| Written by Mark Buzinkay

The manufacturing industry is rapidly evolving, and companies must keep up to remain competitive. Automation can provide several benefits, such as increased efficiency, improved product quality, and cost savings. In addition, by transitioning traditional industrial practices to an Industry 4.0 standard with minimal investment, manufacturers can gain a significant edge over their competitors in today's changing landscape. This paper will discuss the steps businesses should take to create an automated factory, as well as the potential benefits they may experience when doing so.
Automated manufacturing

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Evaluating the Current State of the Factory

Before transitioning traditional manufacturing practices to an Industry 4.0-compliant factory, it is essential to evaluate the current state of operations. This involves assessing existing processes and systems, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and asking questions such as: What can be automated? Where are there opportunities for improvement? So maybe this is a good time for a valuable lesson - the Gemba walk.

To better understand the current situation, factory personnel should conduct interviews with employees, examine records and reports, take inventory of machinery and equipment, assess workflow patterns, inspect safety protocols, and analyze quality control data. Answering these questions will help set realistic goals for the automation process and identify areas of opportunity. Once this evaluation has been completed, businesses can start planning their transition to an automated facility.


Researching Potential Technologies

Once the factory has been evaluated and goals have been established, businesses can begin researching potential technologies to help automate processes. This involves exploring digital solutions such as software programming, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning that could be beneficial to their operations. When evaluating different solutions, it is also essential to consider factors like cost, scalability, user-friendliness, security features, potentially disruptive elements, and customer service.

At this stage of the process, it is also helpful to consult with industry experts who may be able to provide valuable insights into what technologies will best optimize specific manufacturing practices. By taking the time to research solutions tailored to a business's individual needs, the automation process will be more efficient and effective in the long run.


Establishing a Budget and Clear Goals

Once the desired technologies have been identified, it is crucial to establish a budget for purchasing and implementing them. This involves taking into account the cost of the technology and any additional costs associated with installation, training, maintenance, and repairs. It is also necessary to create clear goals for how these technologies will be used in order to maximize their potential benefits.

For example, if creating an automated system that can produce consistent product quality is the primary goal, then businesses should focus on investing in solutions that can improve accuracy and reduce variability. By setting measurable objectives before investing in an automation solution, companies can ensure that their chosen technology will help them reach their goals and improve efficiency.


Benefits of Automating Manufacturing Processes and Industry 4.0

By 2025, automation is expected to handle 50% of manufacturing tasks. This projection underscores the significant role that automation is poised to play in the industry's future, emphasizing that automation is not just a futuristic idea but an imminent reality reshaping manufacturing workflows. It serves as a prompt for manufacturers to proactively adapt by investing in automation technologies and preparing for a rapidly transforming sector (1).

The benefits of automating manufacturing processes include increased productivity, improved product quality, greater accuracy, reduced costs, and enhanced safety. Automation allows for greater precision in production processes while eliminating the need for manual labour. This leads to faster turnaround times and more efficient use of resources. Investing in automation solutions also reduces downtime due to errors or malfunctions since machines are less likely to make mistakes than humans.

In addition, automated systems are designed with advanced security features that protect data from unauthorized access and cyber threats. By integrating automation into the manufacturing process, businesses can future-proof their operations and remain competitive in a rapidly changing market.

Industry 4.0 is a term used to describe the shift towards greater automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It reflects the evolution of traditional manufacturing processes into more efficient, integrated systems that rely on cyber-physical technology and interconnected "smart" devices (read also about RTLS tracking). This shift offers businesses numerous benefits, including improved operational efficiency, increased customer satisfaction, cost savings, enhanced safety protocols, and access to real-time data analytics.

Manufacturing facilities employing industrial IoT automation achieve a 15% increase in overall production output. This statistic highlights the substantial impact of automation on manufacturing efficiency and competitiveness. Adopting industrial IoT automation not only enhances production but also offers a considerable advantage in the marketplace. This figure serves as a compelling motivation for manufacturers to embrace automation to capitalize on its potential and maintain a competitive edge (1).

With Industry 4.0 technologies such as AI, machine learning, robotics process automation (RPA), cloud computing, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, businesses can optimize their operations for maximum productivity with minimal manual effort. By integrating these advanced technologies into their production cycle, manufacturers are able to reduce downtime and increase output, leading to higher profitability. In addition, connected devices enable businesses to monitor their operations in real-time and identify potential problems before they impact production.

Concluding, automating manufacturing processes offers numerous benefits that can help companies remain competitive in today's fast-paced market. By investing in technology solutions tailored to the individual needs of a business, manufacturers can improve operational efficiency and product quality while reducing costs. In addition, industry 4.0 technologies offer even more advantages, such as enhanced safety protocols and real-time data analytics (see also: Asset tracking RFID software). Taking advantage of these advances will ensure that businesses remain at the forefront of innovation and remain ahead of their competitors in the long run.

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automated manufacturing

The open locating standard omlox

Omlox (2) is an open-source locating standard that provides a universal tracking and positioning system for industrial devices. It combines digital maps, radio frequencies, and other technologies to create a single unified platform that can be used across multiple industries. Omlox enables device manufacturers to quickly and easily build location-aware products that can interact with each other in real-time.

The open-source standard allows for greater interoperability between different systems by enabling them to communicate using predefined protocols. This increases accuracy in identifying objects' locations, making it easier for businesses to track their assets in real time. Additionally, omlox helps reduce the cost of implementing location-based solutions since it eliminates the need for expensive hardware or software integration.

Other benefits of omlox include improved safety, increased security and reduced maintenance. In addition, its open-source nature allows for greater customization and scalability, making it a viable option for any business that needs to track objects in real-time. This enables businesses to quickly deploy and maintain accurate tracking systems without investing heavily in additional infrastructure.

Overall, omlox is a powerful technology that aids businesses in their transition to Industry 4.0 standards by facilitating seamless communication between digital systems. With its open industry standard, omlox gives businesses the flexibility to customize their production processes and maximize efficiency in order to stay ahead of the competition. When choosing a solution for industry 4.0 projects, be sure to select omlox-compatible systems like Asset Agent.



In conclusion, automating traditional industrial practices and transitioning them to an Industry 4.0 standard is essential for staying ahead of the competition in today's dynamic business environment. By taking the time to evaluate current processes, researching potential technologies, and creating a clear plan with measurable goals, companies can make this transition without incurring high costs or disruption. Doing so will not only improve efficiency and enhance product quality but also create a more secure and cost-effective manufacturing process that future-proofs business operations for years to come.

Steps to Process Improvement

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(1) https://gitnux.org/automation-in-manufacturing-statistics/

(2) https://omlox.com/

Note: This article was updated on the 24th of April 2024




Mark Buzinkay, Head of Marketing

Mark Buzinkay holds a PhD in Virtual Anthropology, a Master in Business Administration (Telecommunications Mgmt), a Master of Science in Information Management and a Master of Arts in History, Sociology and Philosophy. Mark