Bringing Shop Floor to Manufacturer's palm: Smart Factory Solutions for tomorrow
By: Asia Business Outlook Team
The country has witnessed rapid adoption of digitization. The pandemic has been one of the key drivers for the adoption of this Industry 4.0 concept. In a recent interaction, asafumi Himeno, Divisional Managing Director, Panasonic Smart Factory Solutions India shared his insights on the biggest impact that Shop Floor Transformation can bring in the manufacturing industry.
1. Shopfloor transformation has always been on the radar for manufacturers. What are the latest driving factors for the transformation?
Over the last 5-7 years, the country has witnessed rapid adoption of digitization. The pandemic has been one of the key drivers for the adoption of this Industry 4.0 concept. Additionally, with the advent of new-age technologies such as 5G, IoT, AI to name a few, we can expect more investment towards manufacturing process digitization to meet the growing industrial demands of India. Panasonic is heralding the implementation of digitization. We are manufacturing and selling Digitally Controlled welding machines, Arc Welding Robots system,SMT (Surface Mount Technology), to cater to the demand of diverse sectors. The facility also offers smart manufacturing solutions propelled by the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), industrial robots, and process automation in the manufacturing plants. Further, we recently launched our Indigenous plug-and-play industrial IoT platform - Miraie Profactory solution for machine and plant management. The platform provides edge connectivity to a wide range of industrial machines (including legacy or new-age machines) from different manufacturers. It is a significant step towards advancing manufacturing to the digital frontier.
2. Pertaining to the fact that people have always been, and will always be, the most powerful asset. How does digital transformation further empower them for a smart factory?
With manufacturing automation, there are two
major processes on the shop floor: a fully automated process and a process in which people and automation machines operate in harmony. We anticipate that with the progress of digitalization in factories, the requirements and definitions of human resources skills will change in near future. Therefore, the future workforce will need to adapt and learn quickly in order to grow with digital transformation. We are working to strengthen our team to provide such support to clients. Most importantly, we are aligned with our customers and are ready to digitize their factories for the future.
3.What would be the additional technology components that can assist shop floor management to enhance?
There are various challenges for manufacturers. For instance, manufacturers seek an accurate, real-time solution to get a quick grasp of how the production plan is progressing. Furthermore, a quick insight on predictive maintenance would help in operating the unit effectively. To overcome such challenges, Panasonic's Miraie Profactory Platform solution was developed. It provides edge gateway connectivity to a variety of equipment manufacturers. In addition to Panasonic’s welding robots and manual welding machines, injection molding, CNC, to name a few; Miraie Profactory is a cloud-based industrial IoT digital platform service integrated with Edge Gateway. Through Miraie Profactory, manufacturers can connect IoT-enabled machines or legacy manufacturing machines to perform seamless operations. Furthermore, it captures equipment availability, performance, and quality data from the manufacturing floor and contributes to equipment / plant operational efficiency (OEE visualization and maximization).
Therefore, the future workforce will need to adapt and learn quickly in order to grow with digital transformation
Asia Business Outlook Team
4. Looking at the future, what is the biggest impact that Shop Floor Transformation can bring in the manufacturing industry?
End-to-end smart manufacturing solutions like Miraie Profactory will enable manufacturers in the future to monitor, control and analyze the processes of almost any production facility involved in manufacturing. It will enable timely arrival of raw materials from suppliers and strengthening of business activities such as shipping products to retailers and customers. The data generated by these IIoT devices are also useful for predictive analytics. In the future, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will enable manufacturers to better identify and solve problems, improve processes, and predictive maintenance to enhance and maximization of OEE.
In addition, the solution, reduces paper costs, eliminates paperwork, and provides digital, real-time data for quality inspection and efficient production planning, leading to sustainable manufacturing practices and improved profitability.