The digitalisation of the industry is a deeply transformative process, the effects of which are only comparable to the Industrial Revolution. This hugely important step, which is part of the Industry 4.0 concept, is the result of implementing innovative technology that provides added knowledge to production processes.
With data as their raw material, factories are becoming interconnected bodies that offer greater interoperability and better informed decisions at all times. All these advances come together to make smart factories a reality, in addition to making a new more efficient form of production possible.
The theory sounds (and is) promising. However, managing to tackle this transformation efficiently can seem like an overwhelming task at first, especially when the market offers an increasing number of options. In this post, we offer you the keys to beginning this process so that you have access to all the right resources needed to make the digitalisation of your production processes a success.
1. Setting up appropriate architecture
An appropriate definition of the information and variables to be monitored and appropriate information storage architecture are vital to being able to obtain, process, and interpret the data which will be highly useful in optimising production processes.
Cloud solutions and their scalability are a paradigm shift in this area. Prior to the arrival of these technologies, the industry had the option of storing information locally. However, this solution was limited in terms of data processing, which in turn hampered the analysis of all the information that was being generated. Cloud solutions mean these processes can be streamlined, different information sources can be linked, and visualisations can be created to assist effective data interpretation.
2. Selecting the truly useful data to achieve your goals
Implementing suitable architecture is a decisive step in the digitalisation of industrial processes, but in and of itself is not a guarantee of a successful implementation.
Today, we have cases of plant operators who, in spite of having well-structured systems, receive such large amounts of information that they cannot process it all. Therefore, they cannot carry out concise analyses which give real-time insights into production processes in order to make the correct decisions. In short, they are unable to take advantage of the benefits of digitalisation.
The maxim of “more data, better information” is not actually true. One of the most important and difficult tasks is choosing the data that is useful in optimising and improving the efficiency of production processes. Therefore, superfluous data must be discarded and only the data that provides real added value should be recorded.
Before succumbing to the temptation to digitalise all locally-processed information sources, careful consideration must be given to the goals of digitalisation and which data will be most useful for your strategic goals. This not only means discarding some data, but also incorporating other data with added value that will provide relevant information to meet your goals.
Condition monitoring sensors, such as those developed by Atten2, are able to predict critical failures which may lead to dangerous breakdowns or production downtime. They also provide relevant information which enables proactive measures to be taken to improve the operating conditions of machinery and, as such, extend their useful life.
3. Remember: Your data in the Cloud is safe
One of the biggest deterrents for a plant manager who is considering digitalising their processes is the supposed vulnerability of Cloud data. It is therefore worth remembering that Cloud solutions are more secure than storage on local servers as in-house information management doesn't usually apply the latest advances in data protection. Cloud cybersecurity systems now feature the highest level of data protection and encryption standards to offer the greatest possible protection against attacks.