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With just a few weeks to go until Composites Innovation 2018 – Advances in Automation, NetComposites’ Communications Manager Siobhan Longhurst discussed where the composites industry is heading in terms of automation, and other industry trends, with Clive Chitiz of Plataine.
At Composites Innovation you’ll be talking about how the Internet of Things can be applied to manufacturing. Can you explain what is meant by the Internet of Things?
“The Internet of Things incorporates Artificial Intelligence practices such as machine learning and big data technology, harnessing the sensor data, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and automation technologies to drive further efficiencies and optimisation of manufacturing processes. The driving philosophy behind the Internet of Things is that smart machines can process massive amounts of information and are better than humans at solving complex problems accurately and consistently. Additionally, the data collected from sensors and machines can enable companies to pick up on inefficiencies and problems sooner, offering a solution to a problem before it occurs. In manufacturing specifically, the Internet of Things holds great potential for increased throughput, quality control, sustainable and green practices, supply chain traceability and overall supply chain efficiency.”
Presumably, there are strong synergies between an automated production process and Plataine’s data driven approach?
“Collecting massive amounts of data is a must in order to achieve total production optimisation. Manual and paper-based processes keep manufacturers from reviewing and using the data to optimise their operations. Production floors need to become fully automated and digitised, to allow data collection and real-time analysis of the data resulting in improved efficiencies, reduced quality issues and driving substantial savings of raw material and other costs.”
Scalability is one of the advantages of Plataine’s technology that you’ll be talking about. With high volume sectors such as automotive showing ever-increasing interest in composites, I’d imagine this is an important factor?
“Scalability is extremely important to support the rapidly increasing production volumes as well as more and more information we’d like to collect on the factory floor. If you add to that the fact that most organisations have multiple manufacturing sites spread around the globe, you get the real importance of scalability. Plataine’s software solutions use state-of-the-art technologies combining cutting-edge computing that enables filtering and most of the processing on-premise. In addition, it relies on the most advanced cloud computing technologies to store and process massive amount of data. The Cloud also allows for the construction of a complete, virtual manufacturing supply chain connecting all sites for global organisations.”
When it comes to the implementation of a ‘connected’ factory, does the composites industry bring any unique challenges or opportunities compared to other industries?
“The composites industry brings a few unique challenges and opportunities. To start with it involves several manufacturing technologies that employ manual processes in some cases and a variety of robots and machines in others. Connecting all processes and inputs from such different processes and standardising the data into a coherent knowledge-base is a key challenge. Additionally the time-sensitive nature of many composite materials such as prepregs dictates quick decision making. Reaching an optimal decision, for example, using a specific material roll for a work order might require looking at hundreds of data sets. This is impossible for the average human to do but brings the opportunity for smart software and ‘Digital Assistants’ to help factory floor operators to make the optimal selection and minimise expiration of material and scrap.”
Finally, what are you hoping to get out of the conference?
“I am looking forward to networking with industry peers, making new contacts, discussing industry trends, sharing experiences and creating a greater awareness of Plataine’s industry leading manufacturing solutions.”
With vast and diverse experience spanning multiple industries including COO roles at Atir and NetGame, Campaign Director in South Africa of Keren Hayesod and VP Product Marketing at HLC (SA), NetComposites is pleased to welcome Clive on board to share his expertise at Composites Innovation 2018.
Composites Innovation 2018 – Advances in Automation takes place on 20-21 June in Nottingham, UK.
Image provided by NetComposites Ltd
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