Smoothening The Transition Into The New Normal

The new normal brought on by the pandemic has sparked more conversations around automation, artificial intelligence and robotics and the impact they have on jobs and processes. The age of automation had already made its mark even prior to the pandemic the world is undergoing currently, creating new needs for skills and long-term learning.

 “Automating a facility is a complex process involving different parties for different scopes of work. When shifting from a manual production process where it can be costly and time-consuming, manufacturers need to first analyse their existing process and identify areas to improve on via automation or other Industrial 4.0 components,” says Matthew Schultz, Haskell’s Director of Operations APAC.

In order to make the transition easier for manufacturers and other players in the industry, Haskell has partnered with RoviSys by being a single source provider for Industrial 4.0 upgrades in a manufacturing facility within the Food & Beverage, Consumer Packaged Goods, Aviation & Aerospace, Electrical & Electronics, and Pharmaceutical industries.

Both Haskell and RoviSys will work hand in hand throughout the project, keeping the client’s goals in mind, to ensure that the project is executed according to expectations, if not exceeding them.

Haskell’s in-house Architecture, Engineering Construction capabilities combined with the sophistication of RoviSys within the automation components of the project allows for a seamless integration of Industrial 4.0 technologies into a manufacturing facility.

Every Step Of The Way

According to Haskell, each variety of Indstrial 4.0 elements are implemented in a way that is designed to help manufacturers boost the overall facility performance. To decide on which element is needed for a facility to improve, the firm assists manufacturers through a process optimisation study conducted at the very beginning of the project to examine its existing state and understand its current manufacturing process.

The client will later be presented with a full business case report at the end of the study to learn about the gaps identified in their existing production, as well as several Industrial 4.0 elements to be considered that would help their production goal, backed with forecasted results.

Schultz says the intricacy that the business case provides would help manufacturers to weigh their options against the cost to be incurred and make an informed decision on how to move forward with their automation upgrades.

The next phase of the project involves both Haskell and Rovisys working alongside each other to execute the project. At this stage, a project management team is important to ensure smooth execution for the facility automation upgrades, given the complex, largescale, systematic transformation process involved in the project.

Challenges ahead

“When shifting from a manual production process where it can be costly and time-consuming, manufacturers need to first analyze their existing process and identify areas to improve on via automation or other Industrial 4.0 components.

“This includes contracting different parties to carry out the different works involved from start to finish. A full automation procedure demands for an engineering team to assess the facility; a systems provider with a strong expertise in the automation field, and a project management team,” Schultz highlights.

He further says that from the early stage of the project, conducting a process optimisation study and identifying opportunities to integrate technology to boost overall productivity requires an in-depth knowledge of process engineering.

Once key areas have been identified, a series of procedure takes place before finally arriving at the upgrading phase.

Importance of Automation

“The multi-faceted nature of Industrial 4.0 brings about a number of benefits to manufacturers that centers around the goal of achieving a higher productivity and reduce long-term cost.

“Among manufacturers, the typical key indicators of success are productivity and efficiency. When relying on manual labour for a production line, for example, it is a lot more productive, efficient, and cost-effective to have an automated filler rather than a worker manually filling one bottle at a time,” Schultz tells BusinessToday.

This can be solved by having automated filler systems installed within the production line, allowing for a shorter production time and boosts overall productivity.

Pharmaceutical companies on the other hand typically manufactures temperature-sensitive products and may consider using cybersecurity to their advantage to prevent potential compromise of their temperature system that could cause severe damage to the drugs manufactured.

Haskell also highlights that it is important to employ a party that works with a wide array of system integrators and are certified partners with many, allowing for flexibility to meet the facility’s needs. This may come in handy when trying to track product movements and rapidly identify bottlenecks and efficiency problems across the facility and identify a root cause.

“When executed properly, having an integrated system implemented throughout the facility can accelerate production quality and throughput.

In Malaysia, Putrajaya has implemented several measures to ensure that the adoption process well-received by manufacturers in Malaysia. The Readiness Assessment (RA) conducted by MITI and several other agencies helps assess a manufacturer’s readiness to automate, by looking at several key factors including current product process, monetary capabilities, and human capital.

Despite all that, automation within the manufacturing industry in Malaysia is still at its early stages and there is a gap between the demand for automation and supply of the right team to plan and execute the automation process from start to finish, says Schultz.

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