A manufacturing process is marked by consistent identification of potential issues and managing them before they cause actual damage during the production flow. The monitoring of a production process majorly consists of seven key factors: count (good or bad), rate, reject ratio, taken time, target, downtime and overall equipment efficiency. Prominent and big companies in an industry generally use a local software installation to perfect the quality of their processes. Such software usually come loaded with visual data management and graphic mention of the factors. How can small and medium sized enterprises contain this capacity without too much burden on their pockets? The power of clouds could allow SMEs to monitor the manufacturing process, readying them for impeccable production performance.
Which manufacturing processes can be monitored?
There are generally five types of manufacturing processes that are monitored on a cloud monitoring tool: inventory management, supply chain arrangement, discrete management, supply chain financial organization and cost management. There are also other supply chain management processes that could be covered by different cloud-based monitoring tools.
While using such monitoring systems, companies should:
- Seek to enhance their machine uptime: Allow production handlers access to mobile-phone notification which informs them about any deviant production behavior instantly;
- Set up collection and streaming of data: This will create a rapid system for analytics and notifications including software analytic tools and compatible communication protocol;
- Bring together information technology (IT) and automation technology (AT): Make use of PC-based controllers that allow quick implementation of new program protocols.
Features of Cloud-Based Monitoring System
In an optimal data monitoring system, data from vast network of factories should be capable of integration on cloud. A strong cloud-based monitoring system has three major components: effective data collection, data visualization for quick analysis and notification system for immediate/interval-driven action. To ensure that these motivations are met amply, the cloud has arisen as ideal space. Only by employing the cloud as their driver can the vehicle of monitoring manufacturing processes be fueled. The Industry 4.0 is a good example of this.
Singular Dashboard for Multiple Processes
Consider the Process Quality Manager (part of Industry 4.0) which is used by tightening experts. They envision and keep a check on the quality of processes like rotation angle and torque in real-time. The manufacturing process dashboard instantly identifies process deviations and trends. This allows experts to perfect their production processes. By using cloud-enabled monitoring services, you can remove defects and achieve transparent production with high output.
Those companies which intend to bring together the data from manufacturing sites located across the world will find the cloud an ideal option for data monitoring. They can keep a check on their tightening processes from a single location and apply their specialized knowledge to it universally.
What makes cloud monitoring services favorable for SMEs is that it requires no initial investments. There are also rarely any conditions which spell how much they can be used for the limited time period after payments would have to be made.
Most of the data monitoring tools available on cloud can be accessed as a web service. No local installations are required and the tools are directly available through browser. Provided the experts have access to good internet connection and browser, they can keep a check on their IoT-connected devices from across the world. A DSL connection would be adequate for a small set of networked devices.
Apart from having access to live information on condition of the machines, experts can run through the history and report any impending errors/breakdowns that could occur. A routine maintenance schedule can be set up according to health of the equipment coupled with notification settings for sending reminders.
Improvised Payment Methods: Pay-Per-Use
With cloud monitoring tools, new modes of payment are emerging. Consider pay-per-use model where the user only pays for the amount of capacities utilized from the tools. This converts what were previously investment costs into running costs. For instance, consider the sports car company case: the user would only be paying for the number of devices which are being monitored. Remember that the manufacturers can adjust the amount of tightening systems which are linked to the monitoring service.
A Case Study
Suppose that there is a sports car company which has 180 employees such that on the assembly line, there are 10 tightening systems. They have short clock rates where each tightening operation takes place every 2 seconds. Such a process can be monitored efficiently through an ordinary DSL connection. Since the provider generally takes care of the installation (of packages) and upgrades, the user is free of worries about maintenance.
Challenge: Data Security
The primary challenge while using cloud monitoring services is data security. While choosing a company for streaming your live and in-store data, it is important to make sure they have stringent safety regulations and ideally, that the cloud is hosted in their own data-centers.
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