Industry 4.0 applications inside a shop floor – some examples
Once you have a basic machine monitoring system in place in the factory, you can do a variety of things with the data that is collected automatically. Here are some examples of industry 4.0 applications inside a manufacturing shop floor.
Monitoring production and productivity
You can track production quantities on every machine, and generate reports for personnel or show them on Andon boards. You can get alerts on a mobile phone/email if the production is below target. You can track downtime durations and their reasons, and generate reports that help in analyzing the causes and reducing them. You can get alerts if the machine is idle for a long time, or if the downtime is too high in a particular shift. You can track rejection and rework quantities, and get alerts if rejection levels are too high. You can track and improve OEE, A, P, Q.
A machine production monitoring system directly tracks production from the machine. Purchase software can use this data to update the available raw material, and automatically reorder material when the raw material reduces down to the reorder quantity.
You can include part traceability in the production monitoring system. Each part raw material (casting, forging, etc.) has unique serial numbers engraved on it as bar code or QR code. The operator reads this code using an electronic reader before loading each part. The production monitoring system saves this code against each part, so you have a record of the date and time of production of each part and its serial number. This is stored in a database and can be retrieved any time in the future.
When a part is scheduled for manufacture, often the actual production is very different from the schedule. The reasons for the deviation could be any of these : raw material shortage, operator on sick leave, machine breakdown, power outage, accident. What you think is happening can be very different from what is actually happening, because there is no direct feedback from the machines. Solution: Track production on the machines directly with a monitoring system, and get the scheduling software to pick up the production quantities from the monitoring system. The scheduling software then relies on this data to decide batch completion dates, machine availability, etc.
You can track the running time of the machine and condition of various parts, generate reports and alerts for preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance. You can track maintenance efficiency parameters like MTTA, MTTR and MTBF.
When a part is inspected, each dimension can be recorded in the production monitoring system. The data is tagged against the part count or the unique serial number), and is available for audit any time in the future. These are just a few examples of Industry 4.0 applications, and they are inside the shop floor. There are a whole lot of applications outside too. LEANworks Cloud is a system that monitors machine production and productivity. You can get any other software (like ERP, scheduling, purchase, etc.) to pick up data from LEANworks’ database to perform a variety of other functions automatically. LEANworks cloud is plug-and-play, which means you can get it up and running in minutes, and does not require extensive customization or long installation to see the advantages of achieve Industry 4.0.
Cicadas – loud mouths of the forest
I happened to be living in the middle of a forest for a few days some time ago, and my neighbours happened to be a particularly noisy bunch of cicadas. Cicadas are insects that have a a quality called crypsis, the ability to avoid being detected (and hence eaten) by other animals. They can camouflage themselves by looking just like their background, and disguising the source of their sound. The opposite of crypsis is of course insects that are poisonous and deliberately have eye catching colours to warn predators. My bunch definitely were very cryptic. In all the time that I was there, I never saw even one of them in spite of trying my best.
Male cicadas sing to attract females, and the females then respond. The females prefer the loud mouths to the strong silent guys. The singing is actually a sound made by drum-like organs in their abdomens. They do their singing at night, to avoid being caught by predators. A few members of my gang violated this rule, and were singing during the day time too. That’s the equivalent of a human staying awake all night and singing. The average law-abiding member of the gang of course did the singing at night.
I read on the Web that the loudest species of cicadas can sing at 110 decibels, which is a car horn at 1 m. distance, or live rock music. That’s LOUD ! Cicadas represent carefree living and immortality in myths in various cultures. I’m not sure about the carefree and immortal part, but they definitely represent loud living.