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Organizations of all sizes are leveraging technology to drive critical business decisions and boost competitiveness. This digital journey involves connecting assets and collecting data that can be used for actionable insights.
The digital thread—a communication framework that connects traditionally siloed elements in manufacturing processes and provides an integrated view of an asset throughout the manufacturing lifecycle— involves connecting assets and collecting data to generate actionable insights using three key technologies: the Internet of Things (IoT), remote monitoring (RM), and augmented reality (AR). The convergence of these three technologies can lead to real change in enterprises that establish a connected digital thread between and among their functional groups. The resulting integration supports better, data-drive decisions and results in process improvements that create a positive impact on profitability.
The Internet of Things (IoT) enables machines to talk to each other in real time and analyze data, increasing efficiency and uncovering insights. Imaging a steady flow of information across the organization stemming directly from your equipment, both from internal operations and products in the field. Raw material usage detail at each machine can allow for more timely deliveries of additional supplies and a steadier output level. Data on tool wear, operating temperatures, and environmental provide a live-status update on operational equipment. Analyzing data directly from real-time operations allows for predictive maintenance of factory floor equipment helps reduce downtime.
Remote monitoring (RM) offers visibility into the network, both people and machinery, to optimize operations. The data that flows across the IoT comes from these remote monitoring technologies. Using RM helps identify the issue that are getting in the way of products in real time, uncovering pattern and trends that previously would require post event review. Broader still, use and performance data from the field where your products are in operation can be collected for post installation service support.
Augmented reality (AR) enhances the real-world environment and creates an immersive and flexible experience to take manufacturing and training activities to the next level. When human-machine interaction is required in your operations, AR can provide an enhanced interface that promotes a better understanding of current machine details, provides access to a broad range of digital documents on-site, and create a direct connection with support personnel or other experts to allow collaboration on everything from training and support to equipment repairs or modifications.
The interconnectivity and real-time nature of these technologies are changing the fundamental ways that businesses operate – fueling new process innovations that drive critical business decisions, improve operations, and boost competitiveness. Information from sensors, machines, processors, and people can be captured, measured, and analyzed for uncovering actionable insights that facilitate more profitable operations. The insights gained through utilizing the digital thread and connecting the company’s information with those that will benefit from it include optimizing and automating operations, improving task efficiencies, enhancing R&D, and upgrading production, to name just a few.
The result: Increased profitability driven by the improvements created from data-driven decisions.
The digital thread is leading to new process innovations that enhance operations and increase profitability for organizations across all industries. Advanced technologies such as IoT, AR, and RM are key ingredients of realizing the potential impact. Capturing the benefits of a digital transformation starts with understanding your business case—and how smart connected products, with the analytics and operational efficiencies they enable, can add value to all areas of your enterprise ready to make the investment.
Ready to Make the Change? Across industries, businesses are facing up to the risks—including workforce management challenges, the impact of not updating existing infrastructure and legacy technology, and security risks—and making the investment. Boston Engineering has the team and the experience to make your implementation of the digital thread a success. If you are considering making the transition to a digital first organization, we would appreciate the opportunity to lead you through the many challenges involved in making it a reality. Reach out to us today and let’s start the conversation.
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