What are manufacturing apps?
Industrial workflows are transformed by manufacturing apps into instrumented, data-gathering, digital processes that integrate human, machine, and sensor data to meet business objectives. Manufacturing App Examples and Use Cases The best way to grasp the definition is to contrast manufacturing tools and processes before and after the use of manufacturing apps. Data Collection in Real Time Before , Process Engineers measured an operator's performance with a clipboard and a stopwatch. Individual data is not accessible after a couple of days unless the process engineer types it on a spreadsheet that everyone can access. The process takes time, and the data is always behind the operations. After— With manufacturing apps, each step of your workflow generates data that is captured as defined by those closest to your operations. Data can be used by process and quality engineers to improve workflows, line supervisors to provide targeted feedback to operators, and upper management to get a real-time picture of the shop floor. Workflows in Digital Form Before , operators followed paper-based work instructions. These instructions are difficult to understand, cause delays in the operator's work, and do not help them improve their performance. Furthermore, keeping track of different versions and locating the most recent one can be difficult. This results in a low use of work instructions, which leads to higher defect rates. After , operators create interactive work instructions using manufacturing apps. These instructions are digital and communicate with the tools used by operators during the assembly process. These guided assembly apps enable operators to be more productive and make fewer errors, so they use them on a regular and happy basis. Operators can provide real-time feedback and suggestions for improvement to the instructions, and the app can be instantly updated to turn tribal knowledge into standard operating procedure. Visibility of production Before , you had separate data silos for data from machines, operators, sensors, and other systems. Some data is stored on paper, while others are stored in spreadsheets, SQL databases, or third-party systems. The majority of data is either not captured or is lost. It is difficult, if not impossible, to have a clear, real-time picture of what is going on. After , you can integrate all of your data sources into a unified, real-time view of your process, production line, or factory. Through an analytics engine and 'dashboarding' capability, the data can be easily analysed and visualised. It can also be easily shared with all stakeholders as needed. Reduce Training Complexity Before — Training buddies train new hires and provide support during a period when you have little visibility into their progress. When a new product or process is introduced, everyone must be re-trained, which slows things down. Keeping track of who has completed which training or who possesses which skill is difficult. After, you can develop training manufacturing apps for new hires to train themselves. You can track their progress as they work through the training apps and view their skills. When new processes, tools, or products are introduced to the assembly line, new training modules can be deployed and operators can continue learning on the job. Monitoring of Machines Before — You have legacy machines and possibly some newer, more advanced ones, but they can't communicate quickly with you or each other. They are prone to errors due to clumsy interfaces. Someone must check the machines on a regular basis to ensure that they are operational. Human error is common during the changeover and startup processes. After that, you can connect your machines to your Apps and make them interact with one another. OEE can be calculated automatically and in real time to best suit your business needs. You can create manufacturing apps to act as an interface for legacy machines, as well as apps to assist your team with changeover and maintenance. You can also take advantage of the Industrial IoT by connecting your tools, sensors, and machines to your apps. These are just a few examples of how manufacturing apps are changing the way businesses operate. You should now have a better understanding of what manufacturing apps and marketplace App are and how they can improve your operations.