Industry 4.0 has revolutionized manufacturing by connecting factories to the cloud. With the ability to capture machine data, JITbase has built a unique pathfinding technology for machine operators called the Optimal Path. This “GPS for the operator” takes Industry 4.0 to the next level.

Industry 4.0 has been a revolution in the manufacturing industry:

  • Supervisors can know the status of their shop floor in real-time
  • Data-analysts have a more granular view of the production process enabling them to identify opportunities for improvement thanks to the data being gathered
  • Operators can remotely monitor running machines using smart technology rather than watching the controller screen or relying on lights affixed to the machine.

Prior to Industry 4.0, manufacturing operators were assigned to a single machine during a shift and worked through the scheduled production. The disadvantages of this 1:1 relationship are obvious:

  1. Long cycle-time means an operator is standing idle next to a machine waiting for it to stop before he can perform some manipulation or measurement.
  2. Absent employees translate to a drop in productivity for the day and perturbe the production planning.

An idle machine is a non-productive machine

Adoption of Industry 4.0 practices means operators are able to remotely monitor multiple workstations at the same time, identifying the machine that will next require their attention. By using technology to monitor the activity on the shop floor, operators and supervisors have a bird’s-eye view of the production and can spot idle machines instantly. Inefficiencies arise, however, when multiple machines require an operator’s attention at the same time; where to go first?

Traditional vs. Industry 4.0 shop

Enter the OPS Optimal Path

Using Operational Research (OR) algorithms, JITbase identifies the most efficient path for an operator to follow for the currently running programs, which will maximize the availability of all monitored machines. By mapping the running programs into JITbase and passing this information through the OR algorithm, the operator is provided with the optimal path to follow for all non-lights-out operations.

Optimal path through 4 running programs

The OPS and Optimal Path allow operators to:

  • Prepare for the next task ahead of time by gathering any tools or instruments needed to perform their duties
  • Monitor multiple machines at the same time, responding to any unscheduled stoppages more quickly
  • Provide feedback to the supervisors if the estimated time to complete a task is too long or too short

By putting more information in the hands of the operators, the company is able to:

  • Reduce machine idle time, thereby increasing productivity
  • Improve the task estimates thereby making the production planning more accurate.
  • Monitor shop floor productivity in real time, identifying issues as they happen rather than wait for a weekly or monthly report identify problems.
  • Help train new employees by guiding them through the different processes and tasks required to produce products.

The Optimal Path takes Industry 4.0 to the next level by improving a company’s overall efficiency all the while providing a reliable solution to employers experiencing problems finding, retaining and training talent.

Working in concert with our partners through the Quebec government's MACH FAB 4.0 program and with the financial support of Centech,  JITbase has been developing this technology over the past 12 months.

MACH FAB 4.0 is an initiative of the Quebec government and Aéro Montréal with the goal to encourage the implementation of digital technologies and advanced manufacturing in the participating SMEs.