Unplanned work stoppages cost global industries millions of dollars in lost revenue. Downtime can be caused for multiple reasons. Examples can be weather delays in airline companies or cyber crime which lead to infrastructure breakdowns. Susceptibility to failure persists, particularly as it relates to factories. According to some research information, more than 90% of machines in plants globally are not network-connected, and the vast majority are more than 15-years-old.
Companies within the automotive industry are starting using Industry4.0 to develop data platforms designed to reduce downtime in an industry where every minute counts. Industry 4.0, or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), refers to industrial manufacturing processes where all equipment, devices, and computers are connected. This creates an environment rich for big data analysis and self-correcting procedures, among many other possibilities.
This may seem like a far off future for manufacturers, but the truth is there are concrete examples of Industry 4.0 happening today. The capabilities of IIoT may be closer than people realize.
How to achieve the zero downtime solution
To achieve a great ROI in their manufacturing processes in their facilities, companies make use of different solutions such as monitoring techniques and software or predictive maintenance. Data captured from robots, tooling and other network-connected elements, indicates what is going to fail before it fails, allowing for downtime to be avoided, but also for maintenance to be performed only when it is necessary to production.
Another feature of ZDT (the zero downtime) is real-time process improvements. While this is not yet possible, once enough data is collected from robot performance, the goal is to create a system that diagnoses itself based on minute changes in processes, which can then be adjusted to boost overall efficiency.
Industry 4.0 provides as yet unforeseen benefits for manufacturers. Despite that fact, companies are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in automation and implementing the future of Industry 4.0 today.
The article was written by Oscar González Rodríguez, Electrical & Automation Engineer. Oscar has worked in the Automotive industry since he finishes his studies in 2009 performing a Master in Processes and Technologies in the Automotive Industry in parallel. The original version of this article can be accessed here.