Data-driven manufacturing

Six key process pillars for the future factory

Text: Grant Baldridge

Photo: Magnus Elgqvist

Data-driven manufacturing is redefining tomorrow’s workflows and unlocking new opportunities in quality, flexibility and productivity. Mycronic has defined six key process pillars that will be vital to capturing more value in tomorrow’s most demanding production environments. 

1. Process control

The foundation for process control is a series of sensors that measure the process parameters and perform accurate data collection. This data needs to be refined into actionable information through software analytics and correlation, which increasingly requires AI to interpret the “soft” data. Extensive open APIs will also be required, since process data must be made available to all potential consumers in the factory, not only the machine or process point that collected the data.

2. Production scheduling and line performance optimization

The key challenge will be to reach high levels of performance and utilization while still allowing for a high degree of fl exibility when it comes to ever-changing build schedules and urgent orders. Scheduling and optimization tools must take into account both historical data and a “best guess” future projection. Full visibility of materials, machines and staffing levels is key to creating an optimized, yet robust, build schedule. This will require integration with other key systems in the factory.

3. Quality management

Quality management systems will evolve from the traditional approach of capturing, classifying and recording defects, to the more value-adding approach of predicting and preventing defects. This will require self-learning systems with the ability to anticipate drift, correlate data to create actionable information, and close the loop to prevent defects before they occur. The goal should be to also make the quality system an integrated part of the design process, so that product developers can predict the quality outcome of their design choices.

4. Equipment automation

Automation is not only about reducing manual labor. It is also about improving quality by avoiding human mistakes. However, 100% automation in complex production environments is neither possible nor economically viable, today. A more collaborative approach to automation will be required in the future, where machines, robots and humans work better together to perform assembly tasks, and to verify the result of these tasks.

5. Material handling

Stock accuracy, traceability, and delivery performance are the key aspects of a material handling system. Today, most factories rely on manual handling, often with the support of barcode or RFID systems. But increased automation is required, and in many cases is already ongoing. Many Mycronic customers have already started to invest in robots and AGVs, and Mycronic is actively supporting them by adapting products for robot interaction. We have also invested in an in-house robotics lab in order to be prepared and to better support our customers in this area. We will also see more augmented reality solutions to better guide humans to carry out those tasks that cannot be fully automated.

6. Communication & Connectivity

The future smart factory will require integration on all levels, and in many cases this will require customization. Whether it’s product-to-machine, machine-to-machine and human-tomachine feedback loops or vertical integration to ERP and MES systems, Mycronic has the ability to off er custom-made software integrations in all areas where our solutions play a role. The need for customized horizontal and vertical integration is certain to grow in the future, as manufacturers experience everincreasing demands for transparency. Industry communication standards such as Hermes, CFX and IPC-2581 (Digital Product Model Exchange) will play an important role in this development. Mycronic is supporting and actively participating in the development of these standards.

Bigger challenges. Bigger perspectives.

Interested to learn how bigger challenges is requiring bigger perspectives? Read how data-driven production is redefining tomorrow’s workflows.


Text: Grant Baldridge

Photo: Magnus Elgqvist

Published: 4 November 2019

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