The smart factory is considered to be the upcoming future industry after the revolution of Industry 4

The smart factory is considered to be the upcoming future industry after the revolution of Industry 4.0. In smart factory, the real achievement is the combination of operators and machines which work together to put forth the manufacturing process towards the conclusion. The importance of smart factory will increase as the time approaching future. The Industry 4.0 is getting viral and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasing day by day. Smart factory provides real time software with more accuracy and efficiency. It provides facility to its customers the way much better than the Industries of previous eras. It provides low cost products in less time with good quality. This feature of smart factory attracts customers. There are five basic key characteristics of smart factory. These five basic characteristics are compulsory for every smart factory:
• Connected
• Optimized
• Proactive
• Transparent
• Agile
Now we are going to discuss the details of these five characteristics of smart factory one by one:
This feature of smart factory connects it with its customers and suppliers. It provides a real time collaboration of data between its suppliers and customers. Whenever product is supplied to customers through suppliers, then factory remains connected to customer for the feedback of the product they have provided them. The best use of smart sensors help a lot to keep the data update and useable for current circumstances in a continuous manner. The supply chain of data rotates from workers to suppliers and then from suppliers to customers which enhances efficiency and on the note, it also makes the networking chain stronger and stronger each time the process is repeated.
In this case the optimization is applied to all processes. From reliability to storage capacity, everything gets optimized when we talk about the optimization of the smart factory. The products are highly efficient and their validity lasts for a long time. Mostly machines handle tasks and human involvement is minimized to an extent. The production quality is raised up to the higher level and the cost they demand against that quality is quite reasonable and lesser than the other factories which do not fall in the category of smart industry. Also the decreasing amount of waste, increases the efficiency of the smart factory to a higher level. In this way, by decreasing waste material, the yield increases which in turn increases the manufacturing production of smart factory. Hence in other words, in smart factory efficiency is optimized as much as they can. This factor increases the importance of smart factory to an extent as compared to the importance of many other simple factories.
It enhances the smart factory efficiency by the factor that it readily predicts the challenges which might occur in future and in turn if we do not handle those challenges bravely, then it may destroy the product. This factor allows the system and the employs to stay conscious before any challenge arises. It prevents them from failure which they might suffer after the destruction of product. It helps in providing the best plans for the preservation of products in an automated way. Based on the history of products, it predicts the coming versions of product and it leads towards the improvement and efficiency of yield. It also has the ability to predict the quality issues of suppliers. The last factor of proactive characteristics of smart factory that distinguishes smart factory from other factories is the feature of monitoring the safety using real time process.
The transparency helps in such a way that whenever order is placed by the customers, some smart tools and instruments are used to make a quick plan for the solution of the problem given by customer. These smart tools can be role based views or real time alerts or notifications. The other tool which is used for this purpose are tracking and monitoring. In the industrial revolution 4.0, these tools increase the enhancement of smart factory. In meantime, the decision is made for the completion of task. In this way the time of customer is saved. Real time process is used to stay connected to the supplier’s demand. It also keeps the tracking of customer’s order transparently. Real time tracking and monitoring is also handled in this case of transparency.
In the manufacturing Industries, the agile manifestos of smart industry introduces a new feature of flexibility in the orders and scheduling. The changes in product is shown, in order to see its impact on production in real time process. It also provides the facility of configuring the layouts and equipment which are managed within real time processes.
Now let us have a quick look on the few benefits of smart factory and then we will move forward towards the practical implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies and operators in smart factory.
These benefits are:
• Smart factory is quite efficient because of its less production of waste material during the manufacturing process and best quality is obtained within low prices.
• Smart factory guarantees best quality of product for their customers within reasonable time.
• Smart factory provides good quality products within low costs which attracts customers.
• The strongest factor is the safety that smart factory ensures every time to its customers and suppliers.
• The other factor which enhances the versatility of smart factory is remote maintenance.
• Chain of digital networks is created in smart factory. This factor lacks in other manufacturing Industries.
• Smart factory provides a decentralized control of production, this factor in Industry 4.0 is an achievement.
• The planning for the products is done virtually using virtual reality and augmented reality.
