Coronavirus fell upon us without warning, and no doubt it will leave a mark on the world. The same thing will happen to the manufacturing Industry.
If we treat pandemic influence on the production continuity as symptoms of sickness, we can identify technologies that can work as a cure. Creating a cure and a vaccine while also introducing Industry 4.0 tools into production ecosystems can help to pass these hard times without much harm to business, and also can prevent similar distress in the future. Restrictions and recommendations were introduced to assure people's safety. This affected factories' operation on a few levels. With a wide portfolio of PTC products and our extensive experience, Transition Technologies can help the industry to fight the consequences of this pandemic in the era of limitations.
Staff availability and competency distribution is an accustomed way to deal with maintaining production continuity by keeping the whole team of local experts close to the production floor or located nearby external companies with resources. As a result of social distancing, the local maintenance team has been reduced to only several on-duty engineers and external companies have limited their travel. All technologies to provide the most efficient remote expert access are appreciated.
1. ThingWorx as an IoT platform aggregates the most important data for each staff member. It can help to make decisions from home, according to the state of the machine's Digital Twin and provide access to all related data from various sources (as PLCs, I&C, SCADA, MES, and ERP…).
2. Augmented (or assisted) Reality solutions like Vuforia Chalk and Vuforia View are ways to easily store and pass expert knowledge while Vuforia Expert Capture helps to boost local staff competency. With a gathered expertise library, interactive training/manuals, and remote support, even inexperienced engineers can conduct advanced maintenance tasks.
There are also restrictions on components access and goods delivery. Inactive distribution centers, limited supply of raw materials and components for production and maintenance, suspended service visits, or even completely closed borders for the flow of supplies and spare parts, can cause disruptions in the functioning of the complex organisms like manufacturing plants. Warehouse space in today’s factories has often been kept to a minimum, based on a proven supply chain and sub-supplier response time. How can you deal with that in times of strict limitations?
1. Instead of preventive replacement of parts following the repair calendar (Preventive Maintenance), Predictive Maintenance may be the right approach. All sensors built-in machines or added as an add-on can let the maintenance team know if and when (in some defined time-frame in advance) the part needs to be replaced. You will never again replace a perfectly good part, that could work for a few more months, and never again be surprised by unplanned breakdown due to part that is worn out. ThingWorx with Manufacturing Apps can help to make decisions about the optimal time for the maintenance works.
2. With ThingWorx Analytics, Predictive Maintenance is easier. Complex AI algorithms can help predict malfunctions in advance and also recommend changes in operation parameters to postpone the problem. Reduced speed or load can lead to extended part lifetime and help maintain operations until a convenient time to repair. Also, the calculation of melting subparts stock can be analyzed and, in conjunction with active orders, may recommend postponing one order to minimize losses by fulfilling others on time.
Plenty of other risks can be solved with combined products from the PTC portfolio with expertise of long time partners like Transition Technologies PSC. Each customer can expect an individual approach and the solution customized to their exact needs and requirements.
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