Ultimately, each of these areas of technology development has the same goal: cohesion between department and employee functions, between multiple companies and supply chain partners. Achieving this horizontal and vertical system integration requires a strong network physical infrastructure. For example, a true smart factory may require each of the following types of system integration:
▲ Arrangement of incoming goods, such as goods that have just been pulled, loaded from the truck onto the automatic drum and passed through the RFID scanner. These scanners automatically verify the count and send the information to the smart facility system. The system transfers the goods to wherever it is needed – whether it is temporarily stored or transferred directly to the assembly shop.
▲ Multiple companies working together in a shared supply chain can participate in system integration to automate part reordering and synchronize their picking and delivery schedules.
▲ Multiple industrial systems are combined in an emerging trend called “digital twins”. The survival and death of manufacturing companies are determined by the level of sophistication of their business activities, which means that there is no need for excess inventory. Enterprise Planning Software draws the best conclusions about future inventory levels based on past and current partner and customer data. The automated manufacturing system calls the digital schematic - digital twins - and sends them to the plant equipment. The computerized assembly and handling equipment then works until the requirements are met.
Vertical system integration within the plant and horizontal system integration between partners is an inevitable future for manufacturing. This interconnected system network means more streamlined, more efficient production, and it also offers significant cost savings with lower error rates and fewer transmission errors between departments and partners.
Achieving this future requires compatibility between industrial control systems and digital management platforms, which in turn requires collaboration between partners or the use of APIs. However, once the parties understand these benefits, it is easy to overcome these obstacles.