Increasing cost pressure, the necessity to save resources and protect the environment as well as the growing demand for highly individualized products: Industrial companies are faced with complex challenges. The smart factory provides the solution. It stands for self-optimizing and self-organizing production. Even small quantities can thus be efficiently produced. Companies are able to successfully compete in the market in the future.
The smart factory is based on cyber-physical systems. They enable machines, resources and humans to intercommunicate over the Internet of Things. Information is exchanged via the cloud, the intranet or directly via RFID chips. For example, production lines are fitted with their own diagnostic systems: When an inspection is required, this is reported by the machine itself in a timely manner. This results in reduced downtime and longer service life of the machine. However, not only the machines, but also the workpieces themselves are communicating in the smart factory: RFID chips enable them to share important information with the production systems. This enables the smart factory to control itself and make production as efficient as possible.
The continuous exchange of data in the smart factory facilitates self-organizing supply chains. They control the production process as needed adapting it to new requirements: If, for example, a machine stops working another available system automatically takes over. This results in flexible and cost-effective production, even of minimal quantities.