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Manufacturing and the Smart Sensor Revolution

   Actionable Data

Smart sensors are revolutionizing the manufacturing industry. When you implement a sensor into manufacturing machinery, you create an intelligent network that brings value to the entire chain. With a smart sensor, you can reduce or eliminate the need for instrument tracking tools such as vernier calipers, thermometers, and sizers. Smart sensors provide manufacturers with a tracking system to monitor equipment and tools. They can also control schedules and maintenance based on individual device performance while collecting the insights gathered.

The true value of a smart sensor lies in the data it produces. This data can be analyzed to predict equipment wear, diagnose potential issues, and create benchmarks. Reducing inefficiencies helps manufacturers maximize production, improve quality, and reduce costs.

The connection level of the 5C architecture for cyber-physical systems builds upon the data provided by smart sensors. During the manufacturing process, sensors generate and store data produced by the network of connected machines, tools, and products. This data is pushed up through the remaining levels which reduce the size of the data while increasing its value.

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While the implementation of smart sensors can bring improved productivity and increased margins, it is not a quick fix. It is important to have an experienced team like the professionals at Merkur help you build a network that produces meaningful and actionable data.

The Impacts of Smart Sensors

Having access to large quantities of data is an advantage of smart sensors, but the true gains are revealed when that data is analyzed and the results are used to make strategic changes in the manufacturing process. Some examples of how smart sensors have had positive impacts across a variety of industries include:

  1. Improved Manufacturing Processes:
    In the industrial manufacturing industry, automated tool condition monitoring identifies the condition of cutting tools without interrupting the manufacturing process. Smart sensors allow unattended or minimally manned machining which leads to increased capital equipment utilization and substantially reduced manufacturing costs.
  2. Custom Product Design:
    Data gathered from embedded sensors allowed a “made to order goods” company to analyze the behavior of repeat customers. By focusing on their repeat business, they were able to eliminate products that were reducing the efficiency of their production lines. With a focus on lean manufacturing, they increased their profitability and customer satisfaction.
  3. Diminished Risk:
    One manufacturer is using data analytics to reduce risk in the delivery of raw materials. Predictive analysis can identify potential delays allowing the company to quickly put alternative plans into action in the event of a setback.
  4. Improved Quality:
    Monitoring the wear of manufacturing machines reduces costs associated with damages and machinery breakdown. Sensors can monitor the quality of product output as well as machine conditions. Early detection of issues can prevent unexpected downtime.
  5. Operational Improvements:
    Intelligence gained from sensors has been used in the packaging industry to drive operational improvements such as automated line changeover and parameter cloning.

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Surviving in a Continuously Changing Industry

In the competitive and continuously changing manufacturing industry, it is important that companies are engaged in the offerings of current technology. A data-driven mindset not only includes the implementation of embedded sensors, but also the analysis and action taken based on the data. The Merkur Engineering team realizes that manufacturers are experts in their business, not technology. We have helped clients to improve their capacity with the implementation of smart sensors in equipment and tooling projects, resulting in improved productivity. With their ability to capture improvement opportunities, standardize procedures, and modify precision tooling, they help businesses reduce costs by reducing process variability and eliminating reworks and non-compliant products right at the source.

Smart sensors enable manufacturers to be quick, responsive, and profitable by adopting agile methodologies that were previously reserved for the tech sector. Networking these smart sensors to control and monitor systems through either digital data links or hardwiring creates an industrial IoT at the plant level. Realizing the benefits of this technology brings new levels of efficiency and profitability to almost any manufacturing company. The Merkur approach to implementing smart sensor technologies combines lean manufacturing concepts and innovative automated solutions. Optimizing technologies is the cornerstone of a solid industrial strategy to support company durability and performance.