SAP Manufacturing Automation


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What Is Manufacturing Automation?

Manufacturing automation is used by companies to automate systems or processes for greater efficiencies, cost reduction, and increased productivity. In its blog post, “The Growing Use of Automation in Manufacturing,” Machine Metrics describes the three types of manufacturing automation: fixed, programmable, and flexible.

What Is Manufacturing Automation?

Manufacturing automation is used by companies to automate systems or processes for greater efficiencies, cost reduction, and increased productivity. In its blog post, “The Growing Use of Automation in Manufacturing,” Machine Metrics describes the three types of manufacturing automation: fixed, programmable, and flexible.

SAP Supports Manufacturing Automation

To support companies in their manufacturing automation initiatives, SAP provides a few different solutions. According to SAP, it offers:

  • SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud — Increase operational visibility with a manufacturing execution system (MES) that provides near-real-time visibility and analytics.
  • SAP Manufacturing Execution — Achieve centralized processes and automated data collection while improving manufacturing reliability and product traceability.
  • SAP S/4HANA Manufacturing — Supports digital collaboration and capabilities by extending the SAP S/4HANA digital core.

Manufacturing Automation Trends

As more companies invest in manufacturing automation, several trends have emerged that are influencing the landscape in the years to come.

Predictive analytics. Manufacturers need their assembly line machines operational. Any downtime is a significant loss in revenue. An EY survey found that the average oil and gas company experiences nearly 27 days of unplanned downtime annually, resulting in losses ranging between 38 million and 88 million US dollars every year. Motor Oil Group, an oil refiner and retailer of oil and gas products based in Greece, wanted to invest in digital technology to significantly lower unplanned downtime and cut costs. The company needed a more accurate way to predict and address potential equipment problems before they occurred. After speaking with the experts, the company identified several benefits of predictive maintenance: cost savings, downtime and equipment failure avoidance, increased safety, greater quality and effectiveness of maintenance planning, and expanded technical knowledge about correlations and interactions of past abnormal events concerning equipment.

Sustainability and social responsibility. For many companies around the world, sustainability within manufacturing processes is a key initiative. In this article, FORCAM describes how its customers are achieving their goals of automation and sustainability. Sustainability reporting based on valid and actual data requires collecting energy consumption of the production process and the ability to attribute this to the individual product produced. This provides the transparency needed to uncover potential energy savings and calculate the carbon footprint of each product. Furthermore, it allows the tracking of the company’s optimization efforts and their impact on the bottom line. To achieve the full data picture, it’s critical to integrate brownfield machines that are 20, 30, and 40 years old that remain in production.

Use of robotics. Whether it’s on the assembly line or within a warehouse, robotics is being utilized to repurpose human labor, provide employee safety, and maintain a 24/7 operation. With the surge in e-commerce, warehouse design is now incorporating robotics as a critical component. In this article by Kumar Singh, Research Director at SAPinsider, learn that there are no “standard blueprints” for e-commerce warehouse designs. According to Singh, there are many aspects that go into the planning process. For example, the size of the warehouse will depend not only on the volume but also on the type of automation used. Similarly, flow paths will be dependent on use of robotics for picking.

Vendors in the manufacturing automation space include: Tech Mahindra, Stellium, and Vaizva.

 

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