Industry 40 With predictive analytics for more automation and productivity

The trade surpluses from recent years have shown that manufacturing is still the backbone of the German economy. For 2012 the current account surplus was around 170 billion euros.

However, global competition in production technology is increasing.

With the future project Industry 4.0, the federal government wants to significantly improve classic industries and production methods.

In this way, the lead of the German economy in international competition could be maintained or, in the best case, even increase.

For this project, all information and production technologies are to be more closely interlinked in the production facilities. The factory of the future, the so-called smart factory, will become more intelligent and independently manage optimization, configuration and diagnosis processes – it will be more flexible. A strong software solution is of central importance for the implementation of Industry 4.0 and Smart Factories.

Software for the smart factory

A large amount of data is generated in all manufacturing processes. This information is analyzed with the help of the appropriate predictive analysts software. This must be able to evaluate huge amounts of data in real time and recognize patterns in it. But even in the run-up to the production measures, such software can bring many advantages for the industry, because it enables precise sales and demand planning.

Material procurement becomes much more efficient and daily operational decisions are automated. The prerequisite for this is that the software is dynamic and self-learning. At the same time, delivery bottlenecks are avoided, because the actual consumption is recognized at an early stage by the forecasts and delivery schedules are triggered automatically.

Automate production and delivery

Machine-to-machine communication (M2M) must take place so that the smart factory can collect sufficient information for predictive analysis. A component that is to be delivered in the automotive industry for a special model goes through different production processes than a component for the standard model. It must therefore differ in its type. The smart factory is flexible enough to independently align and carry out the manufacturing processes according to the predefined product – provided that all machines, storage systems and equipment are networked with one another.

If the producer and the supplier are connected, precise demand forecasts can ensure the constant availability of the individual components. In addition to its own data that each company has accumulated over the years, external influencing factors such as the weather, holiday times and price changes for materials can also be taken into account in the forecast. Real-time analyzes with predictive analytics software enable companies to automate large-scale decisions and deliver reliable predictions. Production bottlenecks and delivery problems are minimized and relevant events are presented transparently for the user.

Today, capacity utilization at different locations can often be tracked over the Internet. In the future, machines will report all sensor data to the control systems at all times. This enables insight into the current workload and the current status of the devices. Reliable forecasts in real time provide information about the expected performance and maintenance intervals. This guarantees a maximum production volume. The security of planning increases through the networking of machines, as long as a predictive evaluation of the collected information from the network takes place.

Reduce expenses, maximize income

But not only the production capacities are important, the condition of the machines is also decisive for the efficiency of the smart factory. By networking the devices with one another, a defective machine signals its status and informs the maintenance staff. This enables the production manager to quickly make an appropriate decision: either to redirect the production chain or to have the possible error rectified in good time.

With predictive analytics software, it is even possible to predict the condition of the device. The forecast software detects whether a machine will need maintenance in the near future, but also whether it will be fully utilized in the next two days or not. This look into the future means that the Smart Factory guarantees maximum productivity.

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