There have been some very interesting developments in the world of Big Data and Manufacturing lately.  “IoT technologies are…being used in innovative ways in the airplane manufacturing industry. “General Electric’s newer engines are packed with sensors that collect data on performance, which informs planning and maintenance,” says Jim Peters, CTO at SITA,” according to Bruce Harpham in an article titled How the Internet of Things improves air travel.

“Real-time parts flow monitoring is the next step after just-in-time supply chain optimization. By attaching sensors to all parts in the production process and tracking them in real time, manufacturers can have a real-time view of their production process,” according to an article by MapR Technologies titled Big Data and Apache Hadoop for Manufacturing.

“With plunging oil prices, large oil and gas companies are using big Data to manage risks, cut costs and increase revenues, according to Lux Research…As hardware developers have brought a raft of new and existing sensor technologies to the industry, developers have more data to work with than ever. Oil and gas professionals can exploit Big Data by identifying high-value use cases like reducing operational costs by anticipating bit-wear, optimizing rig utilization, and improving recovery factors,” states Jessica Lyons Newcastle in an article titled As Oil Prices Plunge, Big Oil Turns to Big Data.”

According to the PR Newswire in a report titled Research and Markets — Global Big Data in the Manufacturing Sector Market 2016 – 2020, “The global Big Data market in the manufacturing sector is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 16.87% during the period 2016-2020.”

The rise of the smart supply chain, smart factory, smart support organization, and all other things smart related to manufacturing is upon us.  What this will do is radically transform the way we work in many cases.

The smart technologies allow all manufacturing, transport, supply, maintenance, and other pertinent information to be instantaneously uploaded, processed and displayed throughout the entire enterprise, turning it into a single intelligent entity with near-total, real-time awareness.  As an example, a problem with raw materials processing in a foreign country can be instantly factored into transport and manufacturing logistics at home so the impact of supply interruptions can be anticipated immediately and adjustments (such as ordering materials from an alternative source and arranging transportation for the same) can be made right away, thereby greatly reducing the potential losses since hours, minutes and even seconds are big dollars in manufacturing processes.

The smart technologies are really making a big difference in industries such as chemical engineering and precious metals extraction, where many variables and disparate forms of data affect the manufacturing processes.  For example, a major chemical manufacturer in Europe using advanced analytics was able to identify previously unknown factors, which led to waste and loss of yield.  “The analysis revealed a number of previously unseen sensitivities—for instance, levels of variability in carbon dioxide flow prompted significant reductions in yield. By resetting its parameters accordingly, the chemical company was able to reduce its waste of raw materials by 20 percent and its energy costs by around 15 percent, thereby improving overall yield,” according to Eric Auschitzky, Markus Hammer, and Agesan Rajagopau writing in an article titled How big data can improve manufacturing.  A mining company used “mathematical approaches” to clean up its enormously complex and fragmented process and production data, according to the same article cited above.  What ultimately resulted upon examination of the cleaned and sorted data was a key finding that hugely affected yield.  “The increase in yield translated into a sustainable $10 million to $20 million annual profit impact for the mine, without it having to make additional capital investments or implement major change initiatives.”

We can expect further great discoveries and improvements in the world of manufacturing thanks to brilliant, cutting-edge Big Data technologies and those incredibly smart and creative persons who know how to apply them.

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