Data Analytics Gives Manufacturing Plants Insights for Continuous Improvement

Posted by John Scheible on Jan 29, 2019, 10:28:15 AM

Continuous Improvement on the Metal Gears on Black Background.

Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) promise to make more data and better analytic applications available for industry.  Driven by high powered analytics, including machine learning and artificial intelligence engines, both promise operational benefits including lower costs through improved Key Performance Indicators (KPI), such as First Pass Yield, Non-Standard Downtime or Overall Equipment Effectiveness. 

However, despite the investments in data capture and analytics, the industry faces a daunting challenge when attempting to drive continuous improvement, given the amount, types and lack of context in most manufacturing data.  The result on the shop floor is often characterized by data overload and inaction. 

Key Questions for Continuous Improvement

Plant operations staff need to confidently answer challenging questions such as:

Answers to these lead to actions not only to improve KPIs of current manufacturing, but also to the development of more robust designs for future products. If there are multiple lines or plants, making products the same way across various work centers is an additional essential objective.

In the paper, Data Analytics Gives Manufacturing Plants Insights for Continuous Improvement, we present a proven strategy for continuous improvement in manufacturing that can provide

(1) insights into process variability,

(2) correlations with product quality measures,

(3) real-time statistical process control (SPC),

(4) hierarchically structured data for regulatory compliance, and

(5) powerful machine learning algorithms to handle massive and disparate data common in process industries. 

Incorporation of this strategy into Continuous Improvement systems (Lean Six Sigma) has led to bottom line improvements in hundreds of work centers in a global infrastructure. 

An example from a Chemical Reactor is presented to illustrate the methodology and application in both an on premise and cloud-based environment. Techniques are utilized employing both univariate and machine learning algorithms to illustrate how to explore and monitor complex manufacturing data sets.

Key Learnings:

Data Analytics including Machine Learning algorithms can deliver breakthrough improvements by making the data exploration phase efficient and real-time monitoring and prediction easy. As the Internet of Things (IoT) multiplies the volume and type of data available to process manufacturers, these analytic algorithms provide capability to continuously improve and optimize manufacturing operations.

Inspection of univariate control charts exposes underlying process variability. Coupled with event synchronized drill downs to the time domain, operations teams can deploy real time SPC. Machine Learning techniques offer powerful algorithms that can generate insights into process variability and correlation to quality measures. These can lead to enhanced understanding of process variability, predictions of process failures, product correlations, and insights to improve future products with reduced commercialization times and more robustness in full scale production.

This paper has been accepted for presentation at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ 2019 Spring Meeting and 15th Global Congress on Process Safety. Join us at the event or click below to download your free copy of the white paper!

Download the Process Monitor White Paper

Topics: Manufacturing, Trends, Quality, Process Monitor, IIoT

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The goal of this blog is to be helpful to readers by providing useful information about applications in industrial engineering, design and skilled trades, as well as industry knowledge. We're passionate about manufacturing in the United States. We have a little fun with it too.  

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