Metal fabrication involves a range of processes: cutting, burning, welding, machining, forming, and final assembly. Producers range from small job shops to multinational conglomerates.A backyard press in rural China could be making components destined for cars in Europe, or port installations in East Africa. Challenges and opportunities can be global in scale and local in impact. New alloys and manufacturing techniques, market transformation, counterfeiting and environmental pressures are among today’s challenges.
Performance and efficiency
Forming and processing durable materials is energy intensive. Profitability is often marginal. Essential fluids, including lubricants and solvents are expensive and hazardous and must be kept out of the environment.
Real-time monitoring will detect deviation from performance specification. Unexplained temperature variations in machinery should be alerted automatically, without waiting for breakdowns, polluting leakages, expensive repairs and unscheduled downtime.
Forecasting demand is hard. Material lead times can be long. High inventory levels give security but tie up capital. Excess time in any process is costly. Profitability and competitiveness require inventory levels to be balanced against actual demand.
Real time, paperless visibility of production processes, downtime alerts and collaborative messaging within the factory ensure operational transparency and efficiency. Clear visibility helps to identify opportunities to shorten process time and take out waste. Shorter job times enhance responsiveness to market conditions and reduce the need for a large inventory.
Production floors can be dangerous places. Problems with machinery can cause accident or injury, if undetected. Employee behaviour is crucial in maintaining a safe work environment.
Real time monitoring will provide reliable data on machine conditions. Collaborative messaging and operator monitoring ensures compliance with performance standards.
Pollution and compliance
Essential fluids are potentially hazardous, to operators and the environment. Poor fluid condition compromises machine performance. Excessive consumption and replacement compromises profitability.
Real-time industrial fluid condition monitoring, linked directly to production planning software, maintains machine performance and extends maintenance intervals and equipment lifetime. Automated data collection reduces downtime and helps to cut energy consumption.
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