Driving data for industry demand

As the manufacturer seeks better productivity on the factory floor, Bestech product specialist Jeremy Bryceson considers the role data acquisition is playing in industry growth globally.

Data logging is strengthening the global economy, according to international statistics, as manufacturers alike are adopting smarter sensor technology to record the way industry makes things.

The World Bank recently released a report predicting worldwide GDP growth in the coming year, as a result of better-monitored manufacturing plants.

Within the supply chain, the monitoring and recording of plant efficiency and the ability to track and trace a product from the source to consumer, provides manufacturers with a better understanding of their processes and therefore their cost base.

“The development of data acquisition systems has become more centred around digital connectivity – compatibility with PCs and other industrial interfaces, according to Jeremy Bryceson, product specialist for Bestech’s data acquisition systems.

“Interfaces, such as MODBUS, PROFIBUS, CAN, LIN, Ethernet, Ethercat, USB, RS485 and RS232 are now commonplace within manufacturing environments and users expect equipment to be able to interface directly with them.”

Sensors are key to this transition.  New technologies provide a broader range of sensing solutions than before, coupled with embedded digital interfaces they seamlessly connect between plant and control infrastructure.

However, how you use that data is important. Recognising where that data can benefit your business and its supply chain is vital if the investment is going to pay dividends.

“As we move towards industry 4.0,  sensor technologies – MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems) for example, are providing measurement solutions that are more affordable than they have ever been before,” Bryceson continued.

“The demand for better control of manufacturing processes is driving the use of sophisticated data acquisition technology in   production environments with a view to providing continuous, cost-effective monitoring.   

“Process monitoring systems provide manufacturers with the ability to both tune the production processes and identify potential problems with the plant in advance – thereby minimising repair costs and down time”.

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Bestech, the Australian sensor specialist, offers innovative wireless data acquisition technology which is popular in structural health monitoring.

“Our range of wireless products provide flexibility when digital integration is required in hard-to-access areas where continuous monitoring is a requirement,” Bryceson said.

“These solutions also have applications in a wide-range of other industries – for example in applications where a monitoring location may be very remote or where a cable-less monitoring solution is necessary”.

Turning data into revenue is the process that manufacturers are keen to understand, according to Bryceson.

Every piece of technology integrated into a manufacturing plant is done so to increase productivity, profitability and, therefore, to stay ahead of or abreast of supply chain competition.

However, for a company ambitious to grow, understanding where it is the most effective to implement these technologies is the first major step to sustaining, and increasing, economic growth.

Data demonstrates how a manufacturer is performing in its field of expertise and is therefore an imperative part of the company’s cash flow and annual financial reviews, too.

“At the quality control stage of a production process, data can provide the manufacturer with the ability to determine conforming and non-conforming product before goods are packed and shipped to a customer, saving both time and money in house and in the field,” Bryceson said.

“In the paper industry, an accurate thickness measurement is critical during manufacturing. High volume production means that a few microns error in paper thickness measurement over the course of several hours or days will result in substantially higher production costs and therefore significantly lower profit margins.

Sensor technology is widely considered as an essential resource within manufacturing industry, according to Bestech, which is partnering with manufacturers of faster and more accurate data acquisition equipment for R&D testing and development that will benefit the wider industry.

“Modern data acquisition technology can be easily integrated into traditional and high-tech manufacturing operations.  The use of such technology enables operators and engineers to work “smarter” – real data providing them with the baselines against which any process improvements made can be measured to establish their effectiveness. ” Bryceson continued