The use of technology in the manufacturing sector is not new. However, this sector is now gearing up for a world of convergence – one where digital and physical worlds converge to being transformative change with the Smart Factory. The Smart Factory takes the manufacturing sector from traditional automation to a completely connected, flexible ecosystem where data flows seamlessly from production and operation systems to unlock efficiencies, productivity, and better decision making.
The Smart Factory leverages technologies such as IoT, sensors, big data analytics, robotics, 3D printing (also called Additive Manufacturing), Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality amongst others. These technologies bring the excitement of high-profile benefits – predictive maintenance, lesser downtime, predictive analytics, productivity gains, less waste as well as better customer service. The benefits of this connected factory extend to better connectivity and improved information exchange even outside the factory walls extending to the supply chain. Clearly, this smart ecosystem extends across the length and breadth of the entire manufacturing touchpoints. Yes, it’s hard to not see the opportunities in the smart factory. The question is where do you begin?