Scaling, Optimizing & Pivoting with Smart Manufacturing Industry 4.0

Bhagyashri Kambale | January 20, 2022
A smart factory that leverages Industry 4.0 concepts to elevate its operations has long been a model for other industries that are still figuring out how to travel the digital manufacturing route. Smart manufacturing technology is all you need to know if you're looking to cash in on this trend.

“Industry 4.0 is not really a revolution. It’s more of an evolution.”

– Christian Kubis

In this article, we'll look at the advantages that many smart factory pioneers are getting from their smart factories. In addition, we will look at the top smart factory examples and understand how they applied the Industry 4.0 idea and excelled in their smart manufacturing adoption.

Industry 4.0 Technology Benefits

Manufacturing Industry 4.0 has several benefits that can alter the operations of manufacturers. Beyond optimization and automation, smart manufacturing Industry 4.0 aims to uncover new business prospects and models by increasing the efficiency, speed, and customer focus of manufacturing and associated industries.

Key benefits of Manufacturing Industry 4.0 in production include:
  • Improved productivity and efficiency
  • Increased collaboration and knowledge sharing
  • Better agility and adaptability
  • Facilitates compliance
  • Improved customer experience
  • Reduced costs and increased profitability
  • Creates opportunities for innovation
  • Increased revenues

World Smart Factory Case Studies and Lessons to Be Learned

Schneider Electric, France SAS

Schneider Electric's le Vaudreuil plant is a prime example of a smart factory Industry 4.0, having been regarded as one of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the world, utilizing Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies on a large scale. The factory has included cutting-edge digital technology, such as the EcoStruxureTM Augmented Operator Advisor, which enables operators to use augmented reality to accelerate operation and maintenance, resulting in a 2–7% increase in productivity. EcoStruxureTM Resource Advisor's initial deployment saves up to 30% on energy and contributes to long-term improvement.

Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes, Ireland

DePuy Synthes' medical device manufacturing plant, which started in 1997, just underwent a multimillion-dollar makeover to better integrate digitalization and Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing. Johnson & Johnson made a big investment in the Internet of Things. By linking equipment, the factory used IoT technology to create digital representations of physical assets (referred to as “digital twins”). These digital twins resulted in sophisticated machine insights. As a result of these insights, the company was able to reduce operating expenditures while simultaneously reducing machine downtime.

Bosch, China

Bosch's Wuxi factory's digital transformation uses IIoT and big data. The company integrates its systems to keep track of the whole production process at its facilities. Embedding sensors in production machinery collects data on machine status and cycle time. When data is collected, complicated data analytics tools analyze it in real-time and alert workers to production bottlenecks. This strategy helps forecast equipment failures and allows the organization to arrange maintenance ahead of time. As a consequence, the manufacturer's equipment may run for longer.

The Tesla Gigafactory, Germany

According to Tesla, the Berlin Gigafactory is the world's most advanced high-volume electric vehicle production plant. On a 300-hectare facility in Grünheide, it produces batteries, powertrains, and cars, starting with the Model Y and Model 3. For Tesla, the goal is not merely to make a smart car, but also to construct a smart factory. The plant's photographs reveal an Industry 4.0 smart factory with solar panels on the roof, resulting in a more sustainable production method. On its official website, Tesla claimed to use cutting-edge casting methods and a highly efficient body shop to improve car safety. Tesla's relentless pursuit of manufacturing efficiency has allowed them to revolutionize the car industry.

Haier, China

The SmartFactoryKL was established to pave the way for the future's "intelligent factory." It is the world's first manufacturer-independent Industry 4.0 production facility, demonstrating the value of high-quality, flexible manufacturing and the effectiveness with which it can be deployed. The last four years, SmartFactoryKL has been guided by particular strategic objectives that drive innovation; the aim is to see artificial intelligence integrated into production. Two instances of AI-driven transformations include an "order-to-make' mass customization platform and a remote AI-enabled, intelligent service cloud platform that anticipates maintenance needs before they occur.

