A Smarter Way to Safety

From EHS Today By Dave Blanchard

Companies have long turned to technology to drive their productivity, but the dirty-little-secret nobody likes to talk about is that worker safety often takes a back seat to productivity. That trade-off, fortunately, may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new breed of safety tech. With the emergence of such technologies as robotics, augmented reality, wearable devices and predictive analytics, organizations are discovering that it’s not only possible but preferable to adopt digital technologies that enhance the safety of the workplace.

Some are calling this movement Safety 4.0, a spin-off of Industry 4.0 (aka the Internet of Things). The IoT’s proponents have focused largely on connected devices that can monitor and communicate diagnostic data throughout an entire network, a boon for predictive maintenance on all types of computerized devices, from production machinery to hospital equipment to transportation vehicles. Taking that concept into the safety arena, though, shifts the focus from the machine to the worker. And the possibilities for improving employee safety are limited only by the imagination.

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Future plant design links data, operations

Manufacturers are ready to invest in next-gen digital production.

BY DR. KESHAB PANDA, L&T Technology Service, from www.plantengineering.com 

One of the primary elements in the transformation of the manufacturing plants is the changing nature of demand from the customers. There is sturdy economic impetus toward products that are high on precision, safe to use and safely produced, built to purpose, manufactured with less material consumption throughout the value chain, and environment friendly. While presently manufacturing is focused on productivity and performance, the future will be all about precision products. Manufacturers are supposed to accomplish this without compromising on the speed or quality. This leads to some intriguing questions pertaining to plant design. How will the plant of the future be created and managed? How will data be used for production? How will plants be structured over the next decade?

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Preparing for the New Era of Manufacturing


We’re officially in the fourth Industrial Revolution, also referred to as Manufacturing 4.0. This new era of manufacturing is bringing a lot of technological innovation and advancements, bridging the gap between the physical and digital environments. These advancements are happening through IIoT, the Industrial Internet of Things, which connects machines and devices across various industries including the manufacturing industry.

By 2020 experts predict that spending on IoT will increase to $890 billion in the manufacturing sector, and IIoT will add $14.2 trillion to the global economy overall. This hyper-growth will result in some major changes throughout the manufacturing industry. To keep up with these changes many manufacturers are implementing IIoT initiatives to achieve this digital transformation.

Below are four actions you can consider as a manufacturer when planning for this new era of manufacturing:

Examine your unique business requirements – by examining and understanding your unique business and technology requirements you can develop a successful IIoT strategy. You should consider the fundamentals of your hardware, if the hardware can support new software and services, and whether or not new services need to be provided by an outside party. When taking all of this into account you can make more informed and intelligent plans.

Understand your business priorities and challenges – examine your company’s top priorities for your digital initiatives and identify any obstacles. Limit the focus to more meaningful objectives rather than just revenue.

Make the build versus buy decision – consider whether your company’s digital initiatives can be achieved internally, or if you will need support from an outside industry specialist. Carefully examine whether the company has the in-house resources to achieve these new digital initiatives internally. Simply speaking with an industry specialist could provide important insight and help answer any questions.

Plan for an ecosystem – Manufacturing 4.0 is here to stay and technological advancements aren’t slowing down. Updating your digital strategy is important, but it will likely need to be done repeatedly as the industry continues to advance. Companies need to plan for that, this isn’t a one-and-done project. Plan to continually evolve with the industry.

Understanding these four key steps will help guide you on your journey to digital transformation as a manufacturer. The best way to keep up in this fourth Industrial Revolution is to properly execute your new IIoT initiatives.

For more advice to consider when planning for this new era of manufacturing read the full article here.  

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