3 trends in process automation

Industria 4.0

We offer you 3 trends on the automation of industrial processes that we will be able to see this 2019.

Trend 1: The investment in digitalization will be progressive.

Manufacturers have long felt the pressure to invest in new technologies.

In the current era of Industry 4.0, this pressure has been increased by an influx of products and initiatives, which are intended to help manufacturers to digitize their operations.

Unfortunately, some of these poorly executed proposals are just a waste of money.

Obviously, it is an asset to invest in technology that allows digitization of the plant. However, a hasty approach has led some manufacturers to make random investments.

For example, some have delegated digitization to third parties and, as a result, are not in charge of their own automation.

Before embarking on a digitization proposal, manufacturers must first examine which technology is most efficient for their facilities.

A good place to start is to listen to the plant team. Understanding how technology can help improve employees’ work can ensure that investments are pragmatic.

Another considerable factor is simplicity: reducing the complexity of the process allows for a clearer overview and total control.

Manufacturers must choose a technology that is easy to understand, implement, and expand in the future.

Bottom line: From 2019, digitization must be addressed in a more practical way: constant, incremental automation is better than failure.

Trend 2: Data strategy is an integral part of manufacturing

Software is an area that has consistently been marked as a method for accelerating the manufacture of digitization.

However, before investing in data collection software, manufacturers should start 2019 by implementing a coherent data strategy.

Instead of simply storing data, the manufacturer should identify the results they want to achieve and decide how this data can help them meet their production and billing goals.

Think of a manufacturer who wants to increase their return on investment (ROI) in the plant by reducing the amount of materials wasted during production.

To identify areas for improvement, the manufacturer will need to collect production data and compare it to its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Without such a pre-determined strategy, manufacturers run the risk of only collecting and storing data. But there is no value in data when it is simply extracted and not analyzed based on predefined objectives.

That’s why the trend in 2019 is for data strategies to become an integral part of manufacturing.

Conclusion: Data strategies are only understandable if the right software is used.

Trend 3. The evolution of the software

In recent years, there has been a change in the amount of investment that manufacturers allocate to software.

Traditionally, hardware would have received most of the cash, but this is beginning to change, especially as more advanced software platforms emerge.

Software for manufacturing facilities is no longer limited to Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).

The field of industrial software is experiencing a convergence of IT and operational technologies (OT), giving rise to new platforms that integrate a large number of different areas, including business data from the corporate level to automation at field and process level.

While this may seem more complicated than traditional systems, these platforms often have better design, visualization, calculation logic, and ergonomics than their predecessors. This makes systems safer, simpler and more transparent to operate.

You may not have promised buzzwords, but software is the engine of what is commonly known as Industry 4.0. As a result, it is not surprising that we are likely to see greater investment in integrated platforms like these over the next twelve months.

The era of conceptualizing the manufacturing possibilities of digitization is over.

Over the next twelve months, products and initiatives hailed as ways to transform manufacturing facilities will finally be put into practice.

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