In our last article, we mentioned the IIoT (industry internet of things) and spoke about the security risk that a modern, internet-facing sheet metal machine can pose to your network and workshop. But what about the improvements and conveniences that the IIoT has brought to the metal fabrication world? Spoiler alert – there’s a few of them and they’re a pretty big deal, so let’s take a look at four of the fundamental ones.
1. Improved efficiency
The obvious benefit of the IIoT is the improved efficiency across the board. Automation, for example, is one specific convenience that allows production to move much faster with little need for human involvement. This streamlines entire operations with little room for error (since CNC and other automated machines are incredibly accurate). The ability to schedule and monitor these automated processes from anywhere via the internet is also a huge benefit.
Scheduling automations isn’t the only thing that can be done remotely, however, as you’ll also be able to track specific sheet metal machines (or all the machines in your workshop) and analyse their efficiency and progress in addition to receiving updates if any issues arise or when jobs have been completed. Micro adjustments can also be made when necessary after data has been analysed from a previous batch to further improve efficiency.
2. Maintenance standards
Of course, improved efficiency across the board also applies to maintenance – one of the ever-present elements of a sheet metal machine. Maintenance can halt production processes in its tracks and end up costing a pretty penny if handled incorrectly. The advantage that modern machines have is that the comprehensive performance reports and data they produce will work to simplify this process. How is that done? Well, you’ll be able to consult the data and use it as a baseline to gauge when the next maintenance will be required.
Therefore, you can actually begin to make the necessary adjustments to your schedule and processes in order to minimise the negative impact the maintenance will have on your business. This may include moving your production to different machines for a time or even just having the parts ready to go (for example if there’s a particular component that wears down faster than others).
3. Safer operating
With the likes of automation playing a larger role in modern sheet metal fabrication, the need for manual labour decreases – meaning less chance of injury occurring. Whilst only trained and qualified users should be operating sheet metal machinery – accidents can still occur and can be quite severe. Additionally ¬– those machines that still require a human element have advanced to the point where smart sensors are able to greatly mitigate accidents from occurring – forming a safer working environment.
In the event that an accident does occur, then everyone in the workshop can be alerted so the appropriate action can be taken – cutting down the incident response time significantly and potentially saving lives. This demonstrates both the active and passive safety role that modern innovations are playing in the industry. Additionally, each time an incident occurs or is prevented, the data is recorded and can be reviewed for further training and learning purposes.
4. Big investment – bigger profit
Whilst investing in new technology is always expensive upfront – it’s usually the long-term outcome that needs to be looked at. That’s definitely the case for the sheet metal fabrication industry as the improved efficiency and meticulous control you’ll have over your workshop of machines will work towards cutting your processes drastically without tarnishing the quality of the finished products. In the long run, investing in IIoT technology and systems will actually reduce your costs as the advancements and data will allow you to improve your operations and follow alternate and more proficient avenues. The sheer fact that you’re able to monitor your workshop from anywhere in the world at any time without physically being there is a convenient and ultimately profitable advantage.
Are you looking to purchase a sheet metal machine?
ACRA Machinery is your one-stop-shop for new and used sheet metal machinery. If you’re looking to take your workshop to the next level and take advantage of the IIoT then check out the CNC panel bending centre from Durma. We also offer an on-site repair and maintenance service for your convenience.
If you’d like to find out more, then please give us a call on 03 9794 6675 or fill out the contact form on our website.