Factory of the Future: 6 Technology Trends For Your Production Line
Uptime and efficiency on your production line. It’s inseparably bonded to your profits. To put it another way: maximising throughput, whilst ensuring quality, is the best way to maximise your revenue. Here are some ideas for making sure your production environment is as productive as possible.
The first thing to do before acting is to sit back and observe. The most important step of Lean Sigma philosophy is the “Define” stage. Where are the pain points in your current workflow? Look at your people, your processes and your production equipment to identify areas where improvements can be made.
Another thing to consider that’s often overlooked is the layout of your production or manufacturing environment. From materials to machine tools, everything should be organised logically and cohesively. Does your current layout maximise efficiency?
Metal detection technology
Nobody wants to find metal in their macaroni. That’s why as a safety precaution, many food manufacturers install metal detectors on their production lines. Metal detection can occur at various points throughout your production line, ensuring no metal contaminants fall into your produce. As well as monitoring food, installing metal detectors could protect your machinery. Even the smallest particle can lead to machinery malfunction.
Of course, when it comes to identifying foreign objects, metal detectors have one major limitation. They can only spot metallic objects. That’s why some food manufacturers are transitioning towards X-ray systems that can detect a vast range of contaminants, such as glass, rubber and plastic.
The transition to X-ray is underway, but it won’t happen overnight. The technology is pricey, and it’s thought that sales of metal detectors currently eclipse sales of x-ray systems by a ratio of 10:1.
The sealing operation is often a bottleneck area of the production line. Manufacturers face a range of challenges, particularly in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. Sealing technology needs to allow packaging to withstand oils, acids, salts etc, as well as adhering to hygiene standards. Finding the right solution can make or break your quest for productivity – and its importance cannot be overlooked. A good one will take time to do its job, but both time and the integrity of the seal are important. It’s a complicated balancing act.
Touchless Service and Support
COVID-19 has proven to be a major obstacle to the field service arms of manufacturing companies, preventing technicians from going to job sites to install or repair equipment. Fortunately, assistive technology such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) has made it possible for technicians to provide remote assistance by virtually walking them through basic troubleshooting and repairs.
For many manufacturers, this presents an exciting opportunity. In the past, customers were often reluctant to explore touchless service options and instead preferred the convenience of having a technician come onsite to complete a repair. Now, due to COVID-19, more customers are open to this idea, enabling manufacturers to evaluate new processes and procedures with the long-term goal of making them permanent fixtures. In the end, customers and field service technicians benefit from the reduced risk of exposure, and manufacturers benefit from exploring new lines of business.
Every element of your production line requires maintenance now and then to keep your operations consistently productive. But how do you know when? Here to take the hassle and guesswork out of maintenance is Domino Cloud.
It’s a remote monitoring platform for our revolutionary new series of printers that ensures maintenance is completed with the least possible impact on your production line.
It works like this. Your printer sends information to the cloud, where performance is monitored by specialist engineers at PrintDATA. If there’s a problem, they can often fix it remotely, without any disruption to your production. Otherwise, PrintDATA will talk you through a fast and effective fix before the problem disrupts production, or they can schedule an engineer to visit you with the parts required to fix the problem ahead of a future incident.
Minimum downtime, maximum productivity.
Advanced printing and labelling technology
Outdated printing and labelling technology create a number of production inefficiencies. Firstly it slows the overall speed of your throughput. Secondly, it requires lots of scheduled downtime for maintenance. And thirdly it can cause printing and coding errors that can leave you needing to reprint entire batches of products.
The latest printing and coding technology has been designed with productivity and uptime in mind to help manufacturers stay competitive. PrintDATA has a range of sophisticated printing and labelling technology that provides quality, flexibility and value for money.
Regardless of the application, substrate or manufacturing environment, there is fast and flexible technology to enhance your production line efficiency. No more illegible codes or incorrect placement. Reduce or eliminate your product recalls.
Over to you…
The latest technologies are revolutionising output, quality and efficiency on the production line. Take an honest look at your existing output levels, use continuous improvement processes and methodologies such as Agile and Lean 6 Sigma, and consider how exciting new technologies could boost your bottom line.
Or, call in the experts to do all the thinking for you.