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Introduction

The manufacturing sector is often considered a key driver of economic growth. Despite this, there are alarming concerns. Rising production costs, global economic uncertainties, pollution concerns, etc. have put considerable pressure on optimizing factory production.

However, over the years, the sector has been subject to many diverse challenges as well. For instance, the sector contributes about 1/3rd of all greenhouse gas emissions globally. Growing competition and rising inefficiencies are putting profitability at risk too. By some estimates, income from manufacturing has contracted over the last 5 years by over 8%. It’s also proving to be hard to recruit people for manufacturing jobs. There are nearly 800,000 open positions in USA’s manufacturing sector currently and projections are that this number could grow to 2.1 million by 2030.

As with other sectors, manufacturing leaders are leveraging technology solutions to solve the challenges of modern factories. Their core objective is to maximize the utilization of assets currently at their disposal.

The concept of digital factories or smart factories has become a mainstream entity in the manufacturing world. And with it, ThingWorx has become a “go-to” solution in the industry to help manage the end-to-end operations of a digital factory.

The rise of ThingWorx

In simple terms, ThingWorx helps manufacturers embrace the power of connected machinery, automation, and digital experiences. It is an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform that enables industrial establishments to harness data from their operations and drive value from it. Supported by a range of accelerators, pre-built solutions, and developer tools, ThingWorx is the holistic platform for manufacturers to pivot meaningfully and effectively into Industry 4.0.

How does ThingWorx help smart factories?

Smart factories operate based on data acquired from their ecosystem and processed for efficient outcomes at lower costs and increased productivity. With PTC ThingWorx, it becomes easier to set up such a smart establishment, manage its data connections using Kepware, and track and monitor for success.

ThingWorx transforms a manufacturing facility into something like a digital ecosystem wherein manufacturing outcomes are measured by data like a productized service. Let us explore the top areas where ThingWorx becomes a key pillar of modern digital factories:

Realize new product offerings as a service

With ThingWorx, manufacturers can tap into the possibilities of IIoT in their business. They can launch innovative products that combine the strengths of a physical product as well as the connected services of a digital product. The product of the OEM can be connected to the manufacturer, thereby allowing them to continuously monitor the quality of service, performance, and other useful metrics.

In short, manufacturers can transform their business model from being one driven by single purchases to one managed as a continuous subscription program. It is similar to how SaaS technology works. In this case, the product is offered as a service.

They can constantly leverage PTC ThingWorx to build a connected oversight dashboard for products. The dashboard gets the harnessed data from products at customer locations. Remote diagnostics and repair of problems, continuous usage feedback monitoring, and a better understanding of use cases for future design inputs are major advantages in this scenario.

Asset management for maximum utilization of factory assets

Digital factories have a plethora of equipment and machinery working around the clock to support key business functions. However, timely maintenance, periodic upgrades, and replacements, optimal utilization of assets, continuous health monitoring of machinery, etc. are all strategic requirements for sustainable business practices. Managing all this data is a Herculean endeavor for businesses.

ThingWorx streamlines asset management by helping manufacturers build a unified view of their factory data landscape and connecting them to different assets. Every asset can be plugged into a centralized platform or an app and over time when the business expands, more copies of the factories can be made with the same data imprints. It becomes easier to predict asset health, infrastructure utilization, etc. for manufacturers with the app powered by ThingWorx. This helps them to maintain the physical infrastructure at its optimal health for lower running costs.

Energy management

Similar to how ThingWorx helps in managing assets via a centralized platform, the energy needs of a digital factory could be dealt with in the same way. Energy consumption data from machines could be used to model an app in ThingWorx that helps derive deep insights from the same. Using such insights, it becomes easier to determine workloads and automation efforts. Ultimately energy savings become a key achievement for manufacturers with ThingWorx.

By having measurable insights on power consumption, manufacturers can invest in the right infrastructure upgrades or transformation initiatives to deliver better power efficiency.

Build digital twins

One of the major breakthroughs that ThingWorx can drive in revolutionizing industrial establishments is the capability of building a digital twin. In simple terms, a digital twin is the digital equivalent of a physical product, process workflow, or any other entity. It is modeled based on the data captured from its real counterparts through a network of sensors and connected data points. It helps in predicting the behavior of the actual entity in real time. The digital twin is supplied with data that alters its operational environment and subsequent reactions from the digital variant are analyzed thoroughly on an information model.

It can unlock the hidden behavior of machines or factory infrastructure when impacted by external agents. Digital twins can be modeled using data captured and centralized by ThingWorx. It can accommodate the entire production lifecycle as well as deployment use cases as well in demonstrations. Such a concept helps in reducing errors, launching a guaranteed product to the market, and assurance of quality.

ThingWorx offers a long list of possibilities that can help manufacturers build the future of digital factories. The ability to acquire, harness, and deliver actionable insights from data is the central component of success that drives ThingWorx adoption. However, manufacturers need a comprehensive and strategic approach to implementing a data-driven operational framework. This will help in connecting disparate or siloed data systems easily.

Explore the potential of this powerful solution by partnering with a leading ThingWorx specialist provider like Pratiti. Get in touch with us to know more.

Nitin
Nitin Tappe

After successful stint in a corporate role, Nitin is back to what he enjoys most – conceptualizing new software solutions to solve business problems. Nitin is a postgraduate from IIT, Mumbai, India and in his 24 years of career, has played key roles in building a desktop as well as enterprise solutions right from idealization to launch which are adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. As a Founder member of Pratiti Technologies, he is committed to applying his management learning as well as the passion for building new solutions to realize your innovation with certainty.

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