CASE STUDY
Visualization Efforts Pave the Way for Predictive Analytics

Using industry 4.0 solutions, Hargrove Controls & Automation helped their client gain process clarity.

OBJECTIVE: The client’s goal was to gain a roadmap for improving data retrieval and analytics. They wanted to be able to trace the reasons for quality issues they might experience, increase efficiency and quality, and understand any reliability problems that could arise.

Another key objective was to offload work for their labor force, instead of adding on additional responsibilities and duties from this project.

CHALLENGE: There were two key factors that needed to be addressed in order to achieve their objective.

The group lacked visibility into running processes in their plants, which prevented timely responses to quality and reliability issues. Their current data collection methods were also labor intensive and posed potential cybersecurity risks.

In addition to their main data visibility/access problems, they were facing another industry problem: labor shortages. Sites were constrained and it seemed like there were never enough people to do everything that needed to be done. The client understood that if they could reduce the amount of time that employees were troubleshooting and simply getting production running, they could complete more value-added tasks.

BACKGROUND:  A global manufacturing company wanted to improve its production processes and data management using Industry 4.0 technologies. The company recognized the need to enhance visibility in its plant processes, as their manual data collection methods were labor-intensive and posed cybersecurity risks. Their engineers were using USB sticks to transfer data, which was inefficient and a security concern. The company also wanted to address labor constraints and focus on value-added tasks.

SOLUTION: Implementing Virtualization Technologies

Hargrove Controls & Automation implemented virtualization technologies to reduce hardware requirements and add a cloud-based industrial AI platform for real-time process analysis. By using industry 3.0 technology and 4.0 concepts, the company gained insights into equipment performance and identified issues that required attention.

The end goal is a single portal where they can view process, business, maintenance, and laboratory data. This data should be organized and, in many cases, pre-filtered and pre-summarized by AI so that personnel can look at the data and immediately understand what’s going on, not just with their process, but their business, too.

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Results: Production Efficiency Gains & Improved Worker Efficiency

The company’s digitalization journey led to production efficiency gains and improved worker efficiency. Several facilities have already benefited from these improvements and have ongoing plans for further enhancements. The manufacturer recognizes the importance of becoming a data-driven organization to adapt to changing labor forces and aims to create a single platform for collating and analyzing data.

Read the original article titled, “Process clarity achieved using Industry 4.0 solutions” from Control Engineering.

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