3 Key Challenges Facing Internet of Manufacturing (IoM)

June 7, 2016

Driven by rising labor rates and a demand for greater reliability, efficiency, and yield, modern EMS factories are harnessing sensor technologies and software systems to seamlessly integrate all elements of the manufacturing process including machines, materials, people and enterprise systems.

Last month our team attended the first Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) Conference at the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA where decision makers, influencers, and thought leaders debated the fast-emerging factory automation systems known as Industry 4.0 or IoM.

Although Industry 4.0 is a long-term vision, we believe that that use of big data to improve the process and traceability of the product will become mainstream in the next few years. Moreover, it is critical that EMS manufacturers begin to define their smart factory road map or risk becoming uncompetitive in the future. We'd like to share 3 key challenges surrounding the IoM frontier along with strategic solutions to prepare for this inevitable transition.

#1 Network Security: Transition to the Cloud

The fear of compromising network security ties data down to the server, ultimately eliminating opportunities for universal access. This flaw hinders the transparency of information and real-time insights across factories worldwide.

The Smart Factory will not be born overnight, but rather progressively developed over time. We anticipate that in the early stages smart factory technologies will remain tied to the server; however, as EMS factories achieve more confidence in security, the industry will start to utilize the cloud in the Internet of Manufacturing (IoM) space to take full advantage of smart factory technology potential.

#2 Industry Standardization

As opposed to waiting for a 3rd party organization to release universal standards, we believe that the framework for smart factories will be defined by key industry leaders such as FUJI or ASM.

FUJI has already set the stage for Factory 4.0 with an infrastructure compatible for 3rd  party machine-to-machine communication. Recently, FUJI has partnered with Saki America, a leader in test and inspection, to improve PCB Manufacturing production and efficiency. Fuji’s Managing Executive Officer, Shinsuke Suhara shares that “by Fuji standardizing the communication protocol between AOI machines and electronic component mounters, SAKI automated inspection machines can connect to Fuji’s Smart Factory with Nexim Software to create a production placing system that extends beyond the boundaries of corporations.” Read More >>

This is just one real-time example of overcoming the concerns of standardization and achieving a highly efficient manufacturing process while minimizing cost. As you begin to define your Smart Factory road map, we highly recommend establishing smart factory compatibility criteria for future investments and current assets. Luckily, all current FUJI users of NXT & AIMEX platforms are built to fit a smart factory model.

#3 Data Crisis. You can't keep everything!

Our digital universe is growing exponentially. By 2020, 44 ZB (1 ZB = 1 Trillion GB) will be generated from the Internet of Things (IoT). As the manufacturing world becomes more data-centric, OEM companies are facing a significant storage dilemma. The majority of manufacturers lack the resources to invest in their own data center; therefore, it is necessary to develop a selective storage strategy.

This reality significantly drives industries with inherent risk and liability such as automotive and medical device manufacturers. For example, in 2016 general protocol requires that X-ray and AOI data generated from each PCB board be archived for a minimum of 7 years. Through a recent case study of a Lean Stream customers, test and inspection data was estimated to be 52,800,000 MB per year. As you can imagine, this protocol creates an unavoidable data storage issue.

How do we determine what to save and what not to save? Saki's General Manager, John Satoshi Otake encourages customers to be selective by targeting only "Red Flag" or "Yellow Flag" information for overall cost effectiveness.

The Fiber of Factory Automation:  Nexim Software

We believe that FUJI is a key influencer currently defining standards for the 4th industrial revolution known as Factory 4.0.

Fuji began developing the Smart Factory concept 5 years ago to increase the profits of users by eliminating placement defects and minimizing the TCO (total cost of ownership) through automated, connected, and streamlined processes.

The goal for FUJI's Smart Factory is not just to completely automate the production process from the delivery of parts to the shipping of the final product, but to establish interconnectivity between all electronics assembly processes through Nexim Software. Learn More >>

Questions? Our President, Robert Jones would be glad to consult with your team to define your smart factory roadmap. Schedule your consultation today!