Using Connected Manufacturing & Machine Learning to Make Money

In my last blog, Hearing Voices Through Connected Manufacturing & Machine Learning I tried to convey how expensive manufacturing equipment could (and should) be telling you how it’s performing and if it’s going to malfunction. While it seems futuristic and expensive, I’ll attempt to dispel both challenges in this post.

One starting point is the reality of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact on manufacturing is recognized by major governments across the globe. It’s referred to as ‘Smart Nation’ in Singapore, ‘Made in China 2025’ in China, ‘Industries 4.0’ in Germany, and generally as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) by various industry leading organizations in the United States.

Regardless of what the governing bodies are doing, we’re in business to make money.

How can you do that?

Use the IIoT and all that it can do to achieve your business initiatives.

That’s when some new compelling or wiz-bang approach to things can actually make sense (or cents). What I mean is this, don’t treat the IIoT as something new or as a separate initiative. Rather, embrace the technology for what it is and how it can propel your existing business initiatives.

The ideals of my previous blog, preventive maintenance, enterprise monitoring, and increased ROI are probably already on your visions and strategy hit-list for making more money. These are exactly the core business initiatives that are possible. When these are being met, the feeling of work being ‘expensive’ shifts to understanding the value of smart, connected operations. This comes from connected systems and equipment flowing data from previously disparate systems into a data refinery directly connecting operational metrics to core business initiatives in real-time. Then you can focus on the value.

Move forward into what’s current and available if you’ve been sitting for a while.

As for this being ‘futuristic,’ well I guess you could say it is, but it’s more focused on moving forward. This is fundamentally about transforming the way you design, manufacture, connect to, and service your products. It’s a major shift into the future.

It’s not about unobtainable science-fiction — rather its attainable with modern equipment and easy add-ons to old equipment. This is enabled even further through easy access to high volume scalable process computer systems in the cloud and at the edge. It’s even become expected in newer equipment.

The advent of IoT Platforms like PTC’s ThingWorx has created systems that address all aspects of the IoT stack and support smooth and complete implementation. Starting with Industrial Connectivity to accelerate the connection of existing equipment into a central hub, you can rapidly bring equipment into the ‘connected’ state by feeding the ability to give your equipment a voice. A scalable and flexible environment for creating applications and role-centric mashups of refined information comes together in ThingWorx Foundation. Augmented Reality runs right through this system as well as predictive analytics in ThingWorx Analytics. ThingWorx Analytics are available to turn these concepts into reality and truly give the equipment in your operation a voice.

So, are you hearing voices yet? Or maybe wishing that you did? We’d love to help make this happen — whether it is through connecting the dots related to strategy, providing technology, implementing it, or even helping to retro-fit existing equipment so it can speak, let us hear your voice and we’ll help give your operation a voice as well.

If you’d like more information about connecting your products through smart manufacturing, you may find our brochure helpful.