Digitization in manufacturing

Achieved by the combination of manufacturing and the Internet, digitization in manufacturing companies is now a necessity. Its essential aspect is the practical implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept, which assumes the creation of intelligent factories in which machines, devices, and IT systems communicate with one another, and where processes are constantly updated on the basis of large amounts of data. At Comarch, we address all challenges related to digitization in manufacturing.
ERP system dedicated to manufacturing

Comarch ERP Enterprise, integrated company management software of the ERP class equipped with functionalities dedicated to manufacturing, is a natural system for communication with an IoT Platform. An ERP system may be used to send a manufacturing order to a machine which can be situated not only in a production hall, but also in a distant location. In addition, the completion of a given production stage registered by a sensor may be a signal for a given department or device that a workstation needs to be prepared to begin the next stage.

Data interchange allows the registration of a failure of a specific machine in Comarch ERP - for instance, on the basis of a temperature rise registered by a sensor, or an increased level of pollution.

Additionally, a sensor located in a device sold to an individual may send a warning that the device will soon break down, which is a signal that a service worker should be sent to the customer, or that a personalized offer should be prepared for them.

Industry 4.0, IoT Tools, and Comarch ERP Systems

Numerous sensors are already used in industrial automatic control. Temperature meters, along with proximity, smoke, light, and motion sensors, make it possible to register considerable amounts of data, both during the production process and in the course of the daily use of already manufactured products. But such sensors are becoming part of digitization thanks to wireless communication.

  • The Comarch Group undertakes a number of activities to introduce digitization to the daily business life of manufacturing enterprises. Tools and applications produced by Comarch Technologies are an important element of those activities. The most essential elements of this solution include:
  • Sensors measuring, among other things, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, carbon dioxide level, air pollution, light intensity, motion, or UV index levels
  • Active Hub, a tool acting as a bridge between a device collecting data (a sensor) and IoT Platform. It enables secure and flawless communication in the production hall and allows long-distance remote control of a device. It supports leading communication protocols to communicate not only with sensors produced by the Comarch Group, but also with other, external devices used in the production process.
  • IoT Platform – enables the analysis of data transferred by sensors through Active Hub. IoT Platform may be used to specify business rules which determine what should happen if a temperature sensor shows 40 degrees, a humidity sensor exceeds 80%, or light intensity goes below 30 lux. Because sensors may send considerable amounts of data, the IoT Platform is located in the cloud, which facilitates rapid data processing with no need for a manufacturing company to invest in hardware in the local environment. Additionally, it makes it possible to analyze data from many locations simultaneously.

Technology Optimization Based on the History of Order Processing

A modern ERP system is equipped with machine learning mechanisms, which may be used not only to complete current manufacturing operations, but also to generate recommendations for changes in production technology. For instance, if the previous ten manufacturing orders have used four, not six kilograms of resources, or if an operation takes three, not two hours, the system may suggest a change in technology norms. Automatic prompts will make a technologist or a production planner aware that they should analyze a BOM or an itinerary; if they consider it appropriate, recommended changes may bring about an update or the creation of a new version of a technology.

Augmented Reality as a Convenience for Technicians and Quality Controllers

The use of augmented reality in cooperation with an ERP system may considerably facilitate work both for employees responsible for the movement and maintenance of machinery in a manufacturing company and for those handling service orders from customers. Thanks to augmented reality, it is possible to verify, with the use of special goggles or MES screens, what an installation or device looks like with no need to disassemble it.

Additionally, data sheets or technical details may be supplemented with tutorial videos or other clips, thanks to which even an inexperienced technician will be able to repair a device following step by step instructions.

Quality control may function similarly – an employee responsible for that process may compare a given copy of a product with its displayed model, and therefore identify and report any inconsistencies rapidly.

Displayed information may be handled from the level of ERP systems, where appropriate details can be entered by construction engineers, technologists, process engineers, or quality control managers.

Products Configurable Online

Digitization allows the production of highly personalized goods in a flexible manner, at the same time keeping costs at the optimal level. Thanks to that, manufacturing companies want to be seen more as trading companies and reach the final customer, bypassing intermediaries.

For instance, an individual may order a garage gate or doors, and an enterprise may individually match appropriate electronic components, an air handling unit or soundproof booth, directly with a producer. They can do this online - either using a B2B platform or in an e-shop. For that purpose, e-commerce tools may include a product configurator, in which, through an appropriately prepared set of questions and answers, customers may create their own unique product.

Importantly, such a virtually designed product may automatically create a production technology in an ERP system. This is possible with the use of the product configurator functionality built in to ERP systems dedicated to manufacturing companies.

Once an order is placed, a manufacturing company may start to plan production following MPS or detailed scheduling - with no need to become engaged in the work done by technologists or construction engineers. It shortens the order processing time considerably, simultaneously lowering production costs.

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