With several competitors mushrooming into your area of operations, it’s prudent to ensure that your manufacturing facilities run efficiently. This ensures that you can stay head and shoulders above other brands, raking in revenue to make your manufacturing business thrive.

For this to happen, manufacturers need to know everything about their factory floor and its operation in various situations. And the best way to keep a finger on the pulse of your operation is manufacturing data collection.

This allows businesses to glean actionable data, making insightful decisions to improve operations.

Industry 4.0 technologies are revolutionizing data collection for manufacturers. By tapping into the growing interconnectivity between machines and other points of data origin, businesses can obtain real-time data.

And as a result, decisions can be made instantly, leaving no room for the line to grind to a halt, denting the business’ ability to reel in income.

Read on to find out what manufacturing data collection entails, its benefits, and how to weave it into your operation for the best results.

What types of data should you collect?

When it comes to manufacturing data collection, emphasis shouldn’t necessarily stop on the machines on the shop floor. Instead, you need to widen the scope to capture more data that better represents the manufacturing operation.

Therefore, these are the kinds of data you should keep your eye on:

  • Machine data: This kind of data lies at the center of your business. If you don’t know what’s going on with the machines on the factory floor, it becomes more challenging to optimize the manufacturing process. Here, data collection entails determining Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), machine run- plus down-times, throughput, and the quality and performance of the various machines along the production line.

  • Order data: This provides a snapshot of ordered items and your plant’s progress in ensuring that the given order is completed. In other words, order data keeps you apprised of the order fulfillment process, showing items completed, those that have been rejected and those remaining to be manufactured.

  • Material data: In this kind of data, a business can keep tabs on the inventory. With this information in hand, manufacturers can make informed decisions regarding the supply, consumption and stocking of various materials. As a result, material data plays a crucial role in the inventory management aspect of the manufacturing operation.

  • Tool data: When manufacturers want to assess the health of their equipment, tool data comes to the fore. After all, the tools directly affect the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of the products. So, a bit like machine data, this type includes the time in use and downtime. However, it also adds maintenance time to its ranks, plus instrument-specific data like the number of cycles run by the tool.

  • Personnel data: Despite the advanced technology used in manufacturing, factories still need boots on the floor to operate or look after some machinery. This kind of manufacturing data comprises the number of employees, the time worked and the number of items produced. As such, a manufacturing business can determine labor productivity, personnel costs per hour, and personnel cost per item.

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Tulip's analytics capabilities allow you to display key manufacturing performance metrics in real-time.

Analyzing this data provides a clear picture of the entire manufacturing process, allowing management to optimize the operation to reap various benefits.

Speaking of…

Benefits of a data-driven manufacturing environment

Here are the most significant plus points for your business resulting from data collection for manufacturing.

  • Reduced manufacturing costs

  • Modern technologies make for accurate data collection for effective use

  • Real-time reports allow for timely decisions by personnel on the ground and managers

  • Advanced manufacturing data collection helps in increasing production line efficiency

  • Data collection plays a crucial role in stock and inventory management

  • Personnel data allows for fair and adequate wages and remuneration

  • Improved customer satisfaction through accurate order data and order prioritization

  • Improved product quality through constant production line optimization

  • Identification of new business models to get a step on the competition

  • Increased equipment and personnel safety through preventive maintenance and timely repairs

How to improve data collection in your facilities

As we’ve seen above, basing your manufacturing operation decisions on collected data breathes new life into your business. However, it can also be detrimental to your overall business if you collect erroneous data.

Therefore, you need to implement sound but straightforward data collection systems to safeguard data integrity. After all, if you install collection systems with complicated input, inconsistent accuracy becomes a factor.

And here’s how you can collect data while ensuring that it presents an accurate picture of what exists on the factory floor.

  • IoT-enabled sensors in relevant machines for accurate real-time collection

  • Line Human Machine Interface (HMI); touchscreen displays that allow human input for data contextualization

  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) for accurate and consistent control of the production line

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