Final Words

Enabling smart manufacturing means using the latest technology to improve processes and products. The aforementioned smart factory examples are industry leaders and are thriving by implementing Industry 4.0 technology. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may use these smart factory examples to learn about the adoption process, challenges, and solutions. Industry 4.0 is aimed at improving enterprises and minimizing human effort in general. So adopt the smart factory concept and be productive.


What is the difference between a smart factory and a digital factory?

The digital factory enables the planning of factories using virtual reality and models, whereas the smart factory enables the operation and optimization of factories in real time.

Where does Industry 4.0 come from?

The term "Industry 4.0" was coined in Germany to represent data-driven, AI-powered, networked "smart factories" as the fourth industrial revolution's forerunner.


Amperex Technology Limited ATL

In 1999, Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) was founded in Hong Kong. Its Global R&D and Operation Center is located in Ningde, Fujian Province, meanwhile, the other branches are based respectively in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Dongguan, Xining, Munich and Silicon Valley, etc.


How Manufacturing Digitalization Benefits Businesses in 2022

Article | December 14, 2021

The manufacturing industry has evolved to new heights of innovation, productivity, and excellence with digital transformation. Manufacturing digitalization has made operational procedures more skilled, accurate, and time-savvy. “Many companies simply are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology; consumer demands, the way we work, human needs and much more are constantly changing.” Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive (Manufacturing) at Microsoft With a CAGR of 19.48 percent between 2021 and 2026, the digital transformation in the manufacturing market is expected to reach USD 263.93 billion by 2026. Manufacturing plants adopt digital technology to improve, automate, and modernize processes as part of Industry 4.0. So, what are the key benefits of digitalization for manufacturers? This article will elaborate on the top five benefits of digital manufacturing transformation. How to Define Digital Manufacturing? Manufacturing digital transformation involves integrating digital technologies into processes and products to improve manufacturing efficiency and quality. Manufacturing's digital transformation aims to increase operational efficiency and reduce expenses. The digital transformation techniques ensure product quality. It also makes work more efficient, safe, and stress-free. What Is Included in Manufacturing Digitization (Industry 4.0)? Industry 4.0 is the digitalization of manufacturing. Cyber-physical systems, IoT, and cloud computing are current trends in manufacturing automation and data exchange. Connected devices, cloud computing power, and the modern emphasis of lean, efficient operations enable Industry 4.0 to construct advanced and innovative smart factories. Industry 4.0 includes design, sales, inventories, scheduling, quality, engineering, customer and field service. Five Benefits of Digital Transformation in Manufacturing Manufacturing organizations can benefit from digitalization in a variety of ways. It can help make the work more efficient, decentralized, and secure. It further creates new business opportunities and attracts new talent to the industry. Additionally, integrating products into a digital ecosystem increases their value and appeal. Let’s dig deeper into each of the five key benefits. Reduces Costs Technology is an invaluable companion in reducing the manufacturing company's expenses in the future. The incorporation of digital technology results in the transformation of procedures and the digitization of documents, resulting in overall process optimization. Therefore, a reduction in labor costs might be expected as a result of the elimination of unnecessary expenditures. Additionally, digitization enables businesses to