Companies are always facing challenges and they never operate in a certain environment. Whether uncertainty in how future regulations might affect the business, or uncertainty about what competitors are doing and how they are conducting their business, or even uncertainty about what the future brings in regards to technology and the challenges that brings, not to mention the changes brought forth by globalization and the continuous innovations, companies will always face problems and will always have to find new ways of adapting to the new and changing environment. That is, even more, the case today, when the pace of technological improvement is running at an exponentially increasing rate.
By all means, manufacturing has never been more competitive or more dynamic. The need for digital transformation is greatly increasing, along with companies’ resilience to disruptions and the focus on greater adaptability and agility. Yet, even more, important for the long-term future of the industry, is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business and supply-chain by means of determining manufacturing companies to perform better on the factory floor with all their stakeholders. As such, the most competitive and successful companies will continuously improve their strategies that have an impact on both performance and quality.
Nowadays, we are in the midst of a significant transformation with respect to the way products are being produced thanks to the digitization of manufacturing, big data, and data analytics.
Compared to the other industrial revolutions, the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0 brought a tectonic transformation in the world today, becoming also one of the most talked-about industrial business concepts in recent years. It utterly refers to the digital transformation of manufacturing/production and the related industries, not to mention the value creation processes.
Specifically, Industry 4.0 designed to respond to the new normal of manufacturing, makes use of modern smart technology such as machine-to-machine communication (M2M) also called the Internet of Systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT) integrated in such a way as to increase automation, boost communication and self-monitoring as well as the production and development of new smart machines that can limit the need for human interventions.
In short, Industry 4.0 brings to the forefront new solutions that help revolutionize and create a difference across the value chain, clearly outlining the ultimate benefits of digital adoption with digital initiatives. Industry 4.0 is about the compelling transformations taking place in the way goods are produced as well as delivered to the ultimate user – steering a course towards industrial automation and the flexible factory.
While many manufacturers are still in denial of how Industry 4.0 can impact their business, others are struggling, to find the right talent necessary to best adopt it for their exclusive use. However, there are also companies that have managed to adopt Industry 4.0 successfully. Here are five companies leading this fourth Industrial revolution.
5 Manufacturing Companies Which Succeeded in Industry 4.0
With customers such as Nokia, MTEK is a software and robotics solutions company with the mission of simplifying and accelerating the adoption of Smart Factory, IoT, and Industry 4.0 principles by developing and deploying solutions for real-time intelligent and collaborative manufacturing.
The company’s special focus is on the electronics industry. MTEK offers the MBrain software which among many other things combines production and machine data over the digitalized assembly line with increased performance as a result. MBrain can help define how often data should be accessed having the capability of handling up to 1,500 messages per second. Moreover, MBrain can be integrated with either ERP or MER systems to secure data consistency and boost operational efficiency. This, in turn, enables the production team to be more flexible and more responsive to custom-made and changing demands. Additionally, users are offered the ability, by means of the MBrain, to use pre-defined performance dashboards to get real-time insights on how their processes are performing.
Besides these, a digital representation of the factory can be built which determines in real-time observations of how the process is performing while also giving users the possibility to access reports directly by means of analyzing and predicting outcomes. In addition to these, a simple and clear overview of the manufacturing orders released to production can be provided, as well as what is upcoming. Also, the production flow across various workstations in order to see the utilization and ongoing activity can be followed. This does not only help identify where bottlenecks in the production are but also verify the overall progress.
- Manufacturing made simple -
Founded in 2018, Bright Machines is a software and robotics company with applications focusing on automation for the electronics manufacturing industry. The company leverages technology advantages in computer vision, machine learning, cloud computing, and adaptive robotics in order to radically change the scalability, flexibility, resilience, and economics of the manufacturing industry.