Now after discussing the brief introduction of smart factory, its characteristics and benefits, we are now moving on towards the practical model of smart factory. This step will provide information about how a real smart factory works. As in smart factory we will cover that how manufacturing industries of future will work and shape their tasks. This will provide help in understanding the vision of future advanced factory or smart factory.
Vision of smart factory
First of all whenever order is given by the customer, the team of negotiators from the smart factory, then communicate and negotiate with the customers for the exact requirements of products. When customers provide full information about the product, then it is moved forward towards the smart operator who holds smart devices for the processing of orders, the factory is receiving in a row. A fully designed central data hub for complete integrated production workflow is present to check the validity of the order. The production orders are placed in a queue which are visible on the fine display of smart device, which is handling the orders.
The production orders are lined in a queue in the form of bars on smart device. These devices are handled by smart operator.
Whenever a new order comes, the new notification receives and the newly received order or job comes in the top of orderly list. This helps the operators to see the details of the newly received order. The image below will give the clear view of the above discussion:
In the above image, the green highlighted area is showing the notification of ‘NEW JOB’ and also there is a green highlighted bar with the details of the new production order received by smart factory. Whenever new job comes, it automatically gives notification and the order details automatically move on the top of the order queue. The details of the order are transferred by the negotiable team which gathers the complete information about the product from their customers.
By the time, the orders in the order queue are then moved forward for processing. Like the order queue, there is a processing queue which shows those processes, which are in process. So every time the new order received, every time it is forwarded to the processing queue. The new order in process queue holds a specific position in processing queue. The orders are then sorted according to their size, the manufacturing time and if there are some urgent orders, they are given preference on the top of processing list to undergo the complete manufacturing process on them.
This point of view about the processing queue which shows the in process orders will be easy to understand by the image given below. The image about this above discussion is:
Meanwhile the list of processing orders is displayed on the screen, on the back end, in the smart factory there is vast manufacturing area where all the machines or robots are ready to process on the product to complete the order received by the customer. The machines are in such a large number that they are lined in an order. Some of them are capable of moving from one place to another in order to move the product from one machine to another. All of these machines or robots are working under the instructions of operators of smart factory. All these machines or robots are designed by human beings for their ease. The working capability of machines is based on the human model. They work same as human beings work. Although there is not any person in sight when we look into the image but these machines are controlled by human beings as discussed above. There are some related operators for related tasks who are managing the working of machines or robots for the completion of the order received by the customer.
Now the under consideration fact is that, how machines communicate with each other. There is not a single machine which is managing the product and the product not only needs any single operation to get completed. As we have seen above that smart factory is smart in real sense because it provides the gateway of communication between different machines in the manufacturing area. All the machines and data systems that are working in the manufacturing area seamlessly share information with one another with the help and involvement of human beings or operators. The image below will help us in understanding their communication.
The above image clearly shows the versatility of smart factory as all the machines are interlinked with each other without moving from their positions. Light provides the facility of communication between these machines which can be seen in the image above. Basically this light is working on the principle of augmented reality. The augmented reality operator operates here to collaborate and communicate the machines. With the help of this communication, all the information about product is shared. Keep in mind, the whole industry is not indulged in the production of only one product. These machines are so smart that they handle more than one product at a time. This is why the Industrial revolution is making life so smart and easy in real sense.
Now moving on the point that how production of any product get started. As we have discussed earlier that smart factory manages more than one order in the manufacturing process. The role of friendly operator here is very essential. Wearing the headphones and 3D glasses, he checks the validity and requirements of the order forwarded by smart operator. If there comes any ambiguity regarding order, friendly operator removes errors and information is then forwarded to the manufacturing area for further processing.
The smart device which is attached with manufacturing machine shows the notification of ‘START BUILDING PROCESS’, which means that now the machines have started to work properly on the order received. Now there are many machines standing on their position. Every machine is made to its related task. Now there are some moving simple robots and super robots which are used for the transporting product from one machine to the other according to the requirements of product. This simulation in robots helps in working on the requirements of product. In this way quick safe and fully automated material supply is made possible. Here the role of collaborative operator matters. The moving robots are controlled through a device which is managed by collaborative operator.