This article is part of an ongoing series on the uses for artificial intelligence (AI) in manufacturing, starting with our article introducing machine learning and AI, and their relevance to manufacturing.
This article will cover how AI can be used for tracking and managing the variety of operations going on at any moment on the floor of a plant or factory.
Implementing AI can be a major key in generating and retaining a high level of efficiency in a manufacturing process.
Get on the Floor
There are many different processes that go into manufacturing, but undoubtedly the most important part is the floor operations, meaning the work that goes into actually producing the products that are then transported to be sold at a business.
The field of manufacturing is more or less defined by the assembly, inspection, and other floor-related processes that go into creating an item. All manufacturers know that when the work on the floor is going well, then everything else is that much easier.
Nowadays, most factory floors have become a mix of robots and humans, where the robots handle most of the assembly tasks while the humans are on the side of inspection. Though this has led to previously unimagined breakthroughs in efficiency, this has undoubtedly made the on-floor operations much more complex than previously thought.
Just as the factory workers on the assembly line are being assisted by AI agents, so the floor managers are searching for ways to optimize their workday with AI. Luckily, there are solutions aplenty offered by the AI world, especially by artificial intelligence service providers such as Findability Sciences.
AI Makes Running the Factory Easier
AI is special because of its inhuman level of focus. Unlike a human, it cannot be distracted, or have its work affected by anything like emotions or fatigue. As a result, it can take in huge quantities of information, or “big data,” and analyze them with a truly remarkable speed. A big part of data analysis involves finding patterns within data, which can be huge in a manufacturing context.
There are a few ways that floor managers, and just management in general, can use AI to create a more clean and smooth-running operation. Read on for an important use of AI, which is tracking on-floor activities.
Tracking Production Floor Operations
First up is tracking. Now, Findability Sciences also offers AI tracking for the transportation of your goods from the factory to whatever business is their destination, which we covered in this article.
However, tracking can be just as useful on the floor as it is on the road.
With operations tracking, managers can get a big-picture view of how the many robot- and human-oriented tasks are going throughout the course of a day. It can be extraordinarily useful to have this view of the concurrence of tasks going at once, because it can enlighten you to patterns within these operations.
For example, let us suppose that your factory produces toy dolls, and part of that process involves a robot arm screwing on the head of the doll onto the body. AI tracks this activity just like the rest, but one day, you notice that it is taking longer to screw on doll heads than usual. Every other operation is going at a good pace, so you wonder what is up.
You ask the floor manager to inspect the head-placing machine, and it is discovered that it is not the machine that is doing anything wrong, but the heads! As it turns out, those doll heads have been getting pinched too hard by the machine that crafts them, making them deformed and therefore harder to screw on.
The solution in that situation is to adjust the settings of the head-crafting machine, leading to less force being exerted on the manufactured heads. This is just one example, but it illustrates that tracking floor operations can enlighten you to operations, and catch problems before they become big problems.
Previous Articles in Our Machine Learning for Manufacturers Series: