you with smart insights and valuable predictions in a timely manner. These solutions include a combination of data collection and smart analysis, sometimes coupled with a few sensors, and the correct visualization or other way of interfacing. As a company, you no longer have to look for the separate ingredients, you no longer have to figure out for yourself what fits together or not, and you also don’t have to worry about the fact that everything will reach the right people on time.
And, to continue the analogy, the best sandwich shops are those that regularly come up with a new option on the menu, such that the choice keeps on increasing and everyone can always find something to their taste, every day. A provider of smart solutions for machines is also constantly evolving. On the one hand new modules for existing products are released on a regular basis, so that they can predict even more types of problems, or detect them earlier. On the other hand, also regularly new products are launched: solutions to continuously monitor other types of machines, in an equally smart manner. In addition to a sandwich, you sometimes like to order a brownie for the snack, don't you?