The Connected Factory And How It Relates to Fluid Dispensing

Using the web, information can be sent to and from anywhere. This means that people can work remotely and don’t have to be in the office in order to be productive. In manufacturing, service technicians can assist in troubleshooting without actually being at the plant. Those that control and monitor a piece of equipment can be working from a remote location, whether it’s across town or across the world. Today’s industrial ethernet protocol ensures all information sits behind the customer firewall, just as would any company computer.

According to an article in MIT Technology Review:

Although the idea of networking machinery isn’t new, GE thinks that cheaper computing power and sensors are now poised to usher in a new era of big data for industry. Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO, has called the idea a revolution, and the company’s top economist has suggested it could help increase worker productivity by as much as 1.5 percent a year.

When a factory is connected, it can improve machinery performance and extend uptime. Technicians can have immediate access to the machine status from a remote location via the web. This means that diagnostics can be performed quickly and downtime is limited. Technicians can consult on equipment issues without even visiting the plant. This saves on time and travel costs. Using video conferencing technology a technician armed with all of the necessary data from the machinery can visually demonstrate to a plant worker how to fix the issue. This reduces errors from misunderstanding or miscommunication. Even if the issue cannot be completely remedied by consulting a technician via the web, it’s likely that some diagnostic work can be completed before the technician arrives, minimizing the time that the technician needs to spend on the task.

The technology of a connected factory also can notify employees that there is an issue before they even notice that there is a problem, which further limits downtime. Email alerts can be set up that alert management, or other specified parties that should have access to this information, that a machine is down or not running properly. Upgrades can also be made directly from the tech support center, wherever that may be, in a connected factory setting. This means that those on the factory floor can spend their time in a more efficient manner instead of spending it on executing upgrades.

The connectivity of a factory needs to be taken into account when measuring the ROI of a manufacturing product. This modern solution of data collection and problem solving results in greater efficiencies, yields, and production flexibility. When conditions of a plant can be monitored, and remedied, from anywhere, service costs and delays are decreased which improves the bottom line. This has become a selling point for those responsible for purchasing manufacturing equipment, “Do they offer technical service, ongoing training, and upgrades over the web?”

Fluid dispensing equipment and service providers need to provide control and monitor a consistent repeatable assembly fluid deposit worldwide. Customers are increasingly collecting, analyzing and making important decisions using real time data that can provide immediate solutions to issues that arise. This results in increased bottom line profits through higher productivity, fewer rejects, less fluid waste and lower production costs.

About the Author

Cheryl Beebe

Cheryl graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She has worked in the accounting and finance field for 20+ years in Real Estate/Construction, Asset Management, Telecommunication, Information Technology/Software, non-profit, Diamond Industry, and Manufacturing. Cheryl is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Fishman Corporation, a manufacturing corporation based in Hopkinton, MA.

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