How to gather and manage data (from teams and assets)?

Written by Infraspeak team! We live in the era of Industry 4.0, which is the revolutionary digitalization of manufacturing that involves Big Data, which is the concept that studies all the data gathered and managed. And managing and generating data are a crucial part of this process in all companies.  Why generate data? A well-run, efficient and productive company relies on data to achieve greater goals. But why? Well, there are a lot of perks in doing that: Decision-making One of the toughest and more stressful tasks leans on decision-making. Insecurities creep in and the human mind gets in the way. And how to avoid this situation? Analytics and data. By generating data, decision-making almost becomes a mathematical and analytical question. Depending on the industry, data can reveal essential intel regarding your own company, the field in general or global traits that can boost its efficiency. Harnessing data can, for example, help you find and retain new clients, improve your customer experience, predict new trends, enhance your marketing strategy and even track social media and its potential. Problem-solving Besides relieving you of making hard decisions on your own, it also helps you with solving problems. No company…

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10 statistics you can’t miss about IoT in the industry sector (packaging included)

I don't think I need to convince you that industry is changing and a revolution is happening in front of our own eyes, right? So, let's skip this part and go straight to the point... We've listed 10 statistics that support the above statement. Some of them take your breath away. Are you ready? Click the orange circles and check the first 5 statistics in the interactive image.   6 . Data and analytics are becoming increasingly important to decision-making (packaging industry) A report from PWC on Digital Transformation shows that 83% of respondents in forest, paper & packaging industry believe that data analysis will be a core factor to decision making in 5 years. When asked about the current situation, this figure is 55%. There's a great development opportunity here! 7. Most companies don’t yet have mature data analytics capabilities (yet) According to the same report mentioned above, only 18% of survey respondents rate the maturity of their data analytics capabilities as advanced, and more than half say that the lack of skills and competencies in their company’s workforce is a key challenge to making full use of data analytics. 8. Companies will have 5%% of…

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What are IoT sensors and how to use them?

Post wrote by Infraspeak Team. The technological world has been flooded with concepts and new topics  - and it’s normal to get lost in the midst of it all. Let’s focus on one of its highlights: The Internet of Things (IoT). We’ve all heard about it, but do we really know what it means? In the simplest terms, the Internet of Things comprises all stuff that connects to the internet, enabling all devices to gather information, analyze data and even take action. As Caroline Gorski, the head of IoT at Digital Catapult assesses: “it’s about networks, it’s about devices, and it’s about data”, it works as a “brain”, streamlining, enabling connectivity and warranting communication between everything internet-related. It’s considered one of the most critical and encouraging concepts of our time. To put in perspective: researchers estimate that is over 20 billion devices are connected and this number will increase as the world becomes “smarter” and “smarter” (not literally, just conceptually). With this technologically-driven world, concepts such as Smart Buildings (providing unique comfort and productivity in workplaces, for example) and Smart Cities (reducing environmental footprint, relieving the people of time-costing and stress situations by improving transportation, and increasing…

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The biggest problems in running your factory with Excel

We don't need to explain that much right? If you are here, you might know a lot about this important tool. While you are reading this text, millions of people are using Excel right now.  Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications. It has been a very widely applied spreadsheet for these platforms, especially since version 5 in 1993, and it has replaced Lotus 1-2-3 as the industry standard for spreadsheets. Excel forms part of the Microsoft Office suite of software. Among its important use cases, one of them is to help factory managers to collect and manage data on a daily basis. It's been an important tool for the past decades, but some issues can be perceived as companies have new demands on their management environment. On this matter, we bring to you the biggest problems running your factory with Excel. Human error/data reliability First of all, this is the most common issue in Excel. In the reliable part of the information in spreadsheets you can divide it into two parts: Problems…

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Scrap Rates in Packaging Manufacturing

Does Your Packaging Manufacturing Plant Know Its Scrap Rates? In which stage of the scrap reporting are you? Alongside downtime, scrap rates (or waste) are a major concern for any plant manager, especially in the packaging industry. Although the numbers vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, when we look at in-line production facilities (where all machines are connected in series), scrap rates of 15-25% are completely normal. During this time, the plant is consuming energy, raw material and equipment uptime. This means that for every 4 hours of production, the company is throwing material, energy and equipment time in the bin. The struggle to reduce these numbers is hard, daily and constant, and only one thing is for sure: you cannot do it without reliable production numbers, just by looking in the rearview mirror. Although almost every piece of equipment has integrated counters for rejected parts, few companies collect this data automatically to transform it into intelligence. As a result, they end up depending on manual notes, the nightmare of information reliability. Anyone who has spent a few hours on the factory floor knows: the life of an operator is not easy. The routine of production, quality…

