To increase the productivity of an industrial plants is a challenging task. To face it, you must focus on innovation and speed.

Fortunately, today more than ever, technology supports and guarantees the possibility of innovating more quickly (and simply) than in the past, without necessarily having to sustain significant investments, also thanks to the important tax advantages (super and hyper-depreciation) introduced with the Nuova Sabatini law.

It is the ability to innovate that distinguishes a leader from an imitator.” (Steve Jobs)

 

Which are the right industrial indicators to monitor?  Find out the main ones in our glossary of industrial KPIs!

 

How to win the challenge: 5 ways

Software solutions and hardware technologies together make it possible to increase productivity (more efficiency, fewer errors), to improve the planning and to control industrial plant processes and to raise the level of quality.

1. Collaboration and Execution platforms

Collaboration platforms are easy to introduce in the plant, they don't cost too much and they immediately bring great benefits. As for the Execution platforms, however, integration times are slightly higher, but the added value they bring is worth the effort. By being sure that they both interface with every machine and software system, it is possible to form a communicative and executive bridge between man and machines.

Among the main advantages of these platforms we find the:

  • speeding up and simplifying communication between personnel and machines;
  • sharing of knowledge in order to enhance the know-how of individuals and to increase the overall know-how;
  • simplification of processes;
  • constant monitoring of the plant;
  • guided execution of tasks.

2. Internet of Things (IoT) – Industry 4.0

Sensors, cloud and connectivity of equipment are certainly investments to think about. The use of sensors that are easy to use and install allows you to quickly verify the conditions of the machinery of your industrial plants, as well as to collect data on machinery, processes and conditions. Having and analyzing this type of data allows the scheduling of preventive maintenance activities with significant positive impacts on the system efficiency (measured, for example, through the Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE).

The interconnection also allows the removal of physical barriers and the immediate adoption of measures necessary to respond immediately to any changes or problems of various kinds. Collaboration and execution platforms can meet the need for interconnection and accessibility to all data from a single point.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI)

More than 70% of the data collected in the industrial field is not analyzed, instead from this data it would be possible to gather important information to define actions and strategies. Artificial intelligence, applied to the data obtained thanks to the IoT, allows to speed up the decision making process with positive impacts on quality, maintenance planning and supply chain management.

4. Knowledge base

One of the biggest obstacles to productivity in industrial contexts is certainly the lack of availability of information about carrying out a process or solving an unexpected event. In other cases, however, the necessary information is already present inside the company, but it is the patrimony of the most experienced operators and it is managed in an unstructured way and often under disordered documentation. This means that the access to and the understanding of the necessary information materials is often a time-consuming step that negatively affects the performance of the activity and the productivity.

The solution is the use of knowledge sharing platforms, which allow to draw on the necessary information and to find solutions to problems already dealt in the past that, if properly registered and implemented, can actively and quickly contribute to increasing productivity in any context.

5. Virtual and augmented reality (AR)

The use of virtual and augmented reality can bring considerable benefits both to optimize time and costs and to improve the working conditions of employees. Thanks to the use of devices such as smart glass, the augmented reality allows operators to perform even complex tasks by having both hands free and with the specific work instruction superimposed on the components on which they are working. Virtual reality allows you to train an operator or guide him in the execution of tasks even from long distances, reproducing an environment identical to the operational one. Both reality play an increasingly important role, bringing with them many advantages: lower costs, lower risks, faster processes, higher quality and efficiency.

A key concept: sharing

The goal is certainly to collect the benefits deriving from the fourth industrial revolution according to its context, creating a production system that establishes reality and virtualization (cyber-physical production system, CPPS). The sharing of data and information has a crucial role, especially if it is fast, simple and functional.

Today the need to share experiences and exchange views is greatly simplified by the collaborationplatforms. It will be possible to share real-time data about the progress of the production processes and the status of the machines, any problems or changes to the planning to define and implement processes that guarantee efficiency reducing crossing times and increasing the products "capacity" and quality.

Download our glossary of the main industrial KPIs