assess and estimate expenses considerably more precisely, ensuring that budgets stay on track. Additionally, it eliminates andsubstitutes inefficient jobs within processes, significantly increasing their efficiency. This efficiency is translated into time savings, which results in a substantially more cost-effective manufacturing process. Decentralized Production Manufacturing digital transformation allows organizations to supervise manufacturing remotely, allowing production to continue uninterrupted. In rare cases like Covid-19, digitalized businesses have not had to cease or even slow down production. These systems can work without interruptions for much longer than any worker. Digitalization also boosts methodology flexibility and reactivity. For example, if a production plant has a problem, an automatic alert is generated, and the issue is resolved regardless of the day, time, or presence. Improved Operational Efficiency Smart product connectivity allows devices to connect and communicate with each other (M2M). This connectivity enables decentralized decision-making. Many duties no longer require an employee to be physically present. New manufacturing and production models minimize boring, risky activities while increasing accuracy, efficiency, and responsiveness. Transforming businesses through digital means making better decisions based on real-time data. Training, changes, and repairs are no longer issues due to reduced frequency and automation. New Business Opportunities New digital technologies enable the manufacture of previously unviable products and services, generating new revenue streams. Also, new services (innovation or reorientation) are launched considerably faster. Companies may utilize big data and AI to experiment, anticipate trends, and predict about new advancements. These technologies can help organizations become more eco-friendly and create products that are less detrimental to our environment. Attracts New Talent Professionals with fundamental talents in this complicated and disruptive environment are drawn to digitalizedorganizations that are up-to-date with trends and processes. Also, if the change is managed well, it will lead to higher profitability, increasing employee satisfaction. Human motivation, along with excellent digital technologies, will reflect in the company's production and profitability. Dusseldorf@Germany: The Deloitte Digital Factory The digital factory in Dusseldorf provides a flexible setting for innovative workshops and training, bringing together the old and new worlds of supply chain and industrial operations to provide a seamless experience. Specific use case examples, as well as the digital solutions sector, will motivate and encourage businesses to get on their digital transformation journeys, making use of the most up-to-date technologies in the process. Final Words Manufacturing digitalization has a lot to offer the industry, and many manufacturers are capitalizing on this new phase of the industrial revolution by incorporating cutting-edge technologies into manufacturing and business operations. As said previously, the benefits of digital transformation in the manufacturing business are increasing the importance of digitalization in the industry. Transform your traditional manufacturing operating processes with these new manufacturing trends and observe the results that other benefitting manufacturing businesses have achieved. FAQ Why is digitalization vital in manufacturing? Manufacturing process digitization improves overall business performance. But the results are seen across the factory. Digital transformation improves working conditions for employees and streamlines daily operations. How are digitization and digitalization different? Digitalization is a transformation of data and processes. Digitalization is the use of digital technologies to collect data, identify patterns, and make better business decisions. How digital technologies are applied in manufacturing? Digital manufacturing technologies enable the integration of systems and processes across all stages of production, from design to production and beyond.

