The topic on the Fourth Industrial Revolution has sparked discussions across various industries and countries. A study by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) showed that rapid adoption of Industry 4.0 could boost the country’s labor productivity by as much as 30 percent by 2024. Advancements from smart manufacturing and robotics to artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are set to power this wave of change.
In particular, manufacturing is fundamentally changing with Industry 4.0, and the implications are far-reaching. As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) noted a broad-based yet fragile recovery in its 2017 global growth forecast, manufacturing remains a key economic driver for most countries. In Singapore, the sector accounts for 20-25 percent of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product. With 99 percent of her registered companies being small and medium enterprises, undergoing a digital transformation as solution providers of advanced manufacturing solutions is the way forward to enhance competitiveness.
Yet today’s manufacturers face growing challenges. They need to increase capacity, reduce costs, and improve the effectiveness of their production lines and supply chains to remain competitive. Support is also needed to quickly develop connected products and ensure they can be effectively managed throughout their life cycles.
Companies can build a smart factory to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, strengthen competitiveness, and create new routes to market. With the right amount of planning, it is possible for SMEs to create an IoT strategy to connect the company. Making sense of the data available and having a timely grasp on the overall situation in the factory, enables companies to rapidly tune policies and processes to further enhance productivity and efficiency.
Here are some areas to address in order to progressively build a Smart Factory:
OBTAINING VISIBILITY: The most common need of a factory is visibility. A manufacturer will want to know what is happening in the shop floor in near real-time, and be able to easily drill down for more details. This can be implemented via the use of an intelligent dashboard, where various domains of data can be summarized or displayed in various graphical formats. More specific information can be aggregated or further processed and presented in a rich graphical manner.
MAINTENANCE OF CORE ASSETS: Physical core assets in a plant or factory include machines, facilities, and workers.