IT Field of Competence Data Driven Innovations: Reference Story Factor E-Analytics
Digitalisation made easy
Factor-E Analytics (Factor-E) is a Berlin company that develops and markets an intelligent solution for the digitalisation and networking of manufacturing plants. Through smart measuring of the electricity flow the company can evaluate the productivity and energy consumption of production units – regardless of whether they have an IT interface or not.
Digitalisation is rapidly advancing across all sectors of industry and commerce. Particularly in the manufacturing sector where a great number of machines produce continuous data streams, many companies are striving for better data which will give them greater transparency, higher productivity and enhanced planning security. Yet even though the internet of things (IoT) is now a buzzword, digital production still remains a prohibitively expensive, if not impossible, proposition. Why is this so? In Europe alone, over 2.7 million machine tools have no kind of IT interface (Fraunhofer IPK & EU, 2014) and are thus excluded from capture of production data and need high cost reengineering or replacement.
Factor-E solves this problem by deriving relevant performance data from the real-time analysis and evaluation of power signals, independently of the type of machine or its age. Since data capture and information gathering is based solely on electricity signals, this means that the production units to be digitalised no longer need an IT interface. Digitalisation of equipment is effected exclusively through measurement, evaluation and transmission of electricity flows by low cost standard hardware (industrial PCs) which most customers already have.
Early identification of weak point and inefficiencies
The solution now brings comprehensive yet affordable digitalisation within the reach of every shop floor. And such digitalisation enables the capture of operational and resource consumption data as well as the monitoring of productivity and health in the facility.
Weak points and inefficiencies can be pinpointed at an early stage while production goals can be controlled and system failures reduced. Furthermore, production workers can be actively notified about incidents (for instance via e-mail or SMS) and so respond rapidly to problems. In overall terms, productivity increases of up to 10 percent and energy savings of up to 30 percent are to be expected.
On a cloud-based platform users can track the real-time visualization of their energy consumption and the productivity of their manufacturing systems including all relevant key performance indicators. What’s more, the KPIs, alarms, alerts and actionable data are all communicated in real-time to web-enabled devices.
The system has minimal requirements in terms of computer infrastructure and functions as an additive IT layer. The hardware needed for data capture can be installed in under 30 minutes per system. The Factor-E solution enables manufacturing companies and especially SMEs to benefit from innovative Industrie 4.0 approaches for the digitisation of production and organisational workflows at minimum investment cost.
Photo: Factor-E Analytics GmbH
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