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Predictive Maintenance in Manufacturing: What, Why, and How?

Article | March 14, 2022

Predictive maintenance analytics is a type of maintenance that frequently monitors an asset's health. This timely maintenance or monitoring of assets or machines reduces unexpected breakdowns and allows manufacturers to plan around their production schedule. “Even the best-built machines need proper preventive maintenance to remain productive and reach their maximum working life.” - PMI (PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE INSPECTION) Predictive maintenance methods and software have evolved. Companies no longer need to import data into spreadsheets and extract insights manually. Businesses can now effectively estimate maintenance tasks using AI and machine learning algorithms in predictive maintenance systems. Robots and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are also generating more data than ever before, helping manufacturers be more insightful in their operations and processes. Why Should Predictive Maintenance Manufacturing Be Considered? The depreciation cost is significant in industries like manufacturing, where the cost of advanced equipment is very high. This makes it important to make sure that the assets of the manufacturing company are well-managed. Using the predictive maintenance model in these situations saves money on multiple levels. Even though there are protocols like lean management and six-sigma, their usefulness is being questioned when it comes to existing business practices. In a world where technology dictates practically every aspect of our lives, it is essential to have efficient procedures powered by cutting-edge technology. In essence, predictive maintenance aims to upgrade asset management using IoT. According to a PwC analysis, manufacturing predictive maintenance Cuts cost by 12% Increases uptime by 9% Extends the life of old assets by 20% Reduces safety, environmental, quality, and health hazards by up to 14% Types of Predictive Maintenance Technologies Vibrational Analysis Acoustical Analysis (sonic) Acoustical Analysis (ultrasonic) Infrared Analysis This is the preferred method for predictive maintenance in high-rotational industrial plants. It is cheaper than other condition monitoring methods because it has been around longer. Vibrational analysis can detect imbalance, misalignment, and bearing wear in addition to looseness. This form of analysis is employed for low-and high-rotating machines. It's popular among lubrication technicians. However, it does not focus on identifying the reasons for rotating equipment failure by measuring and recording vibrations at discrete frequencies for trending purposes. Instead, acoustic bearing analysis targets lubrication technicians and focuses on proactive lubrication. Ultrasonic acoustical analysis is solely used for predictive maintenance. Its ultrasonic detection capability can distinguish between ultrasonic noises of machine friction and stress. This form of analysis is more accurate than vibration or oil analysis. This form of analysis is not affected by an asset’s rotational speed or volume. As a result, it is ideal for a wide variety of asset types. When the temperature is a good indicator of possible problems, infrared analysis is the most cost-effective way to keep things running smoothly before they break down. It is frequently used to diagnose cooling, airflow, and even motor stress issues. How to Apply Predictive Maintenance Analytics in Practice? Management is supplied with ROI scenarios prior to implementing predictive maintenance on the factory floor. Additionally, maintenance personnel and machine operators require training on how to use PdM technology (predictive maintenance). Following this, the true implementation of predictive maintenance equipment begins. Establish Benchmarks The maintenance team establishes acceptable condition thresholds for sensor-equipped assets. Connect Gadgets to the Internet of Things (IoT) The sensor is attached to the asset. A vibration meter, for example, is attached to a mechanical asset through gears, while a temperature sensor is attached to a boiler. Integrate Hardware and Software In this case, the IoT device is connected to a central management system (CMMS) or a remote dashboard, which collects and analyzes data. Establish a Maintenance Schedule Inspections are initiated automatically by a CMMS when a condition limit is exceeded or manually by the person monitoring the dashboard. Predictive Maintenance Example Preventing Power Outages Power outages can be extremely inconvenient for those affected. They can be discovered early and so avoided with predictive maintenance technologies. Sensors would once again be used in this situation to deliver artificial intelligence-based insight into assets. This intelligence-based insight alerts the plant supervisor when equipment is about to malfunction. Manufacturing Supervision Since industrial plants typically contain many expensive assets and valuable equipment, they may invest in infrared imagers to monitor various elements of assets, such as temperature, to avoid overheating. This predictive maintenance technology assists plants in avoiding excessive use of critical equipment, which might result in disruptive breakdowns. Final Word Predictive maintenance is an advantageous tool for larger organizations that have outgrown typical preventative maintenance approaches and have an additional budget. It can generate a positive return on investment, transforming the maintenance department into a source of cost savings and increased revenues. Predictive maintenance has some drawbacks, such as high startup costs and the requirement for specialized expertise. However, it helps to conduct maintenance only when necessary, assisting facilities in cutting costs, saving time, and maximizing resources. Consultation with equipment makers and experts in condition monitoring should be conducted prior to determining whether predictive maintenance is the best approach for specific assets. FAQ Is predictive maintenance cost-effective? Yes. Predictive maintenance saves between 8% and 12% compared to preventive maintenance and up to 40% compared to reactive maintenance, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. What is the difference between predictive and preventive maintenance? Predictive maintenance saves money on labor and materials, whereas preventive maintenance is less expensive to undertake. Moreover, preventive maintenance is scheduled on a regular basis, whereas predictive maintenance is scheduled on an as-needed basis, depending on asset conditions. What is TPM? TPM, i.e., Total Productive Maintenance is a team-based method that focuses on proactive and preventative techniques to increase plant and equipment reliability.

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Cost Optimization in Manufacturing with Digital twin

