September 21, 2022


Manufacturing and the Connected Factory: What Manufacturers Learned at IMTS

Manufacturing and the Connected Factory: What Manufacturers Learned at IMTS

From unreliable workforces to massive disruptions in supply-chain distribution, it’s clearer than ever that a shift towards technological solutions is inevitable and necessary for successful maintenance operations. What was once considered far into the future, the connected factory ecosystem is here now. 

Today’s manufacturing plant needs to build a digital, transparent ecosystem visible across an entire organization. 

Imagine real-time, robust parts and inventory management. 

Imagine pulling real-time data directly from your machines to build a preventive maintenance program. 

The connected factory ecosystem is here now, and efficient predictive maintenance, increased productivity, optimized operations, and automated systems are all right at your fingertips.

These upgrades are 100% possible and are saving plant managers valuable headcount, downtime, and time managing spare parts. 

MaintainX explored and demonstrated some of these solutions at IMTS this year. Let’s dive into key trends that arose at IMTS so you too can join the future of manufacturing and Industry 4.0. 

MaintainX team at our Connected Factory Booth at IMTS 2022
The MaintainX Team at IMTS 2022

1. Discrete Manufacturing: Machine Tooling Shops Are Investing in Modern and Advanced Tooling Machines

Want evidence of the connected factory floor? Manufacturers are producing some incredible machine tooling units that are more advanced than ever. Attendees at IMTS came ready to shop and spend big on modern and cost-effective machines and technology. While at IMTS, we met numerous job shops and contract manufacturing companies that are booked one-to-two years in advance. 

BusinessWire recently reported that we can expect an increased demand for products that can “simultaneously perform multiple operations, such as drilling, cutting, turning, facing, and grinding.” 

The report also foresees an upsurge in multi-axis systems. “Multi-axis systems provide the capability to manufacture extremely complex parts required in the automotive and aerospace & defense industries.” In addition, tools of this nature require less maintenance and can improve CAGR (compound annual growth rate). 

All in all, the advancement of technology-enabled machines is at its peak. And along with the new machines comes the enabled technology ecosystem—connecting the back-office to the frontline. 

Watch MaintainX at this year’s IMTS to see how this ecosystem works:

MaintainX at IMTS

2. Teams Need to Build a Connected Factory Floor

Every manufacturing company has work for 10 people but can only find 7 to do it. We have to build redundancy not just in the equipment, but in our labor force. Time and again when engaging small businesses, we ask, “Who will do the maintenance on the equipment you buy today, and what happens when that person retires next year?” These are valid questions, and to date, there is no good solution for the labor market.

Luckily, with labor shortages everywhere, technology keeps moving fast. What we only imagined and wanted—easy-to-use, integrated technology that connects a company’s workforce—is here and ready to be deployed. 

CMMS apps, such as MaintainX, have partnered with MachineMetrics, and other companies, to pull real-time machine-condition data to automatically create critical equipment work orders. These condition-based triggers enable customers to streamline communication and transform data into immediate, decisive action that reduces costly downtime and increases worker safety.

The modern-day CMMS can connect to a range of ever-growing software, making one integrated, easy-to-use system that even the team’s newest member can use. For example, ERPs such as Oracle, SAP, and Samsara can share data with MaintainX to connect all levels of the shop floor. 

connected factory

3. OEMs Are Able to Connect Directly to Users 

We know that the American manufacturing market is hungry for new tools, faster production, and reliable technology. This conference exposed the need for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to think more quickly and produce reliable products. 

Every job shop and discrete manufacturing company has more work than they can keep up with. Much of this is a result of the nearshoring/onshoring that we see in manufacturing. The desire to get manufacturing closer to the consumer is fueling the demand. 

In other words, (OEMs) can no longer operate in silos. New software solutions allow OEMs to partner directly with customers to provide additional aftermarket services, such as delivering parts directly to a customer’s maintenance team. To be clear, OEMs need to be able to integrate into the connected factory ecosystem.

Gaining insight into an installed database allows software services and OEMs to work together to deliver the right tools and services to help customers reach their production goals faster than before. 

Looking to create your own connected factory ecosystem? Connect your favorite software to MaintainX. It’s free.

Caroline Eisner
Caroline Eisner
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