Manufacturing is in the throes of change and the Internet of Things (IoT) is the technology that holds the key to coping with it. With solutions from the Internet of Things you will succeed in transforming your company from a manufacturer pure and simple into a service provider and manufacturer.
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What is a manufacturing service provider?
A manufacturing service provider does not just manufacture products; he also offers his customers services to match, either in addition or as a core service. An engineering company, for example, can equip the machines that it manufactures with IoT technology, connecting them and thereby facilitating the generation and evaluation of usage data. The information acquired enables it to offer its customer a predictive maintenance service. The customer benefits from workflows that are less interruptible because reliable forecasts enable him to plan maintenance cycles optimally. Alternatively the manufacturer can implement a so-called as-a-service business model. In that case he would offer not a machine but the use thereof. The customer books the machine to manufacture a certain product, for example, and pays only a service fee. In both scenarios the manufacturer extends his service portfolio and thereby positions himself more diversely and more resiliently.
What is a smart factory?
The smart factory is the mainstay of the Industry 4.0 of the future. Its main focus is on efficiency. The aim is to reduce manual work steps and put comprehensive automation in their place. Technologies such as WiFi and LTE or 5G, NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT), and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connect all machines and systems with each other, be it in production or in intralogistics. The smart factory’s individual components can thereby be synchronized and coordinated to ensure seamless processes. The Internet of Things merges the information acquired, making data analysis possible in almost real time. On the basis of these findings companies can further improve their workflows.
What advantages does the smart factory offer?
Compared with traditional factories that have not yet taken their digital transformation very far forward, the smart factory offers many advantages, including in the following areas:
- Production: Connected and self-coordinating machines enable more efficient and faster production processes and swift adaptation to individual customer wishes.
- Intralogistics: Goods are easier to locate thanks to automated warehouse management and tracking solutions.
- Supply Chain: IoT trackers and other digital solutions make supply chains transparent.
- Personnel: Comprehensive automation makes time-consuming manual work processes obsolete and companies can deploy their personnel more efficiently.
What does workforce enablement mean in manufacturing industry?
Workforce enablement in manufacturing industry means supporting employees by means of digital technologies so that they can cope ideally with constantly increasing market requirements such as individual customers’ wishes and ever-shorter production cycles. In the process they can, for one, use technical aids such as pick-by devices (see below) in order picking. For another, automated production processes make employees’ daily work easier.
What is the definition of M2M communication?
M2M communication stands for machine-to-machine communication, or automatic exchange of information between machines. A classical area in which M2M communication takes place is the Internet of Things, where connected devices send data automatically to the IoT where, in turn, other devices can access this information.
What does predictive maintenance mean?
Predictive maintenance – self-explanatory as an idea – presupposes that machines are equipped with sensors and connected. They record their usage data and relay it to the IoT or the cloud, where companies can view the information and see when the next service is due. That makes planning easier and eliminates unnecessary downtimes.
What is a digital twin?
A digital twin is a digital map of a real object or process. In manufacturing, for example, companies can set up a digital twin of a production line in order to trial new workflows. The benefits are that physical production can continue during trials and no additional testing equipment is required. The company only adjusts its real production environment once optimal results have been achieved with the digital twin.
What are the differences between Pick-by-Vision, Pick-by-Light and other kinds of order picking?
These kinds of order picking differ in the way in which employees receive the necessary information about goods and merchandise and how they report their work steps to the system.
- Pick-by-Voice: Employees receive information about goods by voice and also confirm by voice command actions such as picks from stock.
- Pick-by-Light: An indicator light at the point of use provides employees with information about the product quantity required and other aspects.
- Pick-by-Vision: Employees wear data glasses that show them all the relevant information. The principle is based on augmented reality (AR). Pick-by-Vision often also uses features of Pick-by-Light and Pick-by-Voice if, for example, the system recognizes order pickers’ voice commands.
- Pick-by-Scan: By means of barcode scanners employees record the goods that they pick from stock. The manual devices often show on their display further information such as the exact location of the products required.
What does product-as-a-service mean?
Product-as-a-service is when manufacturers offer their customers not only the product itself but also, and primarily, services to accompany it. They can, for example, place their own machines at the disposal of other companies that then need only to place a remote production order. The customer does not purchase the equipment; he merely pays for its use – much like hiring a car and paying only for the miles traveled on the clock.
What purpose does precise positioning serve in manufacturing industry?
Thanks to precise positioning, companies in manufacturing industries know at all times exactly where their goods or raw materials are. They can track, for example, when parts ordered and required for specific production processes are likely to arrive. Depending on when which raw materials are available, production processes can be adjusted accordingly. Companies increase their efficiency because they can thereby make full use of their machines at all times. The technical basis for this positioning includes IoT trackers. Its advantage over older technologies such GPS is its precision. Precise positioning can locate an object to within a few centimeters. That is how manufacturers know, for instance, exactly where commodities and raw materials are in the warehouse.