An example of practical use of the IoT concept may be Boers & Co FineMetalworking, manufacturer of mechanical parts and products of high assembly precision. Through combining the Epicor ERP system with Internet of Things, Boers created a smart factory with the use of affordable and available on the market components.
To improve operational efficiency Boers created the plan of the company in which workers have a preview of each machine with status marked with a colour. This makes it easy to see when the machine starts to show signs of performance degradation, which may suggest the need for maintenance. In the result, lines operate smoothly and the company avoids serious mechanical failures.
Replacement of traditional bar code scanners with the scanner integrated gloves caused the improvement in human labour efficiency. An employee starts the scanner by squeezing the thumb and index finger. In this way he has both hands free and does not have to waste time and energy on additional operations, e.g. catching and placing the scanner. New hardware minimizes the need for additional walking which makes the work process become more ergonomic.
However, the greatest interest is shown in the new way of inventory with the use of a drone that moves inside around 1/2 hectares of area company and reads data from the RFID tags. Data from the drone are transferred to Epicor ERP, which then generates reports for the company management. This automation allows employees to make better use of time and provide inventory counting faster, cheaper and more accurate. Boers now carries out regular inventories in day and week mode in contrast to the previously manual process of inventory counting which was carried out once a month. By the use of drone Boers is able now to manage inventory more efficient.
In the near future such examples of the use of the Internet of things will no longer be considered as innovative solutions and would become a norm. Access to the most current data is the result of the use of a combination of ERP and Internet of Things – ERP provides the ability to plan of what should happen and IoT helps to understand and react to what currently happens on the shop floor. Through connecting people, systems and devices in an intelligent manner, manufacturers may use the new data streams in order to improve the efficiency and focus more on the needs of the customer.
More information on the implementation of the Epicor ERP system at Boers & Co you can find here.
Link to the film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhh8J4GTZwA