‘Smart’ manufacturing. That’s nothing new, right? Manufacturing already utilises a complex series of interconnectivity and technology, even automation.

However, smart manufacturing is the future of manufacturing, and it’s not as simple as using automated machines.

Smart manufacturing is a primary part of Industry 4.0, a new era we’re already living that involves the integration of man with machine.

The reality behind smart manufacturing

Smart manufacturing uses artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, machine and data automation and even blockchain to streamline the manufacturing process. The smart manufacturing process instantly forecasts and problem solves issues. It does this all as part of the ‘smart factory’.

In traditional manufacturing, an extensive amount of time is dedicated to solving problems. In smart manufacturing, on the other hand, the problems ultimately solve themselves through intelligent and complex computing.

The digitalization of manufacturing, in fact, is a combination of parts. The ideal ‘smart manufacturing’ process utilises:

  • AI. Artificial intelligence brings forecasting and intelligent problem-solving into machinery.
  • Automation. The automation in the smart factory is not traditional. It goes further than that – everything is automated and remote. The factory is essentially autonomous.
  • Blockchain. With all these self-sufficient machines, there has to be a way to secure them from external attack. That’s where blockchain comes in. Blockchain is a secure, decentralised ledger which is extremely resistant to manipulation.
  • Internet of Things. In the smart factory, everything is connected. Different mechanics all work in harmony. Data is integrated from all of these different machines, therefore allowing for a more up-to-date system that can instantly solve issues.

Should we be relying on smart factories?

The smart factory does not inherently remove the human worker. Even intelligent machines need remote assistance and supervision. Merely, it means that there can be less labourers putting themselves in dangerous and tedious situations in factories. This also optimises productivity, as machines work around the clock.

As with smart mining, however, the change for manufacturers doesn’t have to be instantaneous. The innovative move to the entirely smart factory starts with small implementations.

Smart manufacturing does not exist in isolation. In Industry 4.0, everything will be smart – including supply chains. To help with the ease of creating a smart factory, the entire supply chain should be digital and integrate easily with the smart factory process.

Supply chains are complex and made up of different actors. That’s why digitalization is ideal for the supply/value chain system: it centralises data in one place so that it isn’t lost. Combined with smart manufacturing, this creates a seamless and largely autonomous process.

At Blockhead, we’re making supply chains digital with our platform STAMP Supply™. STAMP Supply™ is blockchain-enabled and it integrates with any existing systems. Interested? Click here to find out more, or contact us here to see a demo.