Alex Rogo is a factory manager. It was a Friday morning, and the factory was busy making an order that needs to be shipped next Tuesday at any cost. Worried, Alex said a little prayer “Oh God! I wish nothing breakdowns. I can’t afford to delay this order”.
Right at that moment, he heard an Oracle telling him that a Bearing in a machine in the assembly line is going to fail on Monday.
Shocked, Alex called his maintenance crew immediately and arranged to replace that bearing during lunch break. The order was shipped on Tuesday as planned.
Sounds like a fairy tale?! No. I promise it’s true (Except the Oracle part, I made that up????. Actually, Alex got an email notification updating this).
Welcome to Smart Factories where “Things” form an internet and “speak” with each other, “speak” with people.
So, what can you expect in a smart factory?
Smarter Warehouse that can tell “There’s going to be shortage”
When you hear the word “Warehouse” do you picturize a huge space where things are stacked sky-high? You might be wondering “Who on earth will know what material is stored where? What came in? What went out? What time? How many do we have in stock?”. Right?
Well. That’s a thing of the Past.
In a Smart Warehouse, RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification) can track materials and answer all those questions above.
That’s not all. Smart systems can Predict the shortage of material and send out alerts.
Yes, that means no more Production Line stoppage due to shortage of material.
(By the way, did you know that you use an RFID day in day out? Your ID card is an RFID tag through which the office door knows it is YOU and opens the door)
Smarter machines that can foretell you “Hey look there is going to be a breakdown”
You must be thinking “In huge Factories, anything can fail at any time and people scurry to fix it”. Right?
But not anymore. Sensors continually monitor the condition of critical components (say a Bearing or an Oil seal). Powered by Data Analytics, Failures can be predicted, and we can avoid them.
So say Bye! Bye! Breakdown!
What’s more? Without Predictive Maintenance, Manufacturers assume the useful life of a Component (say a Bearing) and replace it much ahead of useful life to avoid inadvertent stoppage. With Predictive Maintenance we can replace when it is necessary, maximize the useful life and save cost.
Cool Robotic buddy that can do the toughest of jobs for you
You thought factory job is monotonous, strenuous, dangerous. Didn’t you? Well, you are right until Cobots are introduced. Cobots are Robots that work ALONG with the human to do monotonous, strenuous tasks so that Human can focus just on tasks that require human cognition. Did you just scream “What?! A robot?! Beside a human?! That’s dangerous!”. Relax. don’t you worry. Cobots got vision and aware of their surroundings and perfectly safe to work with. Should I mention tasks getting done much faster and the productivity is sky-rocketing? The best part? Cobots are easy to program, teach themselves, lighter and mobile.
– Article contributed by Rajkumar B.