Industry 4.0 is underway and gaining momentum as data extraction and analysis are an increasingly integral part of the manufacturing process.

February 21, 2023

Manufacturing Facilities Extract Data to Drive Industry 4.0 Productivity

Whether in one factory or an international network of them, data lets manufacturers make smart decisions, do more with less and improve operations.


Editor’s note: is celebrating Engineers Week 2023 by leveraging the expertise of our nearly 200 engineers daily to address this year’s theme, “Creating the Future,” which recognizes how engineers play a vital role in innovating solutions to global challenges facing future generations. Today, we look at the data-driven manufacturing revolution known as Industry 4.0.

The fourth Industrial Revolution, aka Industry 4.0, is well underway.

The first Industrial Revolution was created by steam power, the second by electric power and steel production and the third by computers and the internet.

Industry 4.0 is all about data – collecting, analyzing, and using it to improve services and production.

"Data has become a huge driver," said Don Kocher, Haskell’s Director of Packaging Automation.

Don Kocher HeadshotKocher said that Haskell clients are increasingly expecting more data from their equipment centers and production lines. But every client has different needs and wants varying levels of complexity.

"For Haskell, it means asking good questions at the front end of a project, so we understand their needs," Kocher said. "Some clients are very tech savvy and really want to integrate elements of Industry 4.0 early on in the project. Others want to go in lean and keep it functional and cost-effective. So, we have to understand what kind of connectivity or specialized equipment, like sensors, they'll need and integrate it into the specifications."

In packaging, Kocher explained, you start with a piece of base equipment, not unlike the base model of a car. Then Haskell takes the specs and works with the equipment vendors to determine the options. For example, additions to the equipment might include programming to mine specific data, identify jams or analyze vibrations to determine a maintenance schedule.

The challenge to working with digital technology, he said, is that it is constantly changing. Some of the large design-build projects Haskell does can take two to three years.

"What is a popular solution today might change in two or three years," Kocher said. "The client has to pick a direction, and we go down that path together."

A big part of Industry 4.0 is integration, ensuring that all equipment is functioning well and generating relevant data. That means different things for different clients. For a small company, everything might happen at one location inside four walls.

"A manufacturer might have an ineffective piece of equipment that's losing them money, so they think they should add another line," he said. "But if you can use data from the equipment, you might be able to get more production from the existing line and not make a $15 million investment in a new line."

Other companies have networks of facilities across the country and want a bigger-picture view so they can make better decisions.

"Now you're pushing data to the cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) comes into play," Kocher said.

“They might be having trouble with a machine in one facility but can offset it by increasing production at another facility and use data from a similar machine in the system to improve the machine that is running poorly.”

In years past, if a problem occurred, a warning light would illuminate, one maintenance team would diagnose what was wrong and another team would fix it. Now, data can identify a problem quickly and pinpoint its location. The machine can diagnose itself and walk the operator through a reset, similar to a copy machine saying where it is jammed.

"Our clients can use data to drive best practices and performance with fewer people," Kocher said. "Data allows you to do more with less, to make smart decisions and improve manufacturing. Data is always there to help drive decisions, and at the end of the day, help manufacturers meet increased demand."

Haskell’s process and packaging teams design and integrate best-in-class solutions that leverage cutting-edge technology. Contact them to discuss your production needs and pain points.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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