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The four core technologies that drive digital transformation

Based on the Chapter 3 of the book: “Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an era of Mass Extinction” by Thomas Siebel By Mario Ishikawa, CTO of PackIOT In his recently published book “Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an era of Mass Extinction”, Thomas Siebel, Founder, and CEO of C3 IoT addresses the fact that the moment we are living now is unique. Digital transformation, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is bringing massive changes to how we live as a society, and especially for companies, it is a moment to thrive or die. CEO’s are playing a core role in this process. Digital transformation in a company is started and supported by the CEO, in contrast to earlier technology adoptions on enterprise, usually led by IT and Engineering teams. By going to the very core of the organization, digital transformation requires the CEO to understand the fundamentals of his business. If you are a car manufacturer, is your business fundamentally about making cars or is it about delivering transportation and mobility? Once the importance is understood, then comes the digital transformation plan, and the challenges are of great magnitude. Many large corporations tried to create their own…

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How a packaging manufacturer increased $144k in factory capacity?

Where will we allocate the retrofit budget for our machines? This question had been asked over and over, every year by one of our customers, a major player in the packaging industry. Imagine the situation and even try to remember if it happens in your company: the CFO gathers 4 or 5 managers and launches this question in the room, projecting the budget for the following year. The industrial director made the same challenge with his factory management. And that's where the "opinion fight" begins. (We like to say that without data, you are just another person with an opinion). Each one brings his/her side, wanting the best for his/her line. But no one can prove why retrofit money should be allocated to a particular machine, since downtime and scrap data are difficult to gather without a proper system. So, did you identify yourself within the situation? In the past, the company used solve this situation in an unsatisfactory way: CFO, CEO and Industrial Director ended up dividing the retrofit budget into equal parts. This ends up not being an effective strategy, not even measurable in the medium term of the plant but at least it made everyone in the…

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Traps to avoid when building your own production metrics system

Manufacturing companies are full of very smart people: engineers, technicians, skilled operators, maintenance people and so on. So, sometimes DIY (Do It Yourself) is the way to go to solve many problems in the company.This is not different when it comes to analytics systems for the production (sometimes called MES systems) and this is a valid approach. Software development is hard, but we must say that some companies are successfully doing it. Here we try to enumerate some of the mistakes that are normally made by manufacturing companies when trying to develop their own systems. 1. Since we are already doing this, we could as well… This happens in house renovations as well: we start wanting to replace the floor tiles, which would take us one month, but end up breaking walls. Since we are breaking the walls, we could as well remake the bathroom, and so on.Normally a project for production metrics at a company starts with: “let’s just add some sensors and save them on an SQL database, and we already know production, uptime, and speed” ( and that is a nice way to start ). But then new demands come: “how do we know the production…

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Why should a manufacturing company go to a tech event? Notes from Web Summit

When a partner told me about the Alpha Program, on the Web Summit 2019, I was a bit curious. "We are from the industry sector, our software is for the Packaging Industry...uh, let's think". But then we applied, passed for such a huge process where only 1 in 10 companies get chosen and were approved. So, it was official. PackIOT was in! Now, a few days after the end of Web Summit, we are so glad that we opened our minds to participate in the most important technology event in the world. So, we are sharing some thoughts from our experience with people from the industry sector. First of all, we need to be aware of what's Web Summit. Forbes has called it “the best technology conference on the planet”; The New York Times claimed that it assembles “a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.” In 2019 more than 70 thousand participants from 163 countries, and more than 2 thousand startups came to Lisbon in search of an opportunity to share their ideas and grow their business. Huge, right? In general terms, we still realize that the industry and the technology ecosystem are far apart. Concepts of innovation, cloud,…

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Without engaging operators, your digital transformation might be a huge flop

Despite automation, the rise of new technologies and the growth of industry 4.0, factories employees still play and will continue to play a key role in the industry's success. According to a Gallup study, employees in production jobs are now the least engaged compared to other sectors. This clearly shows us that the industry as a whole is still struggling to actually increase employee engagement. While industry 4.0 technologies - such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and mobile solutions - are being implemented in manufacturing plants around the world to transform manufacturing processes, little has been done to transform the employee experience. For years and years, managers for all kinds of industries have been trying to implement new processes and tools based on their own decisions and ways. And I can assure you this is one of the most common problems when companies are trying to get into new approaches and technologies. Usually, those who make a decision are those who are not going to effectively will use the new tech/process. To really achieve great results in digital transformation, the industry sector must bring the operators to the center of this discussion. And by saying this,…

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