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To work effectively, this concept requires a standardization of platforms in both communications and languages used.

INTEGRATION IN PRACTICE While the big data idea overwhelms most managers, technicians and operators alike, the key is the manipulation of that data in a hierarchy of need, to borrow a term from the psychology world. The mobile device, tablet, cell phone and now the HMI screen itself can all be useful tools in transmitting the most important data from the shop floor to the top floor, or just down the hall to the front office. We say that for a reason, as the small shop owner would be well advised to heed this trend and respond appropriately. That action might take the form of using an integrator to tie all the machine functions and outputs together for that day when his OEM or upper tier customer demands it. In many industrial sectors, that day has already arrived. Also, the cybersecurity issue cannot be understated, as we will soon see a shift from the open to the closed cloud for data storage in a factory or shop network. The protection of your intellectual property remains paramount, on a global scale, today. To overlook that reality is to compromise the stability and security of your company. “Remaining competitive” takes on many meanings, depending on your location in the world, but here are some thoughts on how manufacturers can do it better today. By the time you finish reading this column, another entrepreneur will have figured out a way to make it happen for his or her company. Time-to-market reduction is as critical today as ever. Shorter innovation cycles, the result of new product lifecycle management software and services available to companies both big and small, mean the savvy product companies can take their concept and make it fly in just a fraction of the time spent in the past — and by “past”, we mean compared to about ten years ago. With the recent, rapid expansion of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) capability, much more functionality can be built into a product today and this means the manufacturing community must be even more flexible and responsive, not merely reactive, than ever before. With the “big data” impact that has resulted from the above scenario, both machine and component manufacturers are challenged in many ways, not the least of which is the daunting task of deciphering the important or exceptional from the nominal. A quality ERP or MES system can tell you what you need to know, but the keys are the determining factors that make up the inputs to these

systems and how their priorities are set. From our perspective in the motion control and communication platform world, where customers task us with the control, generation or application of movement on everything from a machine tool to a packaging line, from an automotive assembly line to a turnkey book printing facility, we see a great variety of needs among OEMs as well as end-users in these various segments. All of them require flexibility and often highly-customized solutions to their manufacturing or processing challenges. Plus, maintaining high productivity on aging equipment is a constant concern for every company. Do they need to retrofit their existing machine or invest in a new one? Are enhanced robotics and transfer mechanisms or more personnel required on the line? Should they focus on better asset management or an entirely new business model, when thinking about their factories or processing facilities? Today, as the digital factory emerges in all industries and at companies of all sizes, we find ourselves providing answers to these questions, based on not only product, but also software, communication, bus protocol and other areas of manufacturing expertise.

UTILIZATION OF THE DATA TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE TODAY It’s now a popular saying that “data drives utilization.” Using data smartly, however, requires an educated workforce that can take product design and turn it into viable and profitable production for the employer, regardless of the machine, widget, chemistry or package being produced. In a world dictated by product lifecycle management needs, the correlation between design, production planning, output and delivery, plus the monitoring of usage and returns in the field, has never been more important, but also never more manageable, given the new tools available from both product and service providers in the market today.

www.IndustrialMachineryDigest.com

| QUARTER 1, 2018 | IMD |

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Industrial Machinery Digest Quarterly - IMD Quarter-1, 2018  

Robotics, Automation for Job shops, Machine Shope, production line manufacturing. Visit IndustrialMachineryDigest.com for additional metal m...

Industrial Machinery Digest Quarterly - IMD Quarter-1, 2018  

Robotics, Automation for Job shops, Machine Shope, production line manufacturing. Visit IndustrialMachineryDigest.com for additional metal m...

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