Decades of production improvements have benefited people a great deal. We’re more comfortable, live longer lives, and have relatively easy access to everything from food to furniture. But those advances have had a cost, too.
“There has been an endless series of trade-offs since the start of the industrial revolution between business, workers, consumers and the planet itself,” says Chris Dobbrow, vice president of business development at Augury. “While poverty, for example, has been significantly reduced since the 18th century, carbon dioxide emissions have gone from a very low level to 35 billion tonnes per year. And as new technologies have been introduced to increase productivity and reduce dangerous work, workers fear being entirely replaced by those ever-more-capable machines. We believe there’s an opportunity to change how we think about production on a macroeconomic level to reduce the negative impact on the environment and people.”
According to Liran Akavia, co-founder and former chief operating officer of Seebo and now vice president of sales for Process Health at Augury, there are three reasons why manufacturing is an industry ripe for change.
“First, there’s a need to be more efficient from a competition point of view,” says Akavia. “Second, computing power and new technologies are now available to enable change. In the complex world of manufacturing, with dynamic goals and an array of process parameters, it’s impossible to fulfill demand without algorithms fit for manufacturing, which just wasn’t possible two years ago. Industrial businesses can’t afford to be slow-moving ships anymore. External circumstances change every day, and they need to adapt at the same speed.
And finally, there is a massive change in the business mindset due to increased regulation, more meaningful sustainability goals and a volatile market situation. The war in Ukraine, for example, has made the supply of energy and certain materials less reliable and much more expensive. That pushes manufacturers to be more efficient than ever before.”
“We’re able to help in a number of ways when it comes to ensuring production health,” says Dobbrow. “By monitoring machines and collecting data at all times, our customers can see the true health of their assets. Once they’re able to trust the data, they can take proactive measures to prevent and remedy problems. That enables plant staff to do more with the tools they have, and reduce the costs and energy needed to maintain machines.”
Augury’s Machine Health capabilities have now been expanded with Seebo’s Process Health solution, which predicts and prevents process-based production losses. Using custom-built artificial intelligence, manufacturers are able to identify how their processes can be made more efficient. And all the solutions are deployed on Microsoft Azure.
“By targeting Process Health, manufacturers can define objectives and uncover inefficiencies using root cause analysis,” says Akavia. “With that insight, they can identify the right process parameters to achieve this efficiency. This framework is a huge change in the way teams see the production line. They spend their time on problem solving rather than chasing symptoms. It’s a workforce multiplier, allowing manufacturers to improve capacity with existing staff.”
However, one of the main challenges of implementing a solution which radically changes the production process is ensuring that it gains support within an organisation. Dobbrow suggests this can be achieved if the value of the solution is clearly established early in the relationship.
“Digital transformation is 30 per cent technology and 70 per cent people,” says Dobbrow. “The big challenge is how you integrate technology into your workflow in a way that enables more productivity and delivers benefits for people and the environment. That has to be done with consideration of the people on the shop floor, not just the corporate offices. Therefore, you need to gain trust from people closest to the work by showing fast and concrete value for any solution that gets deployed. That’s where Augury really shines, as our Production Health solutions are purpose built for manufacturing companies to gain value quickly, in ways that benefit all levels of the organisation.”
Despite current volatilities and entrenched practices, Akavia believes the problems the industry faces can be solved, and soon.
“We have the tools today that can simultaneously benefit profits, people and the planet,” says Akavia. “We’re going to continue to help manufacturers increase profitability. But we will also work to empower people, giving them the ability to be more agile and autonomous in their work. And we need to do that while keeping in mind how we can help the planet. Technology will continue to enable manufacturing to be both profitable and more sustainable, and that’s a mission we’re eager to help lead.”
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
Share this story