Book Excerpt: The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to Smart Data, Chapter 1


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Chapter 1: The Benefits and Challenges of Collecting Big Data

Accurate data is required to adjust processes and to ensure quality over time. This is difficult because not all data is in the same format, and not all sensors perform the same over time. How do you know what the best data to collect is and how to filter out the junk data from useful or smart data? This is not an easy task when the interfaces to data collection sources are complex, and they do not speak the same language, often requiring the vendor’s help to get data out of the machine and then spending time normalizing the data to turn it into something useful. This is a challenge for companies trying to set up a custom data collection system themselves.

High-tech manufacturing processes generate huge amounts of data. However, approximately 70% of that data is not used, according to research at MIT, either because it has not been collected or because of the lack of a platform that will use the data in an intelligent manner to drive informed business decisions.

The Benefits of Using Data

One of the key benefits of using data effectively is boosting prediction accuracy, and this requires a deep understanding of the data and domain expertise. It also requires access to the data in the first place, and not all companies are willing to give that up. When this is the case, many companies commit R&D resources to figure out how to do it.

Companies can differentiate themselves from their competition with intelligent, responsive, and supportive productization. Those that more effectively balance customization with complexity costs can generate organic sales growth and profit margins significantly higher than their industry peers.

Businesses can appeal to consumers by providing a product that matches or comes close to their ideal product while allowing producers to utilize improved workflows and technology to maintain high output and obtain cost savings compared to a pure mass production environment.

Smart manufacturing supports mass customization by providing insight on production efficiency, equipment usage, and status across the entire value chain. By eliminating silos of information and enabling the sharing of data, businesses can dramatically shorten NPI cycles and time to market.

Digital innovation and adoption of smart manufacturing strategies will also give businesses greater adaptability by providing better control and visibility into their supply chain and optimizing their capacity to build more products, faster and with profitable growth.

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