Manufacturing and New Automation Technologies - What is Around the Bend?

Sept. 24, 2020
Predictive analytics, digital twinning, and augmented and virtual reality technologies are all finding uses in manufacturing operations – from line installation and maintenance to process training.

Predictive analytics - which allow manufacturers to monitor machine conditions and identify future problems such as failures or malfunctions - is one area of automation that is expected to grow, according to a new report by PMMI Business Intelligence.

With this technology, sensors keep track of wear and tear on individual machines and can identify when maintenance will be required, allowing manufacturers to proactively plan their machine maintenance schedules to service multiple machines at the same time. Predictive analytics also helps manufacturers avoid emergency shutdowns and downtime.

Digital twinning is one application that is finding new uses in the realm of predictive analytics. Currently, digital twinning is primarily utilized by OEMs to model machine functions and processes before commissioning construction, and it enables manufacturers to calibrate machine parameters to fit into their existing operations.

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About 33% of leading CPGs are currently working with machine builders who are utilizing digital twinning, and there are predictions of expanding this technology to future designs to streamline installations.

Digital twinning technology is also expanding to a larger scale to include an entire line - or even an entire operation consisting of multiple lines – that is recreated in a digital space. The simulation of production processes across the entire line – run in an entirely virtual format – can accurately model line performance and greatly expand the power and scope of standard predictive analytics.

On another front, virtual and augmented reality are two technologies that are just beginning to find applications in the manufacturing space. Manufacturers have found uses for augmented reality (AR) in areas such as maintenance and training guidance for employees working on the plant floor. Augmented reality systems create virtual overlays on real physical spaces, instructing employees on how to complete tasks with imbedded video/audio and digitally rendered alterations to the existing environment.

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Virtual reality (VR) creates an entirely digital world rather than a digital overlay on the existing environment. VR applications have been more limited than AR in manufacturing, but VR is finding uses in areas such as virtually modeling production processes and spaces. In fact, digital twinning is one important VR tool that is beginning to see wider adoption.

To access this FREE report and learn more about automation in operations, download below.

Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, “Automation Timeline: The Drive Toward 4.0 Connectivity in Packaging and Processing”

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