Raktim Singh

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What is Smart Manufacturing and Why does Industries need it now?

What is Smart Manufacturing and Why does Industries need it now?

What is Smart Manufacturing? Let’s Understand

Smart manufacturing is a manufacturing strategy that uses advanced technology and data to create products and services more efficiently and with less waste.

 As part of this, manufacturing companies use data and technology to

  1. Monitor production and monitor shopfloor, warehouses, machineries, equipment & robots.
  2. Make adjustments as per the need to optimize performance and production.
  3. Identify potential equipment issues.

Smart manufacturing is a significant game-changer that can reshape the market environment of the modern-day and generate a new group of leaders.

What is Smart Manufacturing? Another way to understand it …

Smart manufacturing means we can automate as many activities as possible in a working environment that uses smart manufacturing principles to be performed with maximum efficiency.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines it as fully integrated, collaborative manufacturing systems that respond in real-time to meet changing demands and conditions in the factory, in the supply network, and in customer needs.

This means that systems are built in factories where the machines are connected to one other & based on usage data, manufacturing processes are getting optimized & can scale, as per the requirement.

Smart manufacturing aims to ensure quality and profitability at a lower cost, faster than ever.

Key points of Smart Manufacturing

  1. Use of ACID (Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Internet of Things, Data).

The whole manufacturing process makes use of computer controls, big data, and other automation, with the aim to improve manufacturing efficiencies.

  1. With Internet-connected machinery, monitor the production process & identify opportunities, which can be automated.
  2. Industrial Internet of Things: With smart machines (machines having embedded sensors), now data related to operational status, overall productivity, performance for each machine/device can be collected & analyzed.
  3. This can help in proactive maintenance as well as effective utilization of each machine.

These smart machines operate autonomously and can communicate directly with manufacturing systems & shop floor.

 Collaborative Robots: These are smart machines/robots, which can also work with humans for co-assembly tasks.

For example, a smart machine, can observe what a human operator at an assembly line is doing, learn the human’s task, and autonomously start performing that same task with the exact same kind of precision. asks. 

By evaluating sensory input and distinguishing between different product configurations, these machines are able to solve problems and make decisions independent of people.

These smart machines can do the task beyond what they were initially programmed to do.

With artificial intelligence, they are able to learn based on experience/scenarios/data.  

As a next step, with help of AI, smart machines are able to change their actions according to the situation on a real-time basis.

  1. Digital twin: This is another important concept in the ecosystems of smart manufacturing. Here, we create the virtual model of an asset, process, or system by using the data obtained from sensors in the systems or asset.

The benefits of digital twins include potential reduction in time and cost of product development and elimination of unplanned downtime.

Major adopter of Digital Twin includes industries like Aerospace, automotive & transportation, electronics & electrical/machine manufacturing, and energy & utility.

Advantages & Points to watch out for smart manufacturing


Improved Productivity : 

With smart manufacturing, one can have smooth visibility into bottlenecks, machinery performance, and other operating inadequacies.

These manufacturing processes offer increased access to data over a whole network of the supply chains.

This data allows producers to carry out required modifications to boost yields, improve quality and reduce waste. 

Real-time data describes what the manufacturer wants and makes things easier for suppliers( and also, helps them to adapt to new requests).

They deliver the products only which is necessary, nothing more or less.


When the operating system and business systems are connected, manufacturers can uncover waste and improve production accuracy. 

Due to the data provided by these smart machines, users have a better understanding of supply chain problems such as inventory levels, delivery status, and cycles of demand. 

This helps them in minimizing costs in connection with excess stock or unforeseen production volume with this knowledge.


Smart machines, which are embedded with sensors & powered by artificial intelligence, are showing elevated levels of adaptability.

They are able to handle rapid design changes, increase production based on demand, optimization of the supply chain.

Things to watch out:


High Initial Investment:

The costs of incorporating automation and technology in their manufacturing facilities are astonishing for many enterprises. 

To establish whether the initial implementation costs will be worthwhile, it is vital to thoroughly assess the long-term benefits of introducing various kinds of technology inside your business.

High Need for skilled labor:

Manufacturing and the overall sector continue to rely on people to facilitate production. 

However, there is a higher need for highly skilled work in digitally linked systems, which may lessen the necessity for low skills.

Cybersecurity concern:

The whole model of smart manufacturing is dependent on the internet. While this allows for the user to have better access to data across systems, it offers hackers the possibility of hacking the network access.

Example of Smart manufacturing

I have mentioned below some companies, which have adopted Smart Manufacturing

  1. Whirlpool: It has put in place various analytical tools & uses various data to
    1. Eliminate waste that it sends to landfills.
    2. Monitor usage of electricity, water, and other parameters.
    3. Check the sustainability performance of its plants worldwide.
  2. Siemens: Apart from many other things related to Smart Manufacturing, Siemens have developed Mindsphere. MindSphereis part of Siemens Industrial IoT. 

As per WiKi

MindSphere is a leading industrial IoT as a service solution developed by Siemens for applications in the context of the Internet of Things. MindSphere stores operational data and makes it accessible through digital applications (“MindSphere applications”) to allow industrial customers to make decisions based on valuable factual information. The system is used in applications such as automated production and vehicle fleet management.”

  1. Hirotec : Hirotec is a global auto parts manufacturer.

Hirotec has employed a mix of IoT and cloud-based technologies, along with small, robust servers on its factory floors. This generates analytics data, which helps the company to reduce downtime, predict & prevent system failures.

Also, It was able to significantly reduce the time, which was earlier spent on manual inspection.

Other notable examples include, Hewlett-Packard, ABB, Honeywell, Emerson, Rockwell Yokogawa, ABB, Honeywell, Schneider, Cisco, Huawei and AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Intel.

Some of them can be classified as “product and control solution providers,”( Rockwell Yokogawa , ABB, Honeywell, Emerson, and Schneider ), “IT solution providers” ( IBM, HP, Intel , IBM, Microsoft,  Oracle) and “connectivity solution providers.” (AT&T, Cisco, Huawei).

Final Thought: What is Smart Manufacturing?

The term “Smart Manufacturing” is used to describe the use of technologies to integrate information, people, and processes to make better decisions throughout the manufacturing process. 

The use of technology in the manufacturing sector is to enhance worker efficiencies, optimize product quality, reduce waste, and promote sustainability. 

As part of Smart Manufacturing, one gets access to Big Data and Advanced Analytics.

This helps manufacturers in identifying the processes, methods & services, which are costing too much or too little, or products that are selling well or less, products that are falling short of input supply, products or processes which are creating a lot of waste.

Armed with this smart data, manufacturers can take decisions, which can help in improving the overall top-line as well as bottom-line of a company.

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