There is a lot of talk about digitizing industrial plants, and even more about the fourth industrial revolution. But what are the actual innovations and changes to adopt in order to modernize the factory and enter Industry 4.0? Certainly, it is important to add sensors to monitor the production process and invest in intelligent machinery. Productivity can increase enormously thanks to technology.

But there is another passage, which many factories tend to overlook: the interaction of humans with the technology. In this regard, companies can decide to invest in specific software allows the exchange of information and the interaction with machines and software systems.

We understand what it is about and why the role of these tools is central to a more complete Industry 4.0 Industry.

Execution: fundamental support to operational activities

The software we are talking about makes is possible to activate and control the machinery and the software systems thanks to the “Execution” component. Thanks to these platforms, in fact, it becomes simpler to manage production: with a touch on the screen or a click of the mouse, it will be possible to activate certain actions of the machinery, all quickly and intuitively, with the possibility of operating even remotely.

But make sure not to confuse Execution with the automation of the installations. Automation takes care of making the installations operate automatically; Execution instead allows us to perform actions and activate processes on a case-by-case basis.

These software programs are focused on supporting the work of the personnel step by step and to put them in a position to perform their duties in a more flexible, effective and efficient manner.

In addition, by taking maximum advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital transformation of the production environment, these tools directly improve the productivity of the installations.

 

Download our free OEE calculation template: a useful spreadsheet to get the  Overall Equipment Effectiveness value.

 

Collaboration: the union that develops strength

But it doesn’t end here. In order to maximize the benefit of 4.0 technologies, it is crucial to select software that brings additional added value. We are talking in particular about the Collaboration component, which simplifies communication not only been the personnel at all company levels but also between man and machine.

These platforms make it possible to collaborate in the performance of the tasks, they facilitate the sharing of documents, data, and information and speed up interactions. The effect of extensive use of these tools can be truly broad and can enable logics of Extended Enterprise logics, or the remote access to information and control of the processes by all the collaborators (internal and external) involved, always maintaining very high standards of safety.

It is precisely the combination of Execution and Collaboration that creates truly complete and useful software that can be used at any time.

Some real applications

To understand what can be done with the software of this kind, following is a collection of actual uses.

Is the machine overheating and the situation critical? A click by an authorized supervisor will be enough to modify the current procedure or stop the process and limit the damage.

Do I need to check the status of the orders to manage the production process? With a touch on the screen, it is possible to monitor the situation and begin the workflow to start a specific order and coordinate the personnel so that they handle any changes on the work level.

An Alert then notifies me that there is a possible breakdown and we must hurry to resolve it. What do I do? With the same software, I could find tutorials and guidelines from colleagues who have dealth with the same problem in the past (knowledge base)

Or also, do I need to know all the parameters of a piece of machinery in real time? No problem, just ask in natural language, just as if we were writing to a colleague.

Are production materials running out and need to be ordered? It is possible to send a simple message to indicate this, totally coordinated with the logistic processes.

So, as of today, asking a piece of machinery “What is your status?” is not an unimaginable hope but a daily reality in many companies. This is made possible by BOTS, systems that enable the interaction in natural language with software programs and systems, and it is also possible with a tool that, by integrating all the data available, provides the operator with a complete and clear view of the situation.

In order to facilitate the adoption of such technologies, it is paramount for the software to have an optimal User Experience: the operators must be able to use the software with the same ease as they use the most widespread smartphone applications in every day life.

Keethings: a complete platform

Keethings is an Enterprise Collaboration and Execution platform with a single mission: use technology to serve man. With this idea in mind, the platform offers a system that integrates with the whole Technological Stack of the company.

On the one hand, this tool facilitates the work of the personnel it makes it easier to collaborate and work in mobility easier, on the other, it enables a greater control on the entire production process. In addition, it makes it possible to collect important data to be analyzed to improve the quality of the products and reduce waste, both in terms of time and resources.

Improving communication between people and simplifying the interaction between man, machines, and systems: these are the two spheres in which the Collaboration and Execution platforms can have positive effects.

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