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An Atlas Copco worker with a finger scanner

7 ways tech is turbocharging warehouses and factories

DUBAI, June 13, 2024

Companies are pushing towards smarter factories and more efficient warehousing by integrating a network of interconnected devices, machinery, and production systems. 
 
This big shift – driven by the need for seamless collaboration, improved data accessibility, and enhanced operational efficiency – requires businesses to master the core principles and practical applications that can significantly elevate their operations, says Atlas Copco.
 
Atlas Copco mentions seven ways technology is turbocharging warehouses and factories.
 
AI revolutionising quality control
The adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in manufacturing is redefining quality assurance. Imagine a system where advanced algorithms and machine learning scrutinise extensive datasets to identify anomalies on the assembly line with pinpoint accuracy. At Atlas Copco’s factory in Antwerp for example, AI-driven visual inspections guarantee that each product adheres to strict assembly standards. Early detection of errors reduces waste, curtails rework, and maintains product integrity, thereby boosting overall quality and customer satisfaction.
 
Empowering assembly teams with digital training
Close-up of a factory worker's hand wearing a glove and holding a small red-light scanner, highlighting the use of advanced digital tools in manufacturing.
 
In today's manufacturing landscape, teams require a broader spectrum of knowledge to effectively assemble products. Unlike a decade ago, digital solutions now provide invaluable support with the bigger variation and complexity within products nowadays. Atlas Copco embraces this evolution by equipping workers with digital resources tailored to each product. Through digital instructions and immersive training via virtual reality (VR), workers are guided through assembly processes with improved precision. This dynamic approach enhances efficiency and increases quality, while empowering workers with the skills needed to excel in the modern manufacturing environment.
 
Teaming up with ‘cobots’
Factory technician operating a collaborative robot (cobot) in a modern manufacturing facility, showcasing human-robot collaboration for enhanced productivity.
Meet the cobots – collaborative robots primed to work alongside assembly teams. Armed with sensors and AI, cobots have quickly become dependable allies across the manufacturing sector, sharing the workload and boosting productivity. These clever machines shoulder repetitive or physically demanding tasks, while bringing an adaptability that ensures smooth transitions between operations. They represent a new paradigm in manufacturing, proving that automation can enhance human potential rather than replacing it; and driving efficiency and innovation to new heights through collaboration.
 
Enhancing monitoring and control with IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the beating pulse of modern manufacturing, collecting troves of data ripe for AI analysis. These sensors can be embedded in everyday objects, machines, equipment, and infrastructure to monitor and gather real-time information about their surroundings or operating conditions. Atlas Copco taps into IoT insights to help fine-tune production processes and trim costs; and using this highly advanced technology, we can make data-driven decisions, optimising operations and fueling productivity.
 
Advanced warehouse management systems
In warehousing, AI-driven management systems play a pivotal role in optimising inventory control and keeping operations nimble and responsive. These systems automate crucial processes such as tracking and handling of materials, significantly reducing the risks of overstocking or stockouts. 
 
Using its arsenal of sophisticated in-house systems to ensure effective storage and movement of materials, Atlas Copco has detailed control over its inventory, supporting continuous production without surplus costs.
 
Proactive maintenance
AI-powered maintenance, extends machinery lifespan, and ensures that production processes run smoothly. Implementing a combination of AI data analysis and AI vision systems reduces operational disruptions and maintenance costs, contributing to more reliable production timelines.
 
Smart meets sustainable
Smart energy management systems are crucial for transformation. By harnessing real-time data, these systems unveil invaluable insights into energy consumption patterns, illuminating areas ripe for optimisation. Case in point: by leveraging data analytics to identify and address inefficiencies, Atlas Copco's Portable Air division made a bold transition to hydrotreated vegetable (HVO) oil in test cells and labs at its Antwerp facility; underscoring the transformative potential of data-driven initiatives.
 
As digital technologies evolve, their integration into manufacturing and warehousing is indispensable for companies aiming to remain competitive. By embracing a culture of innovation, businesses can reap the vast potential of digital transformation; while setting industry standards and shaping future industrial trends. This proactive approach not only meets current market demands but also anticipates future challenges, targeting long-term success when traversing the digital frontier.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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