Ed Nabrotzky, Director, Gross sales & Technique at Panasonic Logiscend

We spoke to Ed Nabrotzky, Director, Gross sales & Technique at Panasonic Logiscend for an replace on newest tendencies.

JA: We now have been via a tumultuous 12 months and provide chains are coming underneath examination like by no means earlier than. What do you see as the primary challenges and tendencies impacting provide chains and manufacturing logistics usually – particularly within the wake of the pandemic?

EN: Like virtually each trade, manufacturing stays considerably impacted by COVID-19. Reductions in orders, employment, and manufacturing have been among the many outcomes many manufacturing firms confronted at completely different occasions in 2020 as a result of pandemic. And now, client demand is up considerably however lengthy provide chains, comparable to the worldwide chip market, can’t catch up shortly.

That is inflicting a disaster in markets comparable to vehicle and client electronics manufacturing. Manufacturing output has been drastically decreased and product launches have been placed on maintain.  We’ll pull out of this as operations resume extra broadly, however maybe the longer lasting problem for the USA would be the geopolitical strain to shift these provide chains away from China.

JA: Do you assume the pandemic has accelerated some tendencies?

EN: As producers search for progressive methods to keep up effectivity and meet buyer demand, the commercial web of issues (IIoT) provides an efficient answer to a number of challenges within the period of COVID-19. We expect that the adoption of Good Manufacturing and the usage of knowledge and analytics to make steady enhancements shall be accelerated within the wake of the pandemic.

By offering real-time monitoring options of individuals, components, and processes, IIoT know-how is a vital means for producers to manage prices, enhance efficiencies, preserve productiveness, and help the well being and security of staff and prospects through the international pandemic and past.

JA: The place does the Panasonic Logiscend providing slot in and the way would you describe good materials stream throughout the manufacturing unit enterprise (warehousing to meeting line)?

EN: The Panasonic Logiscend System is a fabric stream administration answer for complicated, discrete producers in search of extra flexibility and decrease prices. The Logiscend system replaces paper-based processes with a digital answer – creating “good supplies”. The answer makes use of a singular mixture of software program and wi-fi RFID/e-paper Panasonic VIEW tags that assist producers get the fitting components to the fitting place on the proper time, affordably and effectively. There is no such thing as a change to the present methods that schedule and plan the operation … Logiscend Software program extends them by offering real-time visibility of the fabric stream on the manufacturing unit flooring and enabling most flexibility for the plant supervisor to make modifications as wanted.

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Person pleasant dashboards present administration knowledge visibility to uncover hidden steady enchancment alternatives. The system is a single however scalable turnkey answer with a collection of software modules for Selecting, Replenishment, Asset Monitoring, Good Container Administration and Work Directions and may be simply built-in with current ERP and MES methods.

JA: If it is a Turnkey system, how a lot {hardware} infrastructure is required to allow it?

EN: The Logiscend {hardware} consists of monitoring know-how that greatest meets the wants of the applying. We now have deployed passive and energetic RFID in addition to our differentiated Panasonic VIEW tags that mix the trackability of RFID with the readability of e-Paper. The distinctive facet of the Logiscend system is that there’s one set of infrastructure (software program + {hardware}) to unravel many materials stream issues. Our prospects can get began in a single space and simply broaden to incorporate their different materials stream functions. One turnkey answer as a substitute of deploying a number of methods.

JA: Is the software program facet cloud-based?

EN: It may be, however in most cases our software program is hosted on-premise as our prospects have demanded. They don’t want any disruption to manufacturing and are involved with a cloud-based answer being distant from the manufacturing strains in addition to the safety dangers it might pose. We view this altering sooner or later, nevertheless, as their notion of the cloud modifications to understand it’s extra dependable and safe and managers turn out to be extra open to alter.

JA: We’re listening to rather a lot about digital options, however are we nonetheless within the realm of paper methods and barcodes for a lot of companies?

EN: We’re very a lot nonetheless within the realm of paper-based methods. Actually, a current survey that we carried out stories that over 80% of engineers in automotive manufacturing mentioned their materials stream processes nonetheless depend on “a number of paper”. There may be quite a lot of alternative for these firms to take some small steps and notice large financial savings.

JA: How does the 4th Industrial Revolution (or Business 4.0) affect the image?

EN: The First Industrial Revolution was the thought of utilizing water and steam energy to mechanize manufacturing. The Second leveraged electrical energy to create mass manufacturing. The Third ushered within the age of utilizing digital units and native networks to automate manufacturing.  Now we’re taking an enormous step right into a 4th revolution of interconnected methods that go nicely past the mechanics of the manufacturing line, linking demand to produce in a totally interconnected digital thread that’s unprecedented in our historical past.

