Key Stages of a Healthy Supply Chain

A supply chain is a series of links between companies and suppliers for the purpose of producing and distributing a product to a final buyer. This network of links includes various entities such as manufacturers, producers, warehouses, logistics services, distribution centers and retailers. When it comes to supply chain management, a healthy supply chain helps get a product successfully and profitably from the planning phases to the end user in a reasonable amount of time. Healthy supply chains help reduce costs for companies as well as help them stay competitive in the marketplace.

These five stages of a supply chain outline the basics of what it takes to transform raw materials into finished products successfully and profitably.

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Working Corrective Maintenance into an Equipment Maintenance Strategy

There are many different strategies for equipment maintenance that teams can use to help raise and keep the operational availability (OA) up on the production lines. And every one of those strategies comes at a cost. It’s a balancing act between keeping the right number of technical resources on staff, keeping the lines up and running, and of course, keeping profits up.

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A Manufacturing Guide to Reducing Production Waste

This guide by Metrology Parts discusses the importance of reducing production waste in the manufacturing industry. With 40% of industrial waste going straight into landfills, which have proven to have a negative impact on the environment, companies are looking to take responsibility and ensure that they are minimizing waste and doing their part to reduce toxic emissions that threaten the future of our great world. This article discusses affordable ways to reduce the disposal of waste with minimal effects on production, as well as the tools to do so.

With the increase of the human population and a proportional demand for products, manufacturing will continue to grow. Companies that thrive are those that are efficient in operations management by utilizing resources economically. By reducing production waste, good operations management improves operations' efficiency and effectiveness and maximizes its competitiveness. Waste minimization involves minimizing the amounts of inputs, work in progress, and outputs wasted in a business's production process. Working to minimize waste products has a direct impact not only on the company but also has a domino effect on numerous aspects.

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Wireless Technology Benefits for Manufacturing

The next generation of industrial advancement, which is referred to as Industry 4.0, aims to inter-connect and computerize the traditional industries such as automation. The objective in Industry 4.0 is to make factories smart in terms of improved adaptability and resource efficiency, as well as the improved integration of supply and demand processes between the factories.

Wireless solutions have a significant role to play in the transformation to Industry 4.0, because they assist in moving data from point to point. But installing wireless technology alone will not give you a smart factory. There are other factors that need to come into play.

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Manufacturing Sees Benefits with Machine Vision

Machine vision is making major contributions to the manufacturing sector, primarily by providing automated inspection capabilities as part of quality control procedures. Formerly viewed as barcode readers, these systems now use automated cameras and software to monitor products, collect data, check for inconsistencies, scan labels and perform other functions at high-speeds and without the need for worker intervention.

According to the Automated Imaging Association, machine vision encompasses all industrial and non-industrial applications in which a combination of hardware and software provide operational guidance to devices in the execution of their functions based on the capture and processing of images.

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Six Steps Toward the Factory of the Future

The factory of the future represents a transformation from traditional automation to fully connected and flexible systems using streams of data from connected operations. Production environments learn and adjust to new demands. Here is a framework of six key steps to guide you along that journey, regardless of a plant’s current maturity level.

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Industrial Automation Unites the Best of OT and IT

For manufacturing and infrastructure industries with an automation focus, the increasing use of data to drive analytical insights has forced a convergence of traditional operational technology (OT) with information technology (IT), creating a need for more united implementations. In response, commercial advancements in hardware, software, and networking have been adopted into industrial platforms at an increasing rate.

These trends have been driven by available technology and sophisticated end users who want the same flexibility and convenience offered by consumer applications. However, the path to merging OT with IT has had a few bumps and potholes.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) relies on well-coordinated products and performance in the OT and IT realms. For the progressively overlapping roles of OT and IT to be most effective, it is necessary to merge the strengths of OT and IT disciplines. It’s useful to examines what those strengths are, and how a hybrid OT/IT solution approach can become greater than the sum of its parts.


OT and IT seek to expand constraints

A reality is work performed in OT and IT environments are subjected to unique constraints. One key challenge is traditional hardware and software solutions used by OT and IT evolved from different starting points. They are used by distinct groups of people whose objectives and skill sets were not the same. OT and IT specialists often find themselves out of their element when exposed to common tools used by the other group.

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How to Use the True Value of Data

How much is data worth to your business? According to a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), manufacturing companies could save billions by combining their digital records. This article explains the opportunities sharing data creates for manufacturers and the obstacles they may encounter.

While big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the face of industry, BCG and WEF’s research has found they also could produce benefits worth $100 billion for businesses worldwide. This conclusion is based on a survey of 996 manufacturing managers by calculating the savings their various suggestions could bring to manufacturing companies.

Data sharing is considered a viable opportunity by manufacturing managers. Of those surveyed, 72% thought sharing data with other manufacturers would improve operations, while 47% believed optimized assets are the biggest benefit of sharing data more widely. How can this contribute toward billions in savings?

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PLCs Power Industrial Data Integration

Not long ago, the roles of industrial automation devices and systems were a little more straightforward. Most field devices and sensors were relatively “dumb” and were directly connected to controllers, which may have interacted with operator displays, and in rare cases some data may have flowed up to higher level enterprise systems. Today’s smart sensors, clever controllers, and more capable communications have improved upon this scenario, and end users are looking for the best ways to enable the enterprise host systems to access valuable field-level data.

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Artificial Intelligence at the Edge Improves Manufacturing Productivity

Ever since IBM rolled out the world’s first mainframe computer in the 1950s, engineers and manufacturers in information technology (IT) have been pushing the boundaries of possibility through microelectronics and software. However, modern computer capabilities did not surface in the industrial operations technology (OT) space until recently, as machine builders began to realize the benefits IT can provide for efficiency and productivity.

A decade ago, digitalization and advanced analytics in OT environments gave adopters a leg up on their competitors. But today, manufacturers cannot keep up unless they lean on IT advances. These advances address challenges for plants, such as difficulty employing knowledgeable personnel, unexpected equipment failures and lack of operational insights for increasing efficiency.

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