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The Industrial IT Revolution
The manufacturing industry is often left out of the conversation about information technology. When we think about manufacturing, we think about heavy machinery, machine operators and product output. However, the manufacturing industry has the same need for top performing technology as every other type of business. Manufacturing businesses tie success to their daily (even hourly) output and any downtime can create massive costs or profit loss.
Sustainability has also become a huge focus in the world of manufacturing. Many companies have created positions focused on increasing or maintaining sustainability. It has become increasingly important for our civilization to decrease the impact we have on our planet and manufacturing has a big part to play in this. Increasing output while decreasing waste is a challenging endeavor, and many manufacturing companies are researching and implementing new sustainable materials at the same time.
In a way, we are experiencing an industrial revolution. As the manufacturing industry adopts new technologies, they way we produce materials and what we produce changes. So, what does this mean? How does IT play into this industrial revolution?
Profitability and Cost
Manufacturers, to put it simply, base their success on the amount of product they produce in a timeframe. The demand for many of these products is much higher than the rate at which a company can supply. The room for error is very small and any downtime in a manufacturing plant can be extremely costly, or even disrupt distribution. Technology plays a part in almost every corner of the manufacturing process, no matter what the product is.
Efficiency is a huge focus and a cost reduction of 1% can translate to hundreds of millions in extra profit, depending on the volume. While machine operators work extremely hard, there is a limit to what they can do during a workday. Technology enables workers to increase output, without demanding extra physical labor. Smart machinery that is belongs to the IT infrastructure network can aid companies in highlighting efficiency issues, communicate machine errors or breakdowns, and create data for comparison. If your network can tell you exactly where an issue in production is located, you save the time and effort trying to find it manually.
Upgraded structured IT cabling, upgraded data centers, and smart machinery can make a manufacturing environment more efficient and safer for employees. When a machine is connected to the network, it can tell you when it is experiencing issues, which can ultimately keep your people safe on the job.
Accurate data on output and downtime is valuable to have for any manufacturing company. Utilizing it over time helps leadership identify what is improving output and safety. This type of data is like looking at an x-ray of your manufacturing system. If you know where the efficiencies and inefficiencies are, you can implement solutions. This ultimately saves you cost, decreases downtime, and increases profitability without negatively impacting your employees.
Sustainability is a big focus in the world of manufacturing. Companies are constantly researching and developing new materials that have less impact on the planet as well as finding ways to reduce waste. Just as we mentioned before, IT Infrastructure can aid in reducing downtime which reduces cost, it can also aid in reducing waste. Technology can aid companies in understanding where excess waste is created in their manufacturing process. Knowing where excess waste is being produced helps companies understand how they can reduce, re-use or recycle the material.
Upgraded low voltage cabling can also reduce the amount of electricity used by manufacturing plants. Instead of using high voltage electricity to power lights, PoE (power over ethernet) lighting can be used to significantly reduce the amount of energy used. PoE lighting connects the lights to control software so lighting can be turned on or off automatically according to production schedules or motion sensors.
Upgrading your IT Infrastructure and Structured IT Cabling can help a manufacturing plant move in the direction of a smart building. Having control software in place with all lighting, temperature control and machinery connected allows the company to operate using significantly less energy. This saves the company operating costs and reduces the impact on the planet.
If you have any questions about how IT Infrastructure and Structured IT Cabling is impacting the manufacturing industry reach out to us at ContactUs@Matrix-NDI.com or call 763-475-5500.