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Factory Intelligence: Looking Beyond the Model-Based Enterprise

Successful manufacturing depends on speed, accuracy and efficiency. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through seamless collaboration between people and machines – also known as factory intelligence.

In a recently published white paper by Mitutoyo, ‘Factory Intelligence: Looking Beyond the Model-Based Enterprise,’ Mitutoyo shares how innovations like model-based definitions and hyper-accurate metrology expand what’s possible in manufacturing.

Towards the Model-Based Enterprise

Since people live and think in three dimensions, the model-based enterprise is a logical next step. Factory intelligence relies on model-based definitions (MBDs), which are 3D representations of an object or system that can be consumed by a smart machine. These MBDs, also referred to as digital twins, have the shape, size and product manufacturing information (PMI) that defines how to build and measure the item. MBDs are digital twins of the part, assembly or end product to be manufactured.

The model-based enterprise hinges on using these 3D MBDs throughout the product lifecycle. Physical prototypes simply can’t be manufactured quickly or efficiently enough to keep pace with manufacturing demands. MBDs can enable product engineers to model, measure, test and refine at every stage, reducing the time or expense of developing physical prototypes.

A model-based enterprise entails faster feedback loops that enable better collaboration and decision making among engineers. With faster cycles, teams can improve production, shorten schedules, reduce errors and miscommunications and save money. And products can make it to market faster than ever.

Why Measurement Matters

Factory intelligence hinges on data – and that data must be accurate and reliable. That’s where measurement comes in. Precise measurement can optimize both the process and the product by pinpointing inefficiencies and minimizing variation. A quality product conforms to its requirements, each and every time. And the best way to ensure continued quality is through prevention that catches defects before they make it down the line. Many factories set their performance standard at zero defects, which demands ongoing measurement. The most intelligent factories strategically incorporate measurement into their processes at every step for continual refinement, optimization and control. Doing so mitigates risk by improving detection and decreasing occurrence. Better measurement catches potential trouble earlier, before it makes it to customers.

Getting Ready for Factory Intelligence

Factory intelligence doesn’t have to be daunting to your budget. You can extend your existing investments (in both people and technology) to prepare for factory intelligence. Your machines can be upskilled to become smart machines through software updates. Likewise, existing programmers can learn new skills and apply their experience to become planners responsible for orchestrating your smarter factory

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