New data management approaches in manufacturing

Modern manufacturing companies generate a daily flood of new data records. In order to capture the information contained therein, organize it and make it accessible at the same time, data management is required that goes further than pure electronic data processing. With well thought-out data management, increasingly complex production can be planned and controlled efficiently and flexibly. If the material arrives too late at the line, expensive downtimes are the consequence. Scenarios involving the use of digital twins and so-called track-and-trace solutions (tracing within production processes) show how good data management makes manufacturing companies better.

Better production through digital twins

Physical production systems collect information in real time via sensors, for example about materials used. They can be used to optimize production on the virtual model, the digital twin of physical production. In this way, superfluous or unsuitable components can be identified and adjusted on the digital model even before production begins. In addition to individual products, entire production plants can also be reproduced as digital twins. In this way, manufacturing processes can be tested and optimized even before actual production. When a product goes into production, it delivers countless data to its digital twin. Experts can thus see in real time what is going on in production. They can also use this data to run simulations, for example, to identify in good time that components need to be serviced, or to test service approaches even before service technicians are deployed. Digital twins can be applied to almost all areas of reality - whether to individual components, assemblies or complete infrastructures.

Better production through track-and-trace

The expansion of track-and-trace makes it possible to locate orders and materials in real time and thus achieve significant efficiency gains. In intralogistics, for example, this refers to the internal and external tracking of packages and load units. It is made possible by the use of advanced information technologies. In order to be able to trace the goods, notification data, so-called accompanying information, is required. This includes sender information, destination information, control information and identification information. Track-and-trace is used to reach the various stages of the supply chain, enabling the exact location of the shipment to be determined at any time. This information can be used to adjust capacities and optimize processes.

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Integrated track-and-trace solutions help companies to digitize and interconnect the entire supply chain and production systems. The real-time data obtained makes processes more transparent and better. The data can be used to optimize inventories, handle recalls and returns, monitor supply and production chain processes, and minimize risks. Thus, track-and-trace software can be used to achieve complete traceability within production processes and the supply chain, the main goal of which is to create transparency: from the raw part, through the production process of individual parts, to the final product, as well as its packaging and delivery. In this way, each individual production step in manufacturing can be traced back precisely, which in turn is important for quality assurance and minimizing errors, for example.

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Both scenarios shown here require high quality data on the one hand, while generating new data on the other. In order to collect this information from many relevant sources in manufacturing processes, evaluate it, process it intelligently and thus make it usable, a uniform solution for data management is required. In this way, production can be taken to a completely new level. A level at which better quality can be produced and greater reliability ensured - in less time, with less use of resources, and at lower cost.