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06 Mar 2023
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Smart manufacturing is a term that is growingly being used these days. The use of technologies like data analytics, artificial intelligence, and IoT characterizes smart manufacturing. All sectors can leverage these technologies as they have wide applications. In this blog, we will take a deeper look at how the manufacturing sector is using them to achieve its goals.


Technologies being used in smart manufacturing


The broad definition of smart manufacturing covers many technologies. Industrial IoT is a technology used to gather data from each component in a manufacturing plant. It helps in having better visibility of the plant. Deployment of Industrial IoT involves embedding sensors in manufacturing machines to collect data on their operational status and performance. Data analytics can be used to improve manufacturing processes. At the core of every technology is Artificial Intelligence. Most manufacturers are realizing how is AI used in the manufacturing industry. AI-powered data analytics helps in taking data-driven decisions in a short time.  


AI is being used to automate processes.


Predictive maintenance, inspection and quality control processes use AI technologies to develop software that can run algorithms. This software is developed using AI technologies like machine learning, semi-supervised learning, supervised learning, unsupervised learning, natural language processing, computer vision and deep learning, among others. The demand for software, especially in predictive maintenance and quality control applications, is growing.


Data analytics can be used to make data-driven decisions. 


Decisions in manufacturing have to be based on data. While IoT devices are used to gather data like operational speed, equipment temperature and energy consumption rate, the collected data must be processed and analyzed to receive insights from them. Even banks are realizing the benefits of data analytics in financial services as it helps in making data-driven decisions.


Application of IoT in manufacturing 


IoT is an umbrella term used for connecting devices with the help of the internet. While it is used to connect home appliances, its relevance for the manufacturing sector is growing. Faults in the systems can be detected efficiently with the help of Industrial IoT, thereby reducing any downtime.


Challenges in introducing these tech-based solutions 


While these tech-based solutions can improve the productivity of a manufacturing unit, there are a number of challenges in introducing them. Most of the manufacturing units need to be embedded with sensors as they were not built with the intent of intra-communication. As more devices are connected, it presents a threat of data breach. Reliable data storage is also a big challenge making cloud computing a necessary part of tech-based solutions. 


There is a need for awareness for knowing how is AI used in the manufacturing industry. Companies require a workforce with certain skill sets. Personnel dealing with AI systems should be aware of technologies such as cognitive computing, ML, machine intelligence, deep learning and image recognition, among others. Manufacturers need to reskill their existing workforce and develop, build and train AI systems. Integration of AI solutions into the existing systems is a difficult task, requiring extensive data processing for replicating human brain behavior. 


In spite of the challenges, the benefits of data analytics in financial services and manufacturing have increased the demand for these tech-based solutions. 


The need for partnering with an ICT-based solutions supplier 


A solutions supplier can help a manufacturer realize the goals that it has set for itself. NEC is one of the many ICT-based solutions suppliers that can ensure smart manufacturing. The following ICT-based solutions can be deployed by NEC. 


OTRS – OTRS is a work analysis and optimization software that helps reduce working hours, labour, and cost incurred in production and manufacturing with the help of motion analysis and time analysis of videos. The solution is immediately ready to use after installation. NEC trains the staff in using the solution. 


Industrial IoT platform – NEC industrial IoT accelerates the manufacturing improvement cycle and distributes onsite innovation. It digitalizes manufacturing onsite facts and promotes data utilization for industrial applications. 


SIAT – SIAT uses industrial IoT to gather data in real-time and detect silent faults that can cause system failures 


Asset Location Tracker – Finding high-value assets is possible with the help of this solution. The solution combines network intelligence with artificial intelligence and deep-learning insights to deliver a remarkable user experience, enabling IT organizations to deploy value-added services through automation.


Human Operation Navigation – The solution can help in optimizing human work and improve the productivity of the entire manufacturing site, including production machines. Hands-free data input increases the efficiency of the workers significantly.


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