How the Smart Factory is Revolutionizing Manufacturing

How the Smart Factory is Revolutionizing Manufacturing

The first industrial revolution completely changed global commerce and raised the standard of living for millions in the west.

Thanks to changing technology and growing innovation, we now find ourselves in a fourth industrial revolution,. This has enabled even more precise manufacturing processes that allow for cheaper production and higher paying jobs.

The fourth industrial revolution can be defined as the inter-connectivity of digital IT, physical manufacturing, and enterprise management into a holistic ecosystem. What the fourth industrial revolution has primarily provided is the invention of the connected, smart factory. Here, we’re going to discuss what the smart factory is and how it’s revolutionizing manufacturing.  

What’s the Smart Factory?

The smart factory takes automation and digital IT to a whole other level, integrating internet of things (IoT) technology with operations technology (OT) to completely connect and track every component of the manufacturing process. This extends from inventory tracking of conveyor systems all the way to the equity decisions fiduciaries make based on this information.  

You may already be familiar with this concept as Tesla has built its own fully automated smart factory. Walmart and Amazon have also experimented with developing their own versions of the smart factory to improve their bottom line.

Smart factories self-optimize based on a steady stream of data. This means that it can fix broken conveyor systems on the fly to scheduling deliveries. The five main components that define a smart factory are:

  • Connectivity

  • Agile

  • Transparency

  • Proactive

  • Optimized

Benefits of the Smart Factory

The smart factory comes fully automated, meaning that it can self-optimize and essentially run itself using bots and SaaS applications. This includes everything from accurate inventory tracking to quality assurance tests before products make it to market.

In the long-run, this creates better service leading to higher customer satisfaction. This also saves manufacturers money from mistakes that were commonly made from manual data entry. Data drives decisions and smart factories provide senior level management with the information necessary to make informed decisions that ultimately benefit the company.

An agile factory is also faster, decreasing downtime and ensuring products always get shipped on time. With 24/7 fully automated production, businesses can save money on labor and ultimately provide more competitive pricing.

The fourth industrial revolution threatens to completely shake up manufacturing and commerce. How people will respond remains to be seen.