Innovation & Your Factory Floor

Published on 09 September 2020

We have all heard so much about COVID-19 and the way it has transformed business for some and stopped business for others. Let’s take a break from COVID-19 and instead focus on innovative ways to help your company get the most use of every inch of space on your factory floor.

The factory floor is an oft-overlooked area within the factory that could benefit from the use of technology as well as aspects of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). The potential machine (a.k.a. hardware) and software interfaces on the factory floor can significantly influence the success of your business. By employing concepts of Industry 4.0 and IoT, you can improve communication between systems and automate processes using software, which is a form of innovation. Innovation drives progress and if you are to keep up with your competitor down the street or across the ocean, you must constantly seek ways to innovate every aspect of your business.

One strategic area for glass fabrication companies in need of innovation/re-think is the factory floor. Every inch of the factory floor needs to be maximized, but does that always happen? By rethinking your processes, employing software, and maximizing the use of your space, every process within your factory can be improved, including your use of remnant glass pieces.

 What do you currently do with your remnant pieces? If you are like most companies, you store these remnants "somewhere" and eventually dispose of them because you have no concept of how to include them in future optimizations. Is there a better solution? Yes, a better solution is the use of a mechanical residual plate management system. However, these storage systems represent a significant investment and are not the optimal solution for every company.

If you cannot implement a fully mechanical residual plate management system (RSM), you can take one-step closer to Industry 4.0 by implementing a manual RSM system. A manual RSM system uses harp racks and A/L racks for temporary storage of the first cuts, you can achieve the best possible yield, while maximizing space on your factory floor. By thinking outside the box and utilizing aspects of Industry 4.0, you can use technology, including software, to innovate and develop new processes to store and monitor your residual sheets, allowing you to save money and increase your yield.

 Innovation by definition, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the introduction of something new,” whether that be an idea, method, or device. By making incremental innovations to your RSM system, you are working towards Industry 4.0 and the ability to full automate your factory floor, which will help you meet demand in the future as well as the current worker shortage. Innovation can help a company tackle many things, so start with your biggest space, your factory floor.

Additional Reading:

Industry 4.0 Begins in the Office

Upping Your Digital Game to Win (in an era of Physical Distancing)

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