A well-founded interest in individualization, growing clients demands, the complexity of the global flexible chain - these are just some of the challenges making digital manufacturers search for innovation and adopt new, more imaginative business models to remain competitive. As they seek to address profitability and improvement issues, organizations discover how to improve their operations by employing digital solutions.
According to ScienceSoft, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is an approach for advanced changes in Manufacturing. IIoT uses a list of sensors to collect key metrics and information from the production line and then wields cloud programming to transform this information into important insights about the performance of operational activities.
The main adoption drivers for IIoT include:
- Cost reduction: through improved resource and inventory management (and therefore lower inventory costs and search times), reduced downtime, better-coordinated operations and more effective use of energy, organizations reduce costs and create new sources of income.
- Shorter time-to-market: faster and more effective supply chain operations and more flexible production processes allow the manufacturing businesses to reduce product cycle time
- Improved security: IIoT ensures a safer working environment. More than safeguarding workers’ well-being, IIoT also deals with safety issues in potentially dangerous situations.
Improving monitoring tools for enhanced efficiency in Digital Manufacturing
Digital Manufacturing operations usually translate in the shipping of different types of tools to the actual construction sites all around the world. Nowadays, companies realize that closely monitoring the tools would enable preventive maintenance, thus extending the life of their assets and resulting in a decrease of time and operational costs.
An ITIF research report shows that IoT applications for monitoring machine utilization can increase manufacturing productivity by 10 to 25% and produce up to $1.8 trillion in global economic value by 2025. Some Benefits of an IIoT solution for you’re a manufacturing tracking tool include:
- Decreased time spent on tracking tools: keeping track of the assets can be prone to human error and take a lot of time and resources.
- Replaced manual storage and classification of the tools in use: with reduced machine downtime more agile operations, and more efficient energy use.
- A proactive response: allows employees to have an overview of the required calibrations, tool replacement situations, and tools’ certifications.
- Enhanced mobility and accessibility: enable the designated administrators to have a comprehensive image of the tools’ parameters, no matter the location or the time.
- Diminished tool-related costs: allow users to monitor costs and distribution that decreases the replacement and the shipping costs.
- Improved safety and compliance: have a clear overview of the tools’ validity.
How IIOT Solutions help Digital Manufacturers improve efficiency
During one of our projects, our client was facing operations all around the world and it soon became evident that closely monitoring their tools would extend the life of all assets and result in a decrease in time and operational costs.
How we handled the challenge:
- Discovery workshop for understanding client needs
To better address the company’s challenges, we organized a service design workshop. During the workshop, we sketched the backlog and the user flow.
- Setting up visual designs for clarifying product needs
By the end of the workshop, our teams came up with a clickable mock-up of the product that was delivered to the client for final approval before implementation. While we handled the software creation and implementation of the tool tracker, we also offered consultation regarding the hardware solutions in terms of providers and product features.
As part of the tracker, we created a scalable iOS and Android application that reads the data provided by the beacons mounted on equipment and sends that data to the cloud. For increased scalability and mobility, we had a cloud-based approach using Microsoft Azure. Several web services ensure data collecting and processing. Then, this data is provided to clients (via web and iOS) in a timely efficient manner. Also, we put in place a notification system that lets users react and respond more proactively to possible critical situations.
- Offering a business model that facilitates continuity of the MVP
We also created an ongoing inventory that simplifies the company’s work for creating a quarterly and yearly inventory. Keeping in mind the business growth and the diverse needs, we made sure that the platform is highly scalable and allows continuous deployment of new features.
The platform made a significant contribution to the optimization and digitalization of our client’s logistics processes. The business value lies essentially in the time savings and in the increased productivity. The company also saw improvement in the overall services quality and compliance.
With this tracking solution, the entire tool check-in and check-out process is largely automated, and the current position of a tool is automatically reported back to the system. Now, the company’s users are enabled with fast access to information related to tools such as geo-location, warehouse situation, environment data, electrical and mechanical certificates and more. Also, it allows:
- Interactive detection of nearby tools
- Historical information for data and location
- Notification mechanism for certificate expirations
- Visual representation for data readout