With today’s focus on the back end of production – assembly, testing, and inspection - the company’s ambition is to apply its software-defined approach to a platform by means of automating the entire production line. Bright Machines helps customers innovate faster, to meet the growing demands of the new era of manufacturing. With over 450 team members located in different countries around the globe, Bright Machines is led by software and manufacturing veterans with decades of experience in building and leading profitable companies throughout the world.
- A better way to manufacture products –
Everything started in Baltimore, Maryland, when two men passionate about technology have teamed up in 2016 and developed their ideas. In short, they wanted to develop software that could power industrial robots with an easy-to-use dashboard that would enable even small and medium-sized manufacturers to get the productivity benefit of robotic arms.
Hence, the company’s focus has always been on building accessible robotics solutions for manufacturers. It empowers manufacturers of all business sizes to become more competitive by means of using READY Robotics’ intuitive-to-use and easy to control industrial robotic software called Forge. This operating system allows workers without any robotics background or programming experience to easily program the robots. Also, the Forge suite of products requires minimum installation efforts. More importantly, forge operating systems can plug and play with the variety of robot manufacturers which allows plants that have a mix of robots to operate them through one dashboard.
In a nutshell, READY Robotics helps manufacturers solve their labor challenges, boost output, improve quality, reduce costs, and augment their workforce through automation.
- Unlocking manufacturing productivity –
With leadership from Yahoo, Tesla, IBM, and Apple, including also team members from Slashdot, Sight Machine intermixes the spirit of Silicon Valley technology innovation with rock-solid Detroit manufacturing. The category leader for manufacturing analytics, Sight Machine helps companies make better and faster decisions about their operations. The Sight Machine’s analytics platform enables users to quickly visualize, compare, and analyze data models created by the artificial intelligence data pipeline. It thus helps companies address critical challenges in quality and productivity throughout the entire enterprise. That is, Sight Machine allows companies to gain real-time visibility and actionable insights for every part, line, machine as well as a plant during the whole of a manufacturing enterprise. Manufacturers are hence given the feasibility of using all of their data regardless of where or in what format this is created. This is done thanks to an automated and systematic data intake process that has the function of acquiring, refining, and contextualizing data, creating in this way a digital twin of each part and process.
- Making manufacturing stronger, sustainable, and resilient –
Founded in 2014 in California with the vision to unlock the boundless potential of IoT and Machine Learning for the greater good of society and the environment, GEM is a team of dedicated individuals passionate about improving the experience, productivity, quality, and security of enterprises and individuals all over the world. In short, GEM specializes in providing IoT, analytics, and machine learning platforms and solutions for the manufacturing industry, with particular emphasis on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and predictive maintenance. GEM's flexible platform enables the full span from lowest cost Software to advanced Hardware-accelerated Agents at the edge, while also enabling additional Complex Event Processing and storage onsite in the Fog, in the Cloud, or in a Hybrid deployment. The company is on the mission to create world-class products and services that provide both enterprises and users with mission-critical data, insights, and decision-making tools enabling cost reduction and revenue growth through optimization via the use of IoT and Machine Learning.
- Enabling operation efficiency -
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are rapidly developing all over the world, and today more and more manufacturing companies make predictive analytics, data management, deep learning, business intelligence, advanced analytic, cloud-based solutions, and other IoT technologies its competitive advantage.
The total volume of investments companies make in the IoT market, including the cost of equipment, software, services, and communications, is increasing each year.
In a highly competitive environment, industrial companies tend to improve the cost efficiency, manufacturing process, and supply chain. IoT technologies are able to provide significant economic benefits by transforming them into smart factories.
All this creates a fertile ground for the rapid growth of IoT start-ups. Those start-ups develop and deploy solutions for each manufacturing level. Starting from the lowest one they offer solutions and communication systems maintaining the interaction between individual components. For the middle one, there is smart factory equipment with integrated sensors enabling real-time production process monitoring. And for the highest level, there are cloud solutions that process incoming data using deep analytics and, in fact, manage the enterprise in real-time.
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