Last week I attended IMTS, which is a large advanced manufacturing show focused on machine tools. And I learned something interesting: Depending on who you talk to only 3% – 8% of the worlds manufacturing equipment is connected to a network. Over the last 10 years most companies have offered some kind of connectivity solution but few customers purchase or use it.
Now is the time to change that. Even if you are not planning any automated data collection or Manufacturing Analytics projects in the next two years, rest assured you will want it in the in the next 5 years.
Why Connectivity Matters
We are predicting a large increase in demand for automated data collection and reporting over the next 5 years. It will be the only way small to medium sized companies can compete with globalization.
Customers will demand price decreases; industries will be disrupted by the manufactures that can leverage their data. The companies that don’t use their data will be quickly left behind.
The biggest barrier manufactures face today with data collection projects is connectivity. Adding the connectivity options to existing later can be expensive, require downtime and software upgrades.
Future Proof your Equipment
Buying this equipment with network connectivity and having it programed to collect the data you need is essential. Many industries, like machine tools, have developed standard so their machines don’t have to be custom programmed, but they don’t always advertise it you have to ask.
You are basically future proofing your equipment it is the equivalent of buying computers with network cards or an HD ready TV back in the 90s. The completely networked shop floor is coming fast and you should be prepared
There are challenges that need to be solved before connecting all your machines to the network. Security should be your first priority. There are also protocol differences between equipment, depending on age, version and who manufactured it.
Luckily companies like SensrTrx have solved most of the connectivity issues. SensrTrx and others like us can talk to over 100+ different protocols, PLCs and machines going back 15 to 20 years. You may still need to make hardware and software investments to make these older machines connected, which is why we suggest any new machine you buy make sure you can connect it to the network and is collecting the data you need to understand how it is running.