Smart Manufacturing: Data is the Foundation

Maybe the title should really be ‘Fast Data is the Foundation’. In today’s economy, providing value is not the only requirement. The speed to that value is becoming more critical: being able to detect issues, make corrective actions, and optimize processes even faster.

Smart Manufacturing is the digitization in manufacturing to provide automation and advanced processes in a real-time environment; it is synonymous with Industry4.0 as we discussed in a previous blog. This digitization in manufacturing consists of three primary components: sensing, connecting, and predicting.

SEMI’s Smart Manufacturing Americas Chapter has developed this into three pillars with the value or ROI being the obvious goal. Doug Suerich, from PeerGroup, and I hosted the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion at SEMICON West this year and had numerous presentations from experienced manufacturing leaders highlighting the value in each of these pillars. Bobby Mitra, Worldwide Director of Smart Manufacturing at Texas Instruments, recently hosted the Global Smart Manufacturing Conference. He highlighted it is the signal not the actual sensor that is the foundation for these pillars. Taking it a step further, these signals are the data.

The difficulty is discerning the relevant data or signals from the growing vast volumes of data (i.e. Big Data), performing analytics, and then making the critical decisions to solve problems and provide value, as close to real-time as possible. This important data is dependent on the actual sensors, their location(s) in relation to the process or equipment, and the frequency and quality of the signal. In the illustration below presented by Bobby, the value is to find ‘early predictors’ to detect a future failure, as close to real-time as possible.

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