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What our survey of Smart Manufacturing Magazine’s readers told us

Contributed by: Sciemetric Staff

The right tool, for the right job.

It’s a concept that no doubt dates to the Stone Age, and yet, engineers and managers across the manufacturing industry continue to struggle with it when it comes to harnessing the power of their data.

The reasons are not difficult to fathom. For some, it’s a perception that it will require a costly rip and replace of a legacy system. Others are skeptical that the latest technology will work as advertised. Many spend so much time stomping daily brushfires they’re not even aware a better option exists.

We recently teamed with Smart Manufacturing Magazine on a survey to better understand how their readers are using data collected from the production line versus how they would like to use it, to drive productivity, quality and profitability in their plants.

The current state of data on the manufacturing line

Thirty per cent of respondents said they don’t plan to implement a smart manufacturing/Industry 4.0 strategy for at least 12 months. Almost 55 per cent said they never plan to do so.

That’s about 85 per cent who said they have no immediate plans, or no plans at all, to up their game.

And yet, almost half acknowledged they are dissatisfied, extremely dissatisfied, or simply lack the insight to have an opinion, with how quickly production and quality issues are resolved in their plants.

That’s because they don’t have the means to use their data in the most effective way.

When asked what kind of data analysis tools they would like to have but don’t, about 56 per cent said “drill down to a more granular level to pinpoint root cause.” Another 44.8 per cent chose “use ‘what if’ capabilities to model changes on the line without impacting production.” About a third of respondents selected “overlay data from different sources,” “have web-based access to the data” and “create a full birth history for every part, including every process and test.”

Respondents overwhelmingly said they want the means to get faster resolution to problems, manage production in a more proactive way, quickly pinpoint root cause to minimize quarantines and recalls, address production and cycle time bottlenecks, and analyze and visualize production data to identify trends.

In other words, most people in the industry want the big data insight that comes from investing in smart manufacturing/Industry 4.0 technologies, even if they don’t plan to do so.

How are the majority of respondents using their data? About two-thirds are using only basic results from process and test cycles for pass/fail determinations. Less than 6.5 per cent are using digital process signatures – the gold standard for becoming a truly “smart” plant. In 70 per cent of cases, the data that is collected is not consolidated into a central database for easy analysis and correlation, it resides in multiple databases – stuck in silos around the plant.

Learn how to unlock the power of your data

What does all this survey data tell us? We still have a lot of work to do.

The industry wants the means to collect, integrate and cross-reference more data to generate meaningful and actionable insight. We just need to get the word out that the data management and analytics platforms to accomplish this do exist, can work with existing technologies in the plant, and can be deployed quickly for a rapid return on investment.

You can unlock the power of big data in your plant, and we can help. Learn more about our suite of data intelligence tools for the manufacturing line.