Wednesday, April 13, 2016

APC|M Europe: Driving Decisions with Automated Workflow and R

Mark Gorman of Seagate Technology presented "Driving Decisions with Automated Workflow and R" on April 13 at the 16th Annual European Advanced Control and Manufacturing (apc|m) Conference. The presentation provided an overview of the value and capabilities gained by Seagate using Savigent Software and R.

The rise of automated workflow in the manufacturing industry has lead to a shift in the way companies approach Business Process Management (BPM). Automation of workflow promotes improved operational efficiency, traceability and standardization across an organization. Now it is time for the industry to take automation to the next level.

By incorporating data analysis and contextualization with workflow, companies can extract additional value both from existing infrastructure and from the large volumes of data being produced daily. The benefits of embedding analysis in workflow include faster response speed to events, improved detection and containment strategies and rapid root cause analysis.

Savigent's Platform has been providing workflow automation within Seagate's manufacturing facilities for five years, enabling the manufacturer to tailor an industrial solution that can interact with tools, control systems and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) in house. The open-source R programming language has been integrated with the existing infrastructure as an analytics framework. This enables advanced, actionable analytics to be carried out on a scheduled or reactionary basis.

For companies like Seagate, thanks to the use of workflow automation paired with R, root cause analysis is now faster, more targeted and unanchored with all possible contributing factors in the build included. Engineers and technicians are presented with real-time information so that they can take traceable action to address unforeseen events.

How does this work?

Throughout the workflow a summary of statistical differences is created and can be used to take action during production. Depending on the severity of the issue, the platform will prompt a different automated response such as taking a tool out of production, disabling a recipe configuration or holding defective parts. In addition to the ability to drive better decision making in response to unpredicted events, engineers now have visibility over time of their workflow solutions, providing the opportunity for continuous optimization of best practices and improved operational efficiency.

The use of this technology truly empowers engineers and technicians to "work smarter, not harder," and allows manufacturing companies to better leverage their diverse skill sets. This means better compliance and standardization, higher yields, and most importantly, increased profits.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Microsoft Envision Recap

This week's Microsoft Envision kicked things off in New Orleans with the keynote from the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella.

“It is no longer just about procuring one solution and deploying one solution, it is not about one simple CRM or ERP or even office automation solutions that you get from us or others… it is really about you thinking as a digital company,” stated Nadella.

During the keynote he posed two questions:

1) “How is your business being digitally transformed?”

2) “How is your business model being digitally transformed?”

We are seeing this transformation in manufacturing – the beginning of manufacturing's digital age – where we are seeing a future driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), human friendly automation, additive manufacturing and simulation systems. Manufacturing is no longer seen as the old, dark and slow sector. These topics were discussed in a session called Manufacturing: State of the industry.

In manufacturing, we often refer to this transformation as “Smart Manufacturing”, which is not implying that systems before were unintelligent. Today’s manufacturing is full of technology - IT process, networking and computers.

So is this transformation an evolution or revolution in manufacturing? This question was addressed in a session titled What is a Smart Manufacturer? In reality, it is both! It is an evolution because manufacturers embrace change on a daily basis with continuous improvement by optimizing and improving production and information flow. Smart Manufacturing is the deployment of IT systems to drive these initiatives further than they could yesterday. As for the revolution, there are forces driving change to the core of manufacturing: decreasing time between new products and tailoring products to the desires of their consumers – this drives manufacturers to produce parts in quantities of one versus large runs. For more details, listen to the discussion here.