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Why Technology Is Crucial for the Future of Manufacturing, Part 2

Mar 22, 2016 4:39:03 PM

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In the previous post we discussed the impact that transformative technologies are having on the manufacturing industry. These technologies are already being used to improve business models, security and collaboration, and overcome the challenges of a complex, global supply chain. Manufacturers are able to go far beyond simplistic cost analysis to source materials, overcome the skills gap, and find the ideal locations for operations. In this post, we’ll discuss the roles that networking, the Internet of Things, high-performance computing, and big data are having in transforming manufacturing.

Networking

A number of components in the manufacturing network, such as telemetry, controllers, sensors and IP-based video surveillance, use Ethernet technology. An integrated network is needed to deliver the flexibility, reliability and security required by manufacturers. A robust network infrastructure allows manufacturers to monitor and control access to remote assets, enhance network security, leverage a comprehensive video monitoring strategy, support a reliable wireless network, and integrate data from a variety of sources.

Internet of Things

Under constant pressure to become more efficient and speed time-to-market, manufacturers are increasingly turning to the Internet of Things for answers. By connecting corporate assets, equipment, digital ceilings, vehicles and even personnel to the network, manufacturers can improve resource utilization, reduce costs, boost workforce efficiency, and minimize downtime for maintenance. The Internet of Things provides real-time information that makes it possible to deliver on the promise of lean manufacturing to optimize production and eliminate waste. It also creates a safer work environment by improving communication between operators, employees and equipment.

High-Performance Computing

High-performance computing can deliver significant benefits to not only large manufacturers, but to the smaller “backbone manufacturers” that make up 95 percent of the American manufacturing industry. Larger manufacturers are looking to high-performance computing to achieve peak performance and to optimize power, cooling, data center density, and storage. Most backbone manufacturers, who are more cost-sensitive and often lack in-house technical expertise, are still in the process of making the business case for high-performance computing. Early adopters stand to gain the greatest competitive advantage as they use high-performance computing to shrink development cycles, avoid delays, and improve product lifecycle planning.

Big Data

Manufacturers are already using big data and advanced analytics applications to streamline operations, improve production quality and assembly speed, increase profit margins, and reduce costs and errors. However, three areas that can benefit the most from big data are the forecasting of product demand and production, the use of metrics to evaluate and predict plant performance, and customer service and support. Machine-level data can be used to measure compliance and correlate production with financial performance on a granular level. Manufacturers have access to tons of real-time data. The key is to understand what is affecting performance and how to take action accordingly.

Pivot’s portfolio companies know how technology is reshaping the manufacturing sector. Let us show you how our tightly integrated, high-performance technology solutions can drive your manufacturing operation forward.

by John Flores

Topics: Blog

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