data production analyzers also instruments smart metals

techsuch May 9, 2021 0 Comments

2021 Metals Analysis OutlookThere’s always an opportunity with a crisis. Whilst 2020 was a year of hugedisruption, with industries having to cope with sudden changes in demand,issues with supply and restrictions on the ability to operate, it didaccelerate change for many companies. Especially when it comes to big industry4.0 trends including connectivity, big data, smart factories andsustainability.Thanks to new technologies being deployed throughout companies, IIoT(Industrial Internet of Things) is enabling the collection of more and moreinformation every day, including from manufacturing equipment.Today, many analyzers collect data on the instrument themselves. Our Hitachihandheld analyzers for example are able to store measurements remotely andmore Hitachi models also have connectivity enabled, which is the real game-changer for enabling remote, real-time decision making. This we predict willbe a key theme for 2021.### What do we mean by connectivity?The vision is that analytical instruments will have either WIFI, ethernet, USBor in the future, 4G/5G functionality, depending on the industrialenvironment. The next step would be for analyzers to have the ability to shareand integrate operational technology (OT) data. But today, most of theconnectivity is around data sharing and automation.Connectivity in the future could also mean that analyzers could integrate toprocess control systems and communicate with other machines and resources.Ultimately, the end goal is to speed up processes, optimize performance,reduce waste and ensure product quality.### Leveraging technologies to make manufacturing greenerIndustry 4.0 has uncovered an opportunity for positive action when it comes tosustainability, by leveraging technologies to make processes more efficientand greener.Foundries for example have for years championed the green movement by beingthe ultimate recyclers of raw material. However, many are also looking at whatgreen technology can do to help reduce material waste. Each process stepshould have the right solution in place: incoming inspection, melt shop floor,central lab and outgoing inspection. Connected analytical instruments can feeddata to a central point, where quality issues can be easily spotted andsubsequently rectified to reduce wastage and save cost.The same concept can be applied further down the supply chain withinfabrication, but equally at OEM level. Ensuring each process step has afocused solution that enables data collection can help reduce wastage anddeliver greener manufacturing.### Big data is powerOne reason information rules in the metals industry is through its ability tomake manufacturing quality assurance and control processes simpler and faster.However, whilst the quantity of data available is colossal, the question ishow manufacturers turn this into something of value – recognizing patterns andpredicting behaviour to make informed decisions.Even if thousands of measurements are taken each day, data from the analyzercan help manufacturers optimize production in a number of ways, including: * Increased product quality by identifying defects at the earliest stage in the process. * Machine failure predictions and diagnostics leading to well-timed preventative work, reduced downtime and less risk of sudden failures that are so damaging to business. * Reduced costs through the use of big data for predictive analytics, shortening the quality assurance process.### The ultimate goal: Smart factoriesWhilst 2021 will see more and more connected analysis operations, at theadvanced end of the Industry 4.0 spectrum is smart factories deliveringoptimized production processes. Whilst connectivity itself isn’t new withinthe manufacturing process, when it comes to elemental analyzers andintegrating them into the smart factory, this is the future.We’re still probably a few years off from fully integrated, connected andflexible analyzers that feed smart factories with a constant stream of data;learning and adapting based on demands of the production process. But here’swhat the new reality does extend to today and could look like:Incoming inspectionThe metals industry is already operating on tight margins and after COVID-19,minimizing production scrap and rework is an easy win. Right material, rightplace will continue to be hugely important for reducing the cost of poorquality. This is where connectivity can and will play a key role. For example,if an issue is discovered in the melt process related to raw materials, thisinformation can be passed up to the incoming inspection team, who can thentake corrective action. And the great news is, with the right solutions inplace, this can already be implemented.In the future, it could be taken even further by extending it to the supplychain – incorporating data from the supply chain, if they are also using ananalyzer, to confirm grade ID for example before it even reaches theproduction site, making incoming inspection a much faster process. This real-time data sharing will enable better collaboration.Factory floorWe’re already seeing automation of metals analysis to support stringent QCprograms and metals processing facilities taking advantage of automated sampleanalysis to measure batches of samples in a single measurement run. In-production analysis integration is also in demand with larger instrumentsbeing installed directly into conditioning lines for real-time analysis.In the future, we’re likely to see existing production lines upgraded byadding inline sensors that act as control points for the flow of products fromraw material to finished component. This integration of automated checks goesa long way towards capturing potential issues before any time or material iswasted. For example, analytical instruments can push information out toproduction equipment to start specific tasks such as running analyses orremoving a test sample and flag up and halt production when an anomalousresult is discovered. This real-time response reduces scrap and rework andhelps production react quickly to any issues – essential when budgets aretight.Another area where inline sensors will cut costs is increased asset uptime.Sudden downtime due to unexpected machine failure can be avoided, andscheduled maintenance intervals can be extended to match the actual wear andtear of the equipment, reducing costly downtime.By bringing your analyzers to be part of the smart factory ecosystem, constantlive-metrics and tools will support quick and consistent decision making todrive efficiencies to the production process.### ExTOPE ConnectMany of Hitachi’s instruments come with ExTOPE Connect, a cloud-based datamanagement solution. ExTOPE Connect establishes a central location for alldata from your entire fleet of analyzers, even across multiple locations,updated in real time and readily accessible, delivering a significant boost tooperational efficiency and risk reduction.Results including chemistry, images, spectra and measurement location (ifapplicable) will automatically upload when taken, or as soon as a networkconnection is established to the cloud. ExTOPE Connect allows users to createreports directly from the cloud, which can then be shared via email to allinterested parties. Unlimited free data storage and automatic back-ups alsomean that historical analyzer data will always be accessible. When thehandheld instruments are connected to a mobile phone app, it’s also possibleto attach photos to measurement results, including when sharing the resultstext message, email or WhatsApp.### Build your metals solution toolbox with HitachiWe’ve always designed our industrial analyzers to cope with the challenges ofnot just today but the future too. As we move into a post-pandemic world, ourinstruments continue to help companies adapt to the demands of Industry 4.0.We’re able to provide a solution for different process steps within yourproduction process through our metals solution toolbox of handheld XRF, LIBSand OES analyzers, all which come with connectivity enabled, helping you takethe next step towards becoming a smart factory.#### What next?* * *Get the guide Register for the webinar* * *### Share this blog

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