Recently I had the chance to moderate a webcast with Yoel Rivera, founder and CEO of Systech partner Ultimate Solutions, and Joe Lipari, Director of Product Lifecycle Management at Systech.
The topic was Industry 4.0, i.e., the 4th Industrial Revolution. That label covers a lot of ground, far beyond the scope of Systech’s work, but it’s also a critical driver for advancements in our business. Industry 4.0 involves the integration of advanced technologies like mobile, cloud computing, IoT, AI, and robotic process automation to automate more manufacturing and supply chain processes across devices, machines and organizations. Like the other “revolutions,” Industry 4.0 is all about improving quality and productivity, reducing costs, increasing efficiency and making organizations more flexible and agile.
While it’s still evolving, Industry 4.0 is already having a significant impact on our clients’ businesses by enabling smarter factories and helping manufacturers ensure product quality up and down their supply chains. The information provided by these advanced technologies can help streamline manufacturing operations, connect supply chains, inform decision-making and enable faster response time to unplanned supply chain events.
Product packaging is a great example of one area where Industry 4.0 is already making a difference.
A lot of manufacturers deal with repetition and rework on their packaging lines. It’s a big cost driver—as high as 30%—for some. It's not unrealistic to spend 15 minutes setting up line vision systems and devices. That might include setting up vision tools, training, and other aspects. And an individual probably spends that same 15 minutes every time they do it.
For discussion’s sake, let's say a business runs 10,000 packaging lots per year. That’s not uncommon for a pharma company and may even be on the smaller side for some larger operations. That equates to 2,500 hours annually—a significant chunk of time and a lot of dollars.
Industry 4.0 fundamentally changes that equation. Using AI and machine learning, you can train the vision inspection system on your packaging line. It continues to learn and improve its ability to identify what a defective package is and why packages fail. So, you’re not only saving time on the line setup each time, but the system is also able to better anticipate and identify packaging defects.
Systech is applying this capability with our UniSeries packaging line optimization solution. Our software suite uses smart machine vision inspection to provide manufacturers with actionable intelligence to continuously improve the performance of their packaging processes. As a result, clients can reduce system monitoring activities by up to 80%, reduce manual data collection time by up to 60%, and perform verification and release remotely to reduce batch release notification times by up to 25%.
Improving visibility into packaging line data can help manufacturers reduce the time required to identify defects and eliminate a lot of rework and repetition. Equally important, the data it provides can also help the organization be more responsive to changes in market demand, regulatory requirements, or other packaging environment challenges. It’s just one example of where Industry 4.0 is having a significant positive impact.
For more information, watch the webinar on-demand.