Article | May 5, 2022

Digital twins appear to be beneficial in cutting expenses for many industries. A growing number of companies in the manufacturing industry, as well as healthcare, oil & gas, and other industries, are using digital twin features to better understand and respond to changing business conditions. Digital twins can be used to save costs at numerous levels or segments of your business. Their use raises awareness of situations and helps businesses make better decisions. This technology has been applied to: Change to standard care and conditional support in the railways Use predictive care to foresee major impacts on the oil and gas industry Monitor patients in real-time to improve comfort and avoid life-threatening scenarios So, how do digital twin solutions assist manufacturers in cutting production costs? Digital twins enable manufacturers to detect early mechanical defects, allowing for faster or cheaper repairs. Companies can save money by adapting to changing circumstances. For example, a corporation may automatically plan repairs to minimize performance impact. Many companies use digital twins to cut expenses in various operating scenarios. In this article, we will look at situations to help recognize the benefits of digital twins. Why Use a Digital twin? Better R&D The adoption of digital twins provides more effective product research and design. It also generates large amount of data about expected performance or results in the process. This data can provide insights that enable businesses to make necessary product refinements before initiating production. Superior efficacy The use of digital twins can be beneficial even after a new product has been put into production. This can help mirror and monitor production processes to achieve and maintain optimal efficiency throughout the whole manufacturing process. Product end-of-life As far as product lifecycle management is concerned, digital twins can assist manufacturers in determining what to do with products that have reached the end of their expected life and require final processing, whether through recycling or other means. They can figure out which product materials can be gathered with the help of digital twins. Cost Optimization in Manufacturing using Digital twin Transportation Cost Optimization Digital twins are commonly employed in high-value rolling commodities like trains to improve fuel efficiency and competitiveness (i.e., predictable repairs). However, in the case of passenger automobiles, cost savings have been recorded (for example, improving security maintenance at passenger doors and train wheels). When switching from conventional to state-based prevention in stock care, the rail transport operator claimed an average 10% savings. Oil and Gas Cost Optimization Companies frequently utilize digital twins to simulate and analyze functions like oil metals, pipelines, and processing plants. Among the business objectives supported by forecasting adjustments, machine learning, and other analyses are an increase in automated excavation or processing processes, a reduction in off-peak hours (FTE), and downtime, and the extension of the life of high-value assets. The oil and gas businesses claimed that historical data forecasts for building repairs had been discovered near a substantial portion of their offshore oil production. This gave them time to lead security operations. They saved a week of unplanned unemployment and production expenditures. In less than a year, their digital investment has returned twice as much as before. Supply Chain Cost Optimization Businesses are increasing their investment in IoT and supply chain monitoring. Utilizing modern supply chain characteristics such as digital twins can assist businesses in achieving enhanced business results. Monitoring the location and condition of high-value assets can assist in identifying anomalies that suggest an increased risk of theft. Additionally, this technology can be utilized to determine the location of assets for the purpose of recovery. While digital twins in many of these circumstances are straightforward – simply a location – in others, the supervised data may include natural characteristics such as the temperature inside the frozen container, generator fuel levels, or ways of detecting asset depletion or interruption. Final Word Is a digital twin necessary for your business? Yes, most certainly. By creating a comprehensive virtual picture of a company's processes, digital twins remove the element of uncertainty from decision-making. According to Gartner, 13% of organizations utilizing IoT already have digital twins in place, while 62% are either implementing or planning to do so. Hence, do not hesitate to deploy a digital twin in your organization, as it is worthwhile to invest in a digital twin that will help you lower overall production costs in the long run. FAQ Why is a digital twin necessary? Digital twins are becoming vital in business. By making a digital copy of the physical assets of a product or service in an industry, digital twins help with data analysis and give people a way to check how things work before they happen. This way, they can develop a solution to any problem before it happens. What data should be in the digital twin model? The concept of the digital twin is based on three unique components: the physical product, the digital/virtual product, and the connections between the two. How much does a digital twin cost? According to some experts’ estimations, the cost of implementing a digital twin is $50,000 or less. Complex processes will necessitate a substantial investment and a lengthy implementation period to model.

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Multi-Channel Inventory Management: A Guide to Assured High Returns

