Using collaborative robots to automate factory processes is nothing new, but modern machine learning-powered by cloud connectivity continues to revolutionize what robots can do. 

Fremont, CA: Digital transformation compels the industrial sector to redesign factories and adopt smart capabilities. The proliferation of connected technologies facilitates the implementation of smart factories, optimizing manufacturing processes, redefining supply chain logistics, assisting operators while improving worker safety conditions, and providing new automation opportunities. The Internet of Things (IIoT) is a key force behind these Industry 4.0 transformations. Listed below are key features of IoT-enabled smart manufacturing.

The following characteristics define an IoT enabled Smart Factory:

Automated Processes

Using collaborative robots to automate factory processes is nothing new, but modern machine learning powered by cloud connectivity continues to revolutionize what robots can do. AI-enabled methods allow operators to move robot joints manually to program more sophisticated actions. Likewise, predictive maintenance schedules can make use of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, to automatically produce replacement components.

Predictive Maintenance

The IoT sensors provide periodic or continuous equipment condition monitoring. As a result, maintenance schedules are planned based on when necessary and cost-effective, reducing unnecessary maintenance and downtime associated with equipment failure.

Reduced Energy Cost and Minimized Waste

Connected devices enable the optimization of asset equipment. With vertical and horizontal integration, the Smart Factory can connect with every end of the supply chain. Artificial intelligence and automated processes track disruptions and enact measures to ensure the line keeps running.

Customized products

Having more flexibility in the production process leads to more possibilities for specialized production runs. Automated measures allow for customized product design by connecting customer demand to factory processes. The possibilities expand as additive manufacturing becomes a regular feature of the Smart Factory.

Management of supply chains and warehouses

The distribution of inventory through IoT-connected devices is perhaps the most practical feature of the Smart Factory. Tracking assets through cloud-based GPS and cost-effective Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors provides instant information on cargo and resources during transit, allowing for a real-time evaluation of transportation efficiency and delivery route efficiencies. The system eliminates the waste of misplaced goods while creating a system that can detect disruptions in the supply chain and make adjustments as needed.

Improved time-to-market

The Internet of Things enables direct communication between employees and network components, boosting productivity significantly. The ability to access real-time data insights enables quicker decision-making and contributes to a better response to market changes. Developing new products quickly from concept to commercialization saves time and money.