When manufacturing began to embrace digital technology a decade ago, it acquired a new term: smart manufacturing, or Industry 4.0. By incorporating cloud, automation, advanced analytics, machine learning, and big data into manufacturing and supply chain management operations, a connected ecosystem for manufacturing and supply chain management was created, which grew into a market that is experiencing rapid growth. In Jan’20, the sector was poised to double in size to more than $300 billion over the next five years.
Then came the pandemic. By early spring, millions of workers had been laid off. Several plants halted production temporarily or reduced output to allow workers to spread out and maintain a safe distance from one another. Investment in smart manufacturing also decreased by 16%. According to some researchers, such a pullback would dampen investment through 2025.
However, manufacturing executives and service providers indicate that investment in smart manufacturing will accelerate. It is more than $400 billion by 2025. This is because Industry 4.0 technologies improve operational efficiency, strengthen supply chains, and enable a more personalized customer experience and the potential for data-driven top-line growth.
Before COVID-19 impacted the manufacturing and delivery processes for every conceivable product, some businesses had already begun a digital transformation.
For instance, the automotive industry has already embraced new business models in order to address strategic imperatives such as connected and electric vehicles, as well as automated and shared solutions. The pandemic provided additional impetus for businesses to rethink their digital strategy, accelerate their migration to these technologies, and reduce their reliance on specific locations, thereby increasing their operational resilience.
As a result, supply chains in manufacturing have become increasingly complex and integrated. The Demand for more efficient equipment and increased manufacturing yield has increased significantly. Enterprises are now leveraging applied analytics to predict and mitigate operational disruptions within and across plants and the supply chain.
Instruments of the New Age
Businesses are increasingly using digital twins. AR & VR technologies are being used in a variety of applications, most notably for equipment maintenance and employee training in manufacturing plants. 4G, LTE, and 5G networks are being established to support low-latency communications required for machine-to-machine communication and edge computing within plants. Cybersecurity, cloud computing, and the IoT are also gaining traction.
At the same time, cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a challenge that is getting a lot of attention. We’ve already seen numerous instances of hackers attempting to penetrate manufacturing sites, such as the malware attacks that brought a pure-play semiconductor company to a halt. The number of IoT devices could triple to tenfold its current level. And each device provides a point of entry for hackers. Simultaneously, multinational manufacturers must comply with local regulations.
Smart manufacturing enables more adaptable, customized manufacturing setups, frequently utilizing additive manufacturing solutions to deliver personalized products and enhance the customer experience. At the heart of these capabilities are the digital platforms and backbone: 5G network technology, IoT-related technologies, cloud-based applications, and systems, as well as automation and artificial intelligence, which serve as the foundation for analytics used to optimize manufacturing operations.
Since the lockdown, businesses have figured out how to operate without physically entering the plant. Businesses are shifting their focus to cloud computing, automation, and AI, and advanced analytics. Additionally, they are relocating supply chains closer to their locations and exploring alternative sources for raw materials and components.
However, despite this high level of interest and activity in predictive analytics, the adoption rate is only about 25%. This bodes well for future investment and a stronger recovery post-COVID. By 2025, the growth rate could add an additional 30% in industry 4.0 investment over what was anticipated.
What does this all mean?
One thing is certain: to reap the benefits of smart manufacturing technology, manufacturing companies will require partners who can assist them in implementing and rapidly scaling up the technology. The more providers that can assist manufacturers, owners, and operators in maximizing the value of their investment in digital initiatives, the greater the frontline adoption of these technologies.
How can Makoro™ help?
In order to accelerate deployment, Makoro™ uses a cloud-agnostic model and leverages customer’s infrastructure 100%, and deploys on the edge, in public/private/hybrid cloud, and in customer’s data centers. Makoro™ also optionally deploys on Makoro™ Cloud as a fully managed application suite.
Makoro™ Predictive Asset Performance Management solution continuously and effortlessly gathers and correlates data from the manufacturer’s internal applications, inventory management systems, and maintenance management systems. It generates recommendations for optimizing asset and workforce utilization while lowering overall maintenance costs.
The digital performance twin in Makoro™ Mind uses data from connected devices to construct the asset health and performance model and keeps it updated through periodic re-training. As a result, engineers have a complete view of how the asset is performing through real-time IoT data from the asset itself. The Performance Twin in Makoro™ helps identify potential asset problems, troubleshoot from anywhere. It integrates with Makoro™’s Recommendation System to deliver contextual recommendations to proactively improve asset performance.
And since Makoro™ provides secure access to your plant predictions, insights, and recommendations anytime, anywhere, and from any device, it plays a key role in your remote operations strategy, allowing your operations executives to make better, faster, timely, and consistent decisions about their plant operations remotely.
Schedule a demo to see what Makoro™ can achieve for your business.