Article | May 18, 2022

Multi-channel selling is a significant component of manufacturing. Modern buyers expect more from their buying experience, and one of them is being able to access different touchpoints to make a purchase. It is a challenge that modern businesses must address. And it all starts with prudent warehouse inventory management. But how can businesses stay ahead of the curve with a complex web of retail, wholesale, ecommerce, and logistics? This is precisely where multi-channel inventory management comes in. Multi-channel inventory management is the process of managing and keeping track of inventory sold from multiple locations through various selling channels. In this article, we will talk about how smart inventory management for a business with multiple sales channel can increase profits when done right. How C-Suites Can Unravel the Complex Web of Multi-Channel Selling When it comes to optimizing and addressing challenges in inventory management, warehouse management software is known to do wonders. But, when a business uses multiple channels to reach out to more consumers, generate more sales, and increase brand awareness, it also merits a holistic strategy. Management at the inventory level is key to fully unlock its revenue potential in a multi-channel marketplace. When C-levels are looking for ways to optimize operations, inventory management presents a massive opportunity. It is possible to solve many bottlenecks using proven strategies and established information and automation best practices. “Continuous process improvement by definition is ongoing. A static value proposition is hackneyed in no time.” Thomas R. Cutler, President and CEO, TR Cutler, Inc. Loss from Overstocking and Phantom Stocks Unoptimized inventory allocation is one of the costliest and most common challenges faced by multi-channel businesses. According to research commissioned by OrderDynamics, businesses worldwide lose over $471 billion from overstocking and $634 billion from out-of-stock orders. As a multi-channel seller, you must ensure that each channel has the corresponding inventory. Not doing so can lead to order cancellations or delays, or unsold stock. All of these can significantly reduce your profit margin. The Solution: Real-time Inventory Visibility Giving your warehouse managers the clarity they need in manufacturing inventory management can tackle the problem of overstocking. In addition, inventory management tools update inventory levels in real-time, so they don’t have to keep a close eye on inventory at every channel. Additionally, a synchronized inventory storage system can also help boost productivity and improve customer experience. Whether you use a periodic or continuous inventory management system, adding automation and integration with other tools will only help in providing clarity and flexibility. Slowdown in Logistics Due to Unoptimized Warehouse Space Distributed inventory is another aspect of multi-channel inventory management that can be used to create more traction and profit. Warehouse space is valuable for multi-channel businesses. With scattered locations and fluctuating demands, it can be difficult to forecast the optimal distribution of inventory across all channels as well as warehouse locations. According to, about 20 to 30% of the inventory in a warehouse is obsolete. This clearly indicates the need to fully utilize storage and eliminate hurdles in warehouse inventory management. The Solution: Supply Chain Forecasting A combination of automation technologies can be used to build a multi-channel inventory management stack. The first is using demand sensing, an automation technology that uses real-time data to identify and anticipate short-term demand patterns. Sporting apparel giant, Nike has used demand sensing to effectively cut down on lead times by weeks. Another technology to consider in optimizing your warehouse space is Multi-Echelon Inventory Management, or MEIO. It has a holistic approach where it performs planning, optimization and forecasting across the supply chain. MEIO is also the answer to the scalability of modern multi-channel inventory management that offers comprehensive visibility and efficient rebalancing of inventory in real-time. Considering that 51% of sellers still lack forecasting software, as per a Zentail survey, the opportunity for C-levels is immense. Final Thoughts: Getting Impressively High Returns When done right, optimizing all aspects of multi-channel order management can yield impressive returns. The use of technology in automation and data analytics makes it easier to decode the complexities of a multi-channel operation. A storage and inventory management system may not have all the answers to the profitability puzzle. It is assured to lead to reduced inventory costs, improved performance of the supply chain network, and better responsiveness. This inevitably creates a powerful revenue generating multi-channel business. Frequently Asked Questions Can my existing ERP work as multichannel inventory management software? ERPs like SAP, Netsuite, or Oracle are designed to manage back-office processes and lack the specialization required to manage ecommerce and wholesale processes. Although they come with integrated solutions, their quality may not be up to the mark. What is the cost of multichannel inventory management software? While inventory management software ranges from free to thousands of dollars, the base price varies as per functionality. Some software services charge extra depending on the scale, volume, and integrations. What are the primary techniques of inventory management? Most manufacturers use three primary techniques to address challenges in inventory management: the pull strategy, the push strategy, and the just-in-time (JIT) strategy.

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Amperex Technology Limited ATL

In 1999, Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) was founded in Hong Kong. Its Global R&D and Operation Center is located in Ningde, Fujian Province, meanwhile, the other branches are based respectively in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Dongguan, Xining, Munich and Silicon Valley, etc.