Smart factory in a box

Paul Boughton

The fourth industrial revolution is a step change in manufacturing technology that offers huge opportunities. Many companies are already reaping the productivity rewards.

However, some firms may find the level of change challenging to begin with but are still seeking a way to make similar productivity gains through technology. To enable more manufacturers to take the leap into the future, Forcam has introduced Smart Factory in a Box – a fully functional micro-pilot enabling their cloud-based shop floor management technology to be proven before full scale roll out.

The package is based on Forcam Force, the manufacturing execution system that provides supervisors, managers and operators with a comprehensive view of factory performance to improve efficiency, reduce waste and boost productivity. The smart factory starter kit networks up to three machines for data capture, with information processed in real time in the cloud and provides customised, actionable reports on performance also in real-time.

“Global companies like Audi, BorgWarner, Weir Minerals and GKN Aerospace have already proven the value of this system, using the technology to substantially improve shop floor productivity and company competitiveness by 20% or more,” explained Forcam’s UK managing director Andrew Steele. “Nevertheless, direct experience is the best tutor, so we have produced a pilot package that enables companies of all sizes to set up a small scale trial so teams can see and prove the effectiveness of the system and appreciate the potential gains without risk and at modest cost.”

The starter kit includes consultation and basic user training as well as set-up for up to three machines. This will allow machines to stream data to the secure Forcam servers in the cloud for real-time analysis and reporting back to devices on-machine, in the supervisor’s and manager’s offices. Instantaneous analysis of this big data will allow role-relevant information to be given to operators, supervisors and managers. Forcam will provide full support through the three month trial and give advice on how to scale up and customise the application to optimise performance.

Andrew concluded: “Setting up even a small pilot used to be a large undertaking, the starter kit makes this easy, we can get the ball rolling and have a micro pilot up and running in weeks, not months.”

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