Digital Thread • June 23, 2016

iBase-t Discusses Big Data, Industry 4.0 and the Digital Thread at HxGN LIVE

iBase-t Experts

After four days of visionary keynotes and exhibitions, HxGN LIVE, an event created to spotlight Hexagon and its vast solutions portfolio came to a close. Inspired by this year’s theme, “Great Stories Start Here,” the Manufacturing Intelligence track at HxGN LIVE dived into the meaning of smart manufacturing during the Automation and Industry 4.0 Summit Keynote. Hosted by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence’s Paolo Guglielmini, this headline session featured an invited panel of industry experts which included iBase-t’s VP of Sales, Michel Gadbois.

Gadbois’ presentation, ‘Industry 4.0 and Surfing the Digital Thread’, examined current applications of smart processes in manufacturing while providing a compelling case for implementation. Addressing elevated consumer expectations and the need to manage the vast amount of Big Data provided within the Digital Thread, Gadbois’ provided session attendees with the following key takeaways:

Real-time Data Visibility Saves Millions

Mistakes in complex discrete manufacturing industries can have disastrous effect. During his presentation, Gadbois described an example of a quality incident on Space Shuttle Atlantis’ STS-115 Mission, and how real-time visibility allowed NASA to keep their Launch Window:

“One example of how [the Digital Thread] comes together to really change your environment is when NASA had to replace Antenna Belts on Shuttle Atlantis. The Belt replacement prior to Solumina (iBase-t’s software suite) would have meant delays that would have resulted in them losing their Launch window. This window loss would have costed NASA upwards of 15 million dollars.”

He went on to say,

20% of defects are raised due to a paperwork (as-built) recording error, omission or smudge.  The interesting fact is that the cost of correcting these is almost 80% the cost of resolving a physical defect due to the need for teardown, reassembly and re-documentation.”

The key here is catching issues at the right time so we can react to them fast. If it looks like there is any evidence that seems to point to manufacturing processes trending out of control, we must stop, make adjustments and improve. This type of capability can only occur with integrated tools that connect the design engineer, the process engineer, the technician and the customer in a Digital Thread of information.

The 4 Rules to Transform Data from Digital Thread

The Digital Thread is essentially a connected knowledge bank that ensures upon investing in your product and process definition all data will continue to flow smoothly. However, in order to prevent the Digital Thread from becoming a tangled mess, the following set of rules must be followed:

  1. Each Data Element can only have one master.
    The Digital Thread will have many contributors, yet each data element can only have one master.
  2. We will deliver only the data that is needed at each point in the Value Chain to enable a Quality Process.
    We must change our practices to deliver for each actor in the value chain only the information they need to perform their task at the highest quality level. Anything more will be a detractor.
  3. We will collect As Built/Test Data once. All collected data will travel unaltered.
    We know that strictly speaking, collecting and recording as-built data adds no additional value to the affected unit, nevertheless we cannot control our process without it. We must therefore ensure that once it is collected once, it must flow unaltered to all places that need it.
  4. Any new Data Collected will be validated in real-time.
    Once we have collected any data from our sensors or operators, we need to validate it immediately rather than at the end of the week or build cycle.

Following the rules above ensures we do precisely what we’re supposed to, in the sequence that we’re supposed to. Once these rules are implemented and followed, you will be able to take data in real-time and turn it into actionable intelligence that refines your processes with a closed-loop Digital Thread. Leveraging a framework for the Digital Thread allows you to streamline shop floor and supplier operations with existing machine communication technology. This Industry 4.0 Framework is the answer to controlling and optimizing your Complex Discrete Manufacturing Environment.

You can view the presentation here, Industry 4.0 and Surfing the Digital Thread.

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