Manufacturing is a complex and competitive industry at the best of times, so needless to say that the world events of the last few years have only compounded this. Today, many manufacturers find themselves dealing with margins coming under attack, energy and raw material costs skyrocketing, and factory gate prices not keeping pace.
So what can manufacturers do to overcome these challenges and maintain competitiveness? This article looks at the role digital, smart technologies can and are playing to increase manufacturing productivity.
Manufacturers are turning to digital, smart technologies to increase productivity
Even with the added economic pressures to overcome, manufacturers find themselves having to invest in order to maintain their position in the market. For many manufacturers though, this current climate has changed the type of investment being made. In a recent survey by MakeUK, 74% of manufacturers who responded said that the biggest factor when deciding whether to invest is if it would improve productivity.
Furthermore, 70% stated that Return on Investment (ROI) was another critical factor. Regardless of the investment being £1,000 or £100,000, it should positively affect profit.
These figures show that manufacturers are no longer simply looking at buying a new machine, that perhaps once would have been seen by many as the answer to increasing productivity/production capacity.
Instead, manufacturers are turning to digital, smart technologies that can have a much more immediate impact on their production processes.
This is backed up by the MakeUK survey that also found that over two-thirds of respondents said that past investments in digital technologies had paid off and left them better able to cope with the current challenging economic conditions.
While some 58% said they were able to move quickly and provide new critical components where needed and a further 40% said it helped their factory increase productivity by streamlining processes using powerful big data analysis tools.
How smart technology can Target production pain points to increase manufacturing productivity
When looking to increase productivity on the factory floor, the first places to look are the areas where there are inefficiencies that could hinder production capacity. But the only way to identify those inefficiencies is by collecting relevant information and data from the production machines, something that smart technologies like FourJaw's machine monitoring platform is enabling manufacturers to take advantage of.
FourJaw’s machine monitoring platform is designed to drive manufacturing productivity by identifying the main reasons for machine downtime, which in turn can be used by manufacturers to take corrective action to improve production processes that will lead to improvements in productivity, production capacity and ultimately profitability.
The accessible and affordable Industry 4.0 plug-and-play MachineLink hardware combined with FourJaw's cloud-based web application delivers usable machine data almost instantly, analyses that data and then presents the appropriate people with insights on which machines are running at capacity and, importantly, which are not and why.
This is done in real-time when the machine monitoring platform identifies when a machine stops running, prompting the machine operator to input the downtime reason on the FourJaw tablets conveniently located next to the production machine.
By targeting the biggest pain points on a factory floor, manufacturers can use the machine data provided by FourJaw to make informed decisions that have a positive effect on production processes.
British Manufacturer increases production capacity by 65% after investing in machine Downtime Monitoring software
For a lot of manufacturers, the first instinct is to invest in new machines and equipment to help increase efficiency. In many cases, with the right information at their fingertips, those businesses can significantly improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) without having to invest in new kit, simply by tapping into the capacity of their existing machinery.
Birmingham-based manufacturer, Armac Martin took the decision to invest in smart technology, in the form of FourJaw's machine monitoring platform, to enable them to understand their machine utilisation and identify where productivity gains could be made.
The technology has already delivered a number of benefits, including:
- 14% uplift in machine utilisation, they can now make 65% more products in the same timeframe
- The machine data gave Armac Martin the confidence to sell existing machines that weren’t being utilised and they bought new machines to improve their capacity
- Changed production model to focus on their own products
- Machine utilisation has driven behaviour changes that have positively impacted operator habits.
FourJaw Machine Monitoring, Smart technology that drives manufacturing productivity and generates an ROI
We know that no financial controller worth their salt would sign off on any sort of investment without knowing what the return on investment will be.
As well as enabling near-instant productivity gains on the factory floor, FourJaw's smart technology does not have any large upfront costs, meaning that it is accessible to manufacturers of all sizes.
There are three price plans, which are available as either a rolling contract or as a 12-month annual plan, which attracts a discount if paid annually.
If you are ready to see how FourJaw can help reduce inefficiency, improve productivity and deliver a return on investment in your factory, get in touch with us today for a no-obligation product demonstration.