AI. Digital Twins. Future Factory. Industry 4.0.
Large automation vendors market digitalization concepts to large manufacturers with advanced processes and big budgets. Using iQagent, small to medium companies and OEMs can also reap advantages of digitalization, building a foundation on digital and mobile processes for future growth.
Industrial digitalization buzzwords seemingly target large manufacturers with advanced processes and big budgets. However, many of these concepts are overkill for smaller customers whose processes aren’t as advanced; if so, how can small to medium sized manufacturers and OEMs benefit from digitalization right now? Read on to find out!
Despite the many buzzwords, digitization (or, digitalization) is a fairly simple concept. It means to convert manual plant processes to a more efficient digitized version. Digitizing a process can be as simple as replacing paper forms with mobile ones, or as complex as creating digital twins for complex components. It can be a big undertaking, but you don’t have to do it all at once.
Digitalization of any process has benefits.
To illustrate, lets take the simple example above, replacing a paper inspection process with a digitized version that users can complete on a mobile device. The obvious benefits are:
- Cost Reduction: Eliminate paper and the costs of managing it.
- Convenience: Anyone with a mobile device can complete the form.
- Version Control: mobile forms are always the correct version.
- Worker Efficiency: mobile forms eliminate mistakes and incomplete form submissions, and don’t require transcribing.
- Contextual Data: Mobile forms allow users to upload and annotate images which highlight problem areas. This provides contextual information about issues that can make subsequent repairs more efficient.
As you can see, there are serious benefits to converting paper forms to mobile versions — definately enough to seriously consider digitizing these processes in your plant. But the benefits don’t stop there! When a mobile form is completed, the submission data are stored in a database, which increases the usefulness and accessibility of this information an order of magnitude. These benefits include:
- Better Access: Instant retrieval of form submissions based on many factors, including equipment, areas, insepctors or types of problems.
- Identify Trends: Search relevant data from many submissions to quickly identify and correct recurring problems and trends.
- System Integration: Forms submissions can easily be integrated with existing plant systems, like CMMS, ERP and other systems, making the whole process more efficient.
What’s the next step?
Ok, so now we are totally sold on the idea of digitizing our forms, but where do we start? Well, you’ll need a form creation solution that will allow you to convert your paper based forms into their digital equivalent and deploy them so your plant floor staff can use them. As you research available solutions, questions will arise:
- How much will the new solution cost?
- How much manpower will it cost to convert my forms?
- Can I do it in-house, or do I have to hire a developer?
- Am I going to have to subscribe to a cloud service?
- What will it take to maintain and expand this solution?
- Is it worth the cost? (Most Important!)
Will there be ROI?
You will find many form solutions are cloud (SaaS) based, requiring both an internet connection and a subscription. They may also charge premiums for onsite installation and developer access to submission data from their web APIs. That last question (Is it worth the cost?) is the most important one, because it’s where you decide whether the ROI of digitizing your forms is worth the time and effort spent creating it.
My point: if you spend your digitization budget on just a forms creation software, you may not get the ROI you expected. However, it’s helpful to remember there are countless other plant floor processes that can be digitized. Such as access to documents, process data and training information relevant to the equipment or process area where you are working. Because we are far more than just a forms solution, iQagent delivers ROI for Plants and OEMs beginning their plant floor digitalization journey.
Digitize your core processes using Points Of Interest.
iQagent Enterprise uses the Point Of Interest (POI) concept to make your plant floor a data rich environment. To do this, create POIs in our easy to use configuration editor, and associate live data, documents, videos, forms and other resources. Then, print the POI’s QR code and place on the equipment. Plant floor users can then simply point their mobile or wearable device at the POI to view relevant live process data, schematics, documents, videos, training material, forms and work instructions. Because we directly link resources to plant floor equipment, users have relevant data and resources where they need it most!
iQagent is an easy to use off-the-shelf solution that installs in mere minutes. It also doesn’t require a subscription or a cloud connection, so you won’t need development resources to create POIs. Watch the video below to see how quickly easily you can create POIs for your plant with iQagent!
If you liked what you saw in the video above, you can request your free copy of iQagent Enterprise software! Just fill out this form with your business email address to begin your plant floor digitalization journey.
Why is iQagent the best solution for companies getting started with plant floor digitalization?
- We’ve been around awhile! Unlike recent competitors who are just starting out, iQagent started in 2012 with the iPad 2 as our first mobile device. Our first customers, a global chemical/pharmaceutical giant and a US Automaker, made their first license purchases that same year.
- iQagent is a proven solution. We don’t have investors, and rely on actual license sales to keep us in business. We also have been awarded 2 US patents on our approach to plant floor visualization.
- Off The Shelf. iQagent installs on your network in minutes, and can be used by anyone who can use a computer. It takes no programming skills to quickly create and deploy POIs and forms.
- No Subscriptions or Cloud access required. iQagent licenses are perpetual, and reside on your Server or VM. We don’t require internet access in order for the software to work.
- Works with the devices you already own. We have native clients on Android, IOS, Windows 10, Microsoft HoloLens and RealWear HMT-1, so you can immediately put iQagent to work in your plant.
- A Sure Bet for AR and Digitalization Pilot Budgets. iQagent is a mature product with lots of features! It is suitable for your AR and Digitalization Pilot projects, as it works with AR capable devices as well as older phones and tablets. You won’t have to worry about proving ROI from your pilot with iQagent.
- You can get started now. For Free! Our new trial mode allows you to create POIs and a form to view on up to 3 supported devices. Since our trial mode doesn’t expire, test iQagent as long as you like! When ready, just purchase a license for the desired number of clients, and create an unlimited amount of POIs, forms and procedures. Request your copy of iQagent.