New “smart factories” will require a high degree of digitization and real-time data. RFID, sensors and other industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies will enable this new level of visibility.
As interest in creating “smart factories” increases, manufacturers are turning to the industrial internet of things (IIoT) to improve factory efficiency and prevent machine failures. This will require a high level of automation and increased visibility enabled by RFID, sensors, and other technology. The ability to “see” the entire production process and adjust or control it remotely is a key part of Industry 4.0 – a concept for the future of manufacturing that includes interoperability, information transparency, decentralized decision making, and connectivity.
A recent analysis by CB Insights found that the average factory is only working at 60 percent of their theoretical capacity, so there is significant room for growth when it comes to the adoption of Industry 4.0 best practices and technology. According to the report, industrial digitization will enable predictive maintenance and “true predictive intelligence.”
However, this will require an investment in new technology and new levels of digitization at every step in the production process. These operational technologies (OT) include IIoT, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, intelligent control systems (ICS), programmable logic controllers (PLCs), 3D printers, and other machines that are connected to each other and to the network.
RFID is an important part of the emerging IIoT solutions that rely on edge computing. By combining RFID and sensors at the point of activity with new artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics capabilities, companies can not only receive input from machines in real time, but also respond to that information and adjust production accordingly.
We expect to see strong growth in this “edge analytics” sector over the next few years. (You can read our previous blog on the topic here.) The use of high-memory RFID tags (like Xerafy’s Micro X II) that can store information about associated parts and equipment can further enable this type of application.
Slovenian auto parts maker TPV Group is using Xerafy’s Roswell tags for this type of manufacturing application. The closed-loop, work-in-process (WIP) tracking system has improved visibility of the production process through RFID tags attached to product carriers that hold parts as they put through a number of different production processes.
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