In manufacturing sites' operations, many areas have yet to be digitalized.
Digitalizing these areas is the first step to realizing a smart factory.
With COVID-19 making face-to-face communication difficult,
being able to share information via digital data regardless of time and place has become essential.
Today, the DX (digital transformation) wave is upon us in each field of industry.
One of the objectives of the manufacturing industry as it aims for "Industry 4.0" (the fourth Industrial Revolution), is smart factories.
Through the collection and analysis of a variety of on-site data, smart factories create a more advanced production process.
This is expected to lead to faster decision making in manufacturing plants and the supply chain, as well as the creation of new business.
The first step to making this happen is digitalization of the individual operations at manufacturing sites.
The spread of COVID-19 has significantly impacted manufacturing sites.
To cite some examples, the number of people that can enter and work at sites has been limited, which has resulted in a lack of communication because people are not permitted to move freely, and the circulation of paper-based ledgers has increased the risk of infection.
These problems call for a framework that helps you to grasp a site's state from a remote location and to instruct and guide the site personnel in an easy to understand manner.
The skill level of site personnel has not been standardized, and operations are people-dependent.
Lines are often stopped as errors go overlooked.
The operational state has not been digitalized, which makes it impossible to monitor in real time.
A local staff member who just joined us was inspecting our facility,
but the member overlooked a signal that indicated an error, which led to stoppage of the relevant facility.
A long time passed before the problem was discovered, which delayed recovery still further.
Introduce an IoT (Internet of Things) device for manufacturers that automatically and remotely collects information from sensors placed on your production line.
Without the need to station someone locally and have the person check the operational status, the facility will automatically monitor the line's operational status,
accumulate data, and activate an alarm if an abnormality is detected, thus realizing efficient operation.
We want to avoid communicating on the phone with the operations personnel at our manufacturing site
because of the risk that their hands may not be free as well as the risk of miscommunication due to language barriers.
This calls for a system whereby manufacturing sites can properly receive instructions from a remote location.
We had trouble at a plant in a country that has banned entry of foreign nationals.
We talked to the local personnel to see what was happening, but we could not understand the situation well and could not issue appropriate instructions.
Use smart glasses that enable you to see the local situation in real time.
By combining these with an app that transmits audio and video,
you can see what is happening alongside the local personnel without tying up the personnel's hands.
Paper-based ledgers pose the risks of misprints and losses, and incur the costs of printing and storage.
There is also time loss due to circulation, and the risk of infection from face-to-face communication.
We want to digitalize our paper-based ledgers as well as use such data for additional purposes.
A ledger was filled in by a local staff member with poor language skills. It was then misread,
which resulted in products being shipped out without checking.
Why not switch to digital ledgers that do not involve manual data entry?
Unlike paper-based ledgers, managing ledgers on a tablet incurs no storage or printing costs, thus reducing costs over the long term.
This is also more convenient since the data is centralized and easily searched.
You can also utilize dropdown menus and checkboxes to minimize the risk of incorrect entry. Digitalization also minimizes the risk of loss.