The rocket gas for this revolution is inescapable client demand for customized service, forcing a transition within the trade from mass manufacturing to mass customization. For automotive producers, this implies producing batch-of-one autos with variations particular to a buyer on the identical or higher prices and high quality achieved with massive batch scheduling.

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So, how can automotive producers meet the more and more troublesome complexity this drives of their operations? It’s clear that the normal paper-based, rigid and labour-intensive methods can now not keep-up on this custom-made world. A key a part of the answer is to maneuver from Simply-in-Time supply to Simply-in-Sequence stock administration, enabling all components to reach in live performance on the proper place on the proper time to construct a batch-of-one car. This helps maintain stock on the plant flooring low and simplifies the meeting course of for operators.

Elevated demand for personalization means trendy materials dealing with must be extra than simply lean, it should be versatile as nicely. With Simply-in-Sequence manufacturing, completely different product fashions may be produced effectively on the identical meeting line with much less dealing with and higher accuracy. So producers have to look to 4th revolution materials stream administration options with interconnected methods that may meet these new calls for.

JA: In contrast with different manufacturing sectors, Is the automotive trade a frontrunner or a laggard in these superior logistics and good materials stream areas?

EN: I might say that almost all manufacturing is sluggish to alter and might be thought-about a laggard behind client e-commerce fulfilment operations.  The web retail trade is main the pack in leveraging interconnected methods.  We now have come to anticipate to order precisely what we wish from Amazon and to know when it’s being picked, shipped and tracked to our doorstep.  These expectations are beginning now to be placed on capital items and vehicle producers they usually know they should be taught to adapt or else they may lose to new market entrants who perceive the altering market necessities.  They’re behind, however they’re all targeted on making the modifications to catch up.

JA: Are you able to describe e-paper and its significance in monitoring supplies and belongings?

EN: The issue in manufacturing is that belongings may be saved or sit for a comparatively very long time between transformation steps and the operation must know what the belongings are. Placing an enduring static paper label on it fits that use case, in addition to offering human readable set of knowledge for operations personnel. The benefit of e-paper is that in primary use it performs precisely like paper with out the recurring price or environmental affect.  Nevertheless it provides a number of attention-grabbing further capabilities past this. It may be dynamically modified at any time within the course of wirelessly … an enormous characteristic for our new world of quick customization in processes. That wi-fi connection additionally permits for real-time monitoring, enabling a lot higher management over materials stream and wealthy course of data gathering for AI and analytics. It additionally permits materials to machine communication, an enormous profit for the brand new era of IoT methods.

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Logiscend is the primary IoT-based system to supply a real paperless workflow for manufacturing combining the dependable and visible operator directions inherent in paper together with automated monitoring and functionality for 2-way human and machine interplay with RFID. Solely Logiscend combines the weather of  instruct + observe + dynamic management. Producers have visibility into the place materials is situated at each second and may redirect as wanted.

JA: I suppose loads of knowledge may be tracked via your methods. How is that managed and made helpful to your buyer and what actions do they usually take as outcome?

EN: With IIoT, knowledge is being tracked at every stage of the method. Producers can enhance their visibility of bottlenecks and see different enchancment alternatives. They will observe key efficiency metrics and take a look at knowledge throughout manufacturing strains, shifts and vegetation. It permits managers to see contained in the black field in a means that isn’t achievable with guide paper based mostly methods, enabling actions for steady enchancment. We create open databases with frequent question codecs comparable to SQL.  We use environment friendly knowledge warehouse buildings to archive as a lot as seven years of manufacturing knowledge for analytics. These knowledge buildings can be utilized by Logiscend or exterior software program functions the shopper could have already got deployed.  Knowledge may also be shared with suppliers and the potential is there to share updates with shoppers on the standing of their order.

JA: What sorts of financial savings can firms make via your type of good materials system and the place are they primarily discovered?

EN: There are a number of areas of price and high quality enchancment that may be realized with a sensible materials stream administration answer. Financial savings in direct prices by eliminating the printing of paper labels, travellers and work directions alone may be substantial. Then there may be the financial savings of labour prices and from improved accuracy and lowering line-down conditions. However one of many greatest advantages is that it gives producers added flexibility inside their workflow by permitting for straightforward reconfiguration of manufacturing and the flexibility to dynamically react to alter based mostly on demand. They are often a lot nimbler, permitting them to win enterprise and be extra aggressive in rising their enterprise.