Industry 4.0 applications outside the shop floor
The data that is collected from machines can also be used by software applications that are peripheral to actual production. Here are some Industry 4.0 applications in manufacturng, outside the factory.
1. Material shipment to customer
Your scheduling software has access to your monitoring system’s database. It knows exactly how many parts have been produced at any given time, and what is the expected date of completion of a work order.
2. Material ordering from vendor
You can automatically order raw material from the vendor. The monitoring system directly tracks production from the machine. Another software module uses this data to update the available raw material, and automatically emails an order to the vendor when the reorder quantity is reached.
3. Part traceability
You can include part traceability in the manufacturing monitoring system. The vendor marks each part raw material (casting, forging, etc.) with a unique serial number engraved on it as bar code or QR code. As each part is loaded onto a machine, its serial number is recorded in the software. If a part is rejected any time for a raw material defect, your software can talk to the vendor’s database and get the serial numbers of other parts that were made in the same batch of castings, so you can check them for the same material defect. This can then be used to track down and replace all parts from the same batch. Your vendor’s software reads this data and deducts the rejected parts from your next invoice value or adds additional parts to the next order quantity. The vendor also uses this data to fix the issue.
Your scheduling software (that is talking to the monitoring software’s database) can track the position of the truck carrying the shipment of incoming raw material, Possible delays in shipment because of a truck breakdown, traffic jam or accident can be relayed from the truck driver’s terminal. The software can estimate the time of its arrival, and plan production accordingly. Your vendor’s software too has access to this same data, and can take a decision (or inform people who can take a decision) to send another consignment on an alternative route. Similarly, your customers can know the date of completion of a work order and your expected shipment date, track your trucks and know when the material is going to arrive at their works. This is one of the Industry 4.0 examples that makes a big difference in Just In Time (JIT) production.
If your machines are maintained by an outside firm, the instant a machine breaks down, the monitoring system can send an SMS and email alert to the concerned person. You can control spares parts inventory or automatically order spares for preventive and predictive maintenance, based on machine running hours and condition monitoring. None of these Industry 4.0 applications is science fiction or highly complex, and is easy to implement with LEANworks Cloud Industry 4.0 system. LEANworks Cloud tracks machine activity in real time (which means the instant any activity occurs), and stores the data in a database on the cloud . You can get any other software like ERP, SPC, Scheduling or logistics to pick up data from LEANworks’ database to perform a variety of other functions automatically. LEANworks Cloud is plug-and-play, which means you can get it up and running in minutes, without extensive customization or long installation.
Once upon a time, when I almost got fried by a high tension electric wire….
Many moons ago I went to a place called Timbaktu, 170 km from Bangalore. Yes, that’s actually the name of the place, and it’s not the one in Mali, which is 8600 km away. I used to be a very active member of Bangalore’s nascent waste segregation program, and I was invited one weekend by the Timbaktu Organic Collective to conduct a workshop on waste segregation for their people.
I hopped onto a bus in Bangalore at 4 AM with my bicycle, me inside, the bike on top. I got off the bus at a town 100 km from Bangalore, a couple of hours later. The bus stopped just below some low hanging electric wires, and I did notice them. I climbed on to its roof to get my bike down, but momentarily forgot about the wires. As I picked up my bike and stood up, my head touched one of the wires. I think I would have been fried instantly if not for the fact that I had my cycling helmet on. Or maybe roasted, not fried – frying requires oil, and there was no oil around. Good thing that some wacko logic in my brain caused me to wear the helmet before I climbed onto the bus, instead of after. My blood ran cold for a couple of minutes after this, thinking of what could have been. “Would I really have got roasted?” is a question that arose later – maybe my head touched the neutral wire, maybe my rubber soled shoes would have helped, etc. But then who wants to play Russian Roulette with electricity, right ?
I got the bike off the bus, then cycled the remaining 70 km on a nice narrow country road followed by a boring highway. I turned off the highway after some distance, cycled 5 km down a mud road, and came across a sign that had Gandhi’s wonderful quote ,’Live simply that others may simply live’.
Right after this was the collection of beautiful buildings that were to be my home for 2 days, part of the Timbaktu Collective. The Collective is doing a great job in ecological restoration of waste lands, organic farming, alternative banking, education and disability support. Over the past 30 years they’ve transformed one of the driest parts of the country into an oasis of green. In return for my workshops I got clean air, a great place to stay, and great food for 2 days.
I also had a big snake go past me a couple of meters away, both of us acting nonchalant, like we never saw each other. I had no idea if it was one of the commonest 4 venomous species, since I hadn’t learnt to identify them. That’s a skill I learnt recently in a 2-day workshop on snakes, along with the skill of not running away at 100 kmph at the sight of a snake.