Modern manufacturing is driven by data and digitalization. Industry 4.0 relies upon the use of technology to power and streamline essential processes. And in 2021, 95% of manufacturers see digital transformation as essential to their company’s success.
Adopting digital processes has been a top priority for manufacturers throughout the United States, especially within the past year. As COVID-19 disrupted the manufacturing industry in 2020, companies adapted by turning their focus to increasing speed, efficiency, and sustainability through digitalization.
According to the 2021 State of Manufacturing Report, 94% of respondents reported that the pandemic revealed weaknesses within their supply chains. As a result, companies were able to identify how to improve their supply chains by increasing the urgency of adding and optimizing digital processes. Here are key ways manufacturers are moving toward total digitalization and embracing database-driven engineering in their businesses.
Although AI in manufacturing might inspire a fear of robots replacing human workers, developments in recent years have instead involved the rise of robots who work in tandem with people working on an assembly line.
From automated conveyors to cobots that work side-by-side with people, if an industrial element moves, it requires power. Distributing and applying that power more efficiently, effectively, and safely is an important task for any facility looking to increase automation. The next step toward fully leveraging the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is storing, interpreting, and taking action on the data that is involved in automated production processes with the help of cloud computing.
The Industrial Internet of Things
The IIoT is a key factor in increasing automation in manufacturing. The IIoT enables machine-to-machine communication, machine learning, and advanced analytics that allow manufacturers to gain insights from the data they generate. In order for the information to be useful, it requires digitalization and an evolution of the ways we work.
Cloud computing allows manufacturers to efficiently store data, communicate between machines, and upgrade manual processes. By storing information on the cloud, manufacturers can have a single access point for their database, making it easy to access from multiple departments and locations, saving workers time and increasing efficiency.
Take for example when a conveyor belt stops unexpectedly. With manual processes, determining why the machine went down would require engineers to sift through extensive manuals and binders to figure out the cause — a time-consuming process. By adopting cloud computing, the same information can be accessed and efficiently searched at the touch of a button — and with a database of 3D project schematics at their fingertips, engineers can diagnose the core issue right away.
Leveraging database-driven ecosystems
It’s no secret that the key to success for database-driven ecosystems is collecting and maintaining quality data. With the help of automation, the IIoT, and cloud computing, manufacturers are equipped with the information they need to streamline manual tasks, regulate supply chains, and increase efficiency.
Whether you’re building automation systems or working with systems integrators, there are a variety of benefits of working with EPLAN’s eVIEW cloud-based software, which makes a project’s design digitally available for all stakeholders and provides the ability to keep the documentation up to date over the life of the automation installation. The software allows you to define the specifications and standards that are a part of your ISO requirements, fostering collaboration between you, your vendors, and partners through database-driven engineering in real time. Learn about how Rittal and EPLAN can support your automation and digitalization efforts by downloading our white paper, Going Up the Value Chain.