Connected factories are a manufacturing trend that has gained momentum in recent years. As the cost of IoT sensors and other advanced technologies continues to decline, and as more companies adopt Industry 4.0 practices, this practice will become more prevalent. Let’s learn more about connected factories and the roles of Epicor Kinetic (ERP) and Advanced MES in these innovative settings.
Definition of Connected Factories
Connected factories, also known as smart factories, are manufacturing facilities that use advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and automation to create a more connected and integrated environment. These technologies enable the real-time monitoring, analysis, and control of manufacturing operations, improving efficiency, productivity, and quality.
In a connected factory, various devices, machines, and systems are connected through a network, allowing them to share data and communicate. This data can be collected and analyzed in real-time to provide insights into the performance of the manufacturing process, enabling manufacturers to make informed decisions to improve their operations.
Integral Components of Connected Factories
Connected factories typically feature a range of advanced technologies, including:
- IoT sensors: These tools are placed on machines and devices to collect data on performance, usage, and maintenance needs.
- Big Data analytics: These tools can analyze large amounts of data collected by IoT sensors to provide insights into the manufacturing process and identify opportunities for improvement.
- AI and machine learning: These technologies can analyze data to identify patterns, predict outcomes, and optimize processes.
- Automation: Automation technologies such as robotics can perform repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of errors.
Epicor Kinetic and Connected Factories
Epicor Kinetic (ERP) supports connected factories by providing real-time data between the top and shop floor, including production/ material planning, inventory information, and MES collection station data. Afterward, Epicor Kinetic can help manufacturers optimize their operations, such as:
- Predictive Maintenance: Epicor Kinetic can help manufacturers predict when machines are likely to break down, allowing them to perform maintenance before a failure occurs. This function can reduce downtime and improve productivity.
- Inventory Management: Epicor Kinetic can help manufacturers optimize their inventory levels by providing real-time data on stock levels and usage rates. As a result, manufacturers can avoid stockouts and reduce excess inventory.
- Production Planning: Epicor Kinetic can help manufacturers plan their production schedules based on real-time data, ensuring they can meet demand while minimizing downtime.
- Quality Assurance: Epicor Kinetic can help manufacturers monitor the quality of their products by collecting data on production processes and product testing.
Overall, Epicor Kinetic’s support for connected factories enables manufacturers to operate more efficiently and effectively, reducing costs and improving productivity.
Epicor Advanced MES and Connected Factories
Epicor Advanced MES (Manufacturing Execution System) aims to support connected factories by providing real-time data collection, analysis, and reporting capabilities. By using sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other devices accessible online, for example, businesses can collect data on everything from machine performance to inventory levels.
Here are some areas where Epicor Advanced MES can enhance connected factories’ performance:
- Real-time data collection: The system collects data in real time from machines, sensors, and other devices on the factory floor, allowing manufacturers to monitor production and identify bottlenecks or issues.
- Data analysis: The system uses data analytics to identify patterns and trends in production data, enabling manufacturers to optimize their production processes and improve efficiency.
- Workflow automation: The system automates workflows, eliminating manual data entry and reducing errors and delays in production.
- More effective collaboration: The system allows different teams and departments to collaborate and share data, enabling faster decision-making and improved coordination across the factory floor.
- Higher visibility: The system provides real-time visibility into production processes, enabling manufacturers to track and manage their production processes more effectively.
To sum up, Epicor Advanced MES helps manufacturers to create a connected factory environment where data is shared in real-time across the factory floor, enabling better decision-making and improved production processes.
Please contact us for a compact solution to set up or strengthen your connected factories!