Data has emerged as an important resource for businesses in the past decade, and the metals industry is no different.
While the industry has heavily invested in optimization and process control, it has been behind sectors such as banking and media for several years in its adoption of the latest digital technologies.
The pace is accelerating with developments in automation, analytics, and mobile solutions offering dramatic gains.
For Hitachi, the convenience, speed, and simplicity of a metals analyzer allowing a colleague to perform thousands of readings in one working day, means that the company also must adapt to keep up with the changes.
The report on ‘unlocking the digital opportunity in the metals industry’ by McKinsey highlighted four important areas where data will play a huge role for metal companies:
Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
Particularly for a wide range of maintenance and production datasets, these are responsible for over half of all gains from digital adoption.
Using Hitachi instruments, the metals industry can retrieve measurement information from a host of instruments on the factory floor, or across several locations any time of day or night; with reporting and results available on the cloud instantly.
Robotics and Automation are Significant Improvement Drivers
These developments drive a further 20 to 30% of the total improvement opportunity as they remove the requirement for human intervention in functions that do not require decisions to be made.
It can already be observed with 24/7 factory floors, cloud robots, and cobots working on the factory floor with humans to further enhance stability and process control. Hitachi instruments are well-equipped for this.
Process Digitization and Software Automation Streamlining
This regards the streamlining of maintenance, manufacturing, and back-office processes and the connection of workers supplied with mobile devices to data and instructions all the time. The EBITDTA gains estimated may be as high as 20 to 30%.
For Hitachi, the equipment itself is created to function in order to promote efficiency within industrial processes. As a result of this, there is an increase in productivity through the use of instrument diagnostics, the connection and exchange of information, and remote reporting.
Information is King
It has been suggested that more data has been produced in the past decade than in the complete history of mankind. In 2017, an IBM report showed that 90% of all international data had been made in the last two years.
One reason that data is king in the metals industry is due to its ability to make manufacturing control processes and quality assurance more streamlined and efficient. While the amount of available data is enormous, the issue is whether manufacturers can translate this into something valuable.
Most acquired data goes into what is frequently called the ‘data lake’, but the data that is evaluated can assist manufacturers in numerous ways, such as:
- An increase in product quality through the identification of faults at the earliest point in the process.
- Predictions of machine failure and diagnostics resulting in well-timed preventative maintenance, leading to decreased downtime and less chance of immediate failures that are very damaging to business.
- Decreased costs by employing big data for predictive analytics, thereby decreasing the time of the quality assurance process.
Despite the industry, all companies require data to succeed. This is why Hitachi has specifically designed software enabling users to send, store and retrieve analysis results simply and efficiently in a cloud-based service.
We All Need Data to Grow
A cloud-based data storage application, ExTOPE Connect from Hitachi, instantly records and stores metals analysis results.
From delivering analytical data sheets to customers, to ISO compliance, and alternative process-critical certifications, these measurements are crucial for internal quality control, for example noticing trends within production lines and even in complete manufacturing sites.
Find out More
To discover more about the company’s thoughts on big data and metals analysis, download the Metal Analysis Guide from Hitachi, or get in touch to receive a quote for a Hitachi analyzer.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.
For more information on this source, please visit Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.