Productronica used to be all about evolving machine and materials technology, every two years, big steps forward. Not so much anymore, as laws of physics cannot yet be broken, and factories are more focused on high-performance flexibility than speed alone. Western manufacturing is more like rallying than a drag-race.
We recently held an Aegis Software user group meeting, the first one to take place in the UK. It may seem a little “old-fashioned” to have a face-to-face meeting these days, but even in this world of increasing digitalization, the values of the face to face communication persist.
At Atrenne Integrated Solutions, customers include some major Aerospace and Defense companies, requiring the utmost quality control and production efficiency. On the factory floor, an integrated MES system provides a form of “manufacturing intelligence” to drive Digital Transformation. Operators use Aegis’ FactoryLogix MES for real-time visibility into production, allowing them to streamline processes and ensure quality.
SMTAI Rosemont seemed a fair bit busier this year as compared to the previous two years. A lot of technology going on, much of it now in the digital domain as interest in Smart, digital factories and even a hint of Industry 4.0 moves forward. IPC meetings, were especially well attended, a focus of the combined know-how from leaders in the industry to form consensus based standards for the benefit of us all.
Tradeshows have once again become the much anticipated events in the manufacturer’s calendar. Today however, the talk is about digitization in manufacturing, a whole new focus of technology, driven by new business cases which, for example, bring opportunities for manufacturing coming back on-shore and competing in areas which would have been thought impossible just a year ago. SMTAI Rosemont is a “must” on the calendar for manufacturers of any size or sector who want to see how to get with this trend, using it to take their operations to the next level, rather than be left behind.
Manufacturers like you face critical demands to maintain regulatory compliance while also driving value for your customers. Moving from a manual tracking system to an automated MES provides complete quality control plus the flexibility for you to respond to changes in real time.
But what if your operation isn’t quite ready for an entire enterprise-wide MES system?
One manufacturer who faced this exact challenge is K2 Energy, a leading supplier of lithium-ion battery modules.
As a kid, it was great to convert something that was 2D to make something 3D, the classic house of cards, an interesting but unsustainable art form. It is never as simple as it may seem to put things together. With challenges like Industry 4.0 turning the manufacturing world upside down, in a good way I might add, we see solutions that are being quite brutally put together, through acquisition or partnership, which are expected to be perceived as being the solutions of tomorrow. Our younger selves know exactly what will happen.
If, given the recent upheavals in the world, the term “political correctness” still has any meaning, then we all know how the interaction that we have as a society has evolved substantially in recent years. So too have the ways in which we interact with computer systems. The vast majority of people who use computers today are not “techies” or “nerds”, but regular people who just want to get on and do their jobs more easily. The software user-interface however has in most cases not kept up. It is not just about making a pretty picture, but more about the whole user interaction experience and the value that people can in practice get from the interaction. Depending on the computer software design, the value from different solutions with similar specifications can be radically different.
What we think we know is a less dynamic concept than actual reality. So many things progress so quickly, that we either as individuals or organizations, simply cannot keep up any longer. How then do we know whether the grass is really greener on the other side if we are not able to see clearly what is happening? Our retained impressions, experiences and knowledge of software solutions become quickly out of date, which can be a major issue as software starts to drive our Smart factories. Time to have another look at the importance of software in manufacturing.
As the debate around Industry 4.0 benefits intensifies, trends such Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) introduce further context on what digital innovations will shape manufacturing in the near future.
Here, Aegis CEO Jason Spera sits down with SCOOPTalk’s Kim Sauer to discuss how AR and AI fit within the Industry 4.0 road map, and how AR and AI might enable humans to make sense of ̶ and manage ̶ tomorrow’s truly ‘Big Data’ in the factory.