Data-Driven Technologies Drive Efficiency

This article, by Ulbrich Engineers Ajay King & Alex Gordon, appeared in the June Issue of MetalForming Magazine.

Steam-driven machinery powered the first industrial revolution in the 18th century. The invention of the combustion engine spurred the second industrial revolution in the late 19th century, and the third was advanced by rapidly evolving information technology.

Now, the fourth industrial revolution has arrived, driven by data and smart technologies, including advanced sensors, vision systems, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence (AI) that allow manufacturing facilities to achieve new levels of efficiency.

Infared Thermometer

While discussions of such technologies can sometimes feel future-focused, here at Ulbrich we've had great success incorporating these 21st-century innovations into our organization. Our rolling and annealing processes are highly sophisticated and now equipped with many Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. From these devices we gather a lot of data, providing the visibility needed to reduce process variability and to identify and reduce waste using our lean approach toward continuous improvement.

thermal mass flow meter
By using Internet-connected devices during the last 2 yr., Ulbrich has collected more than 1 billion data records. Among the sensors it’s installed: thermal mass flowmeters (left) and infrared thermometers.

With this article, we want to share some tools, technologies and techniques that can help improve preventive maintenance, product quality, team communication and more. Whether you’re new to industry 4.0 technologies or an experienced practitioner, we hope to inspire additional manufacturing innovation in your facilities.

To read the full article, visit Data-Driven Technologies Drive Efficiency | MetalForming Magazine Article

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