As computerized systems become more sophisticated and efficient, they’re playing an increasing role in day-to-day manufacturing operations. Digital manufacturing is now a core process in many companies. Digital technologies enable organizations to implement an integrated approach to production, with computer systems serving as the catalyst. Digitization is especially useful for manufacturing entities that are increasing their reliance on automated business processes.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Manufacturing?
As the “next generation” in manufacturing technology, digitization will enable companies to maximize efficiency, increase productivity and provide higher levels of service to their customers. Specific benefits of digital manufacturing include:
- Faster production times: By implementing digitized processes, manufacturing entities can move from the design to the production phase quicker than ever. The production staff can also implement design changes from the engineering staff with greater speed and efficiency.
- More consistent results: An issue that often plagues manufacturers that operate multiple locations is maintaining consistency in areas such as process and quality. Digital technologies can help to alleviate this problem by making it easier to share data between sites. It also facilitates collaboration between engineers, production managers and others involved in decision-making activities.
- Improvements in supply chain management: Digitization allows for real-time communication between manufacturers and their suppliers. Increased access to supply chain information is especially beneficial to companies that operate a just-in-time inventory system and may need to receive orders on short notice.
- Increased innovation: By reducing the time between the product design and production steps, digital manufacturing creates more opportunities for innovation. Manufacturers can be more responsive to the needs and demands of their customers, giving them a competitive edge in the marketplace.
- Lower maintenance costs: A digitized network enables connected equipment and devices to send a signal whenever a maintenance issue occurs. Maintenance personnel can then respond quickly to rectify the problem instead of waiting until a complete breakdown occurs. Consequently, companies can experience a significant reduction in maintenance and repair costs as well as fewer disruptions to the production cycle.
- Reduced energy consumption: Digital technologies can provide real-time data regarding how much energy equipment and machinery are using. Management can then review the information and make changes to usage patterns and other areas that are causing excessive consumption.
- Making the transition to the “factory of the future”: Digitization also paves the way for the implementation of Manufacturing Industry 4.0. This concept encompasses smart manufacturing, smart factory, the industrial internet of things (IIoT) and lights out manufacturing to facilitate automation and data exchange in a manufacturing environment. Smart Manufacturing Industry 4.0 improves collaboration between plant managers, engineers and supervisory personnel to help them resolve production issues more efficiently.
MANTEC Can Help You Take Advantage of Digital Technologies
MANTEC is a nonprofit consulting firm that can help your company leverage digitization to improve your business processes. We provide a wide range of digital technology services to manufacturing operations throughout South Central PA. Give us a call at 717-854-5054 or contact us online to learn more.