Smart manufacturing is a technology-driven approach to production that utilizes data gathered from Internet connected machinery to identify opportunities to improve performance. Big data is not really new, having been around for years, though its capabilities are not fully utilized by the vast majority of businesses. Of course you want a more data informed approach to performance on the factory floor. But what if smart manufacturing was actually smart energy efficient as well?
As it turns out, smart manufacturing offers lots of information for businesses to mine for a variety of important conclusions. Real-time monitoring, for example, allows a plant to decide where and how best to implement automation. Figuring out where the most energy intensive processes are can streamline daily operations. This can also free up the human workforce to deal with smarter tasks while robots and automation take care of menial, energy-sucking repetitive tasks.
Most of us understand how Smart Manufacturing can improve operational efficiency across the board. What many manufacturers don’t consider is the resulting improvement in energy efficiency that also can be achieved. For one thing, newer machines have fewer emissions issues, as they are designed to meet stricter environmental regulations. But because the machines are more efficient, they can also radically reduce the amount of energy the machine uses.
In a similar way, simply identifying designs that outperform previous technology can be considered “smart manufacturing,” such as innovative mixers or heaters that allow your business to reduce material evaporation, energy loss or down time from clogging or cleaning gunked up machines.
Not only is this next-gen approach to production planning and execution leading to heightened productivity and output, but it’s also paving the way for “greener” operations in the near future.