Intelligent manufacturing is a thing that cannot be directly introduced into the processes of production. Under smart manufacturing, which is the latest variant of intelligent manufacturing, you first have to integrate numerous technologies and then incorporate them into everyday production operations. Block chain in manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and the industrial internet of things are a few examples of these technologies.
Smart manufacturing- A key aspect
It has to be highlighted that smart manufacturing is not just about automation. All the technologies constitute only an element of the process. An organization can realize the benefits of intelligent manufacturing only when a basic prerequisite is fulfilled. There should be perfect coordination between human capabilities, technologies, and all the sophisticated machines. This aspect of coordination is essential to get the full benefit of smart manufacturing. Sometimes due to lack of this coordination the desired effect of smart manufacturing may be obtained.
Automation and mechanization
Before moving on to other aspects, it won’t be inappropriate to differentiate between mechanization and automation, which is a part of intelligent manufacturing. In many instances, mechanization and automation are mistakenly considered to be synonymous with each other. But, the fact is that there is a major difference between both the terms.
The focus of mechanization is on replacing physical work with various tools, while automation is all about using sophisticated technologies as an alternative to human intelligence. Mechanization and automation reduce/eliminate physical work and mental work, respectively. When industries adopt automation in their activities, plenty of job opportunities get created for people possessing specialized skills.
Difference between traditional manufacturing and intelligent manufacturing
Traditional manufacturing evolved in the phase when the emphasis was only on mass production. The primary goal of factories in those days was to produce goods in huge quantities, irrespective of the demand in markets. But, smart manufacturing takes a more effective approach where it responds to rapidly changing market situations in real-time. There is no need to unnecessarily maintain excess stock. Smart manufacturing utilizes many latest technologies to enhance not just the production process but also the end product.
Uses of smart sensors in intelligent manufacturing
Smart sensors play an extremely crucial role in intelligent manufacturing, for they enable a big improvement in the working of the machines used for production.
- Smart sensors establish connections between varied systems and devices to bring out data. This data assists manufacturers to constantly keep track of performance as well as check the machines. The sensors carry out analysis of many data sets and this again is of immense help to the plants.
- Manufacturing units are now necessitated to slowly phase out scheduled maintenance and replace it with predictive maintenance, for avoiding needless maintenance costs. The usage of smart sensors helps companies to realize this objective, in a relatively simplified way.
- Nowadays, manufacturers have to comply with several environmental and other regulations. For this, many reports need to be regularly generated as proof that the business is conforming to all the related laws. In this context, smart sensors are pivotal. They automatically and accurately record all the details like temperature, humidity, and operational hours and this makes the process of report generation easier.
- Smart sensors are very quick in discovering irregularities in the system and which impact the production. The manufacturers then have no hassles in taking prompt remedial measures.
Drawbacks of intelligent manufacturing
The most striking drawback of intelligent manufacturing is the enormous cost that is involved in implementing it. As things stand now, only large scale organizations having huge volumes of business can afford it. Smaller companies are deterred by the huge financial implications, even though smart manufacturing has several benefits in the long-run. Additionally, the corresponding technologies are too complicated; even a small error could throw a business into a serious crisis.