UK Manufacturing


It’s more than a numbers game

8 March 2017

How companies can from benefit from Big Data.

Manufacturers are facing increasing pressure to improve production and increase productivity with the threat that if they don’t reassess how they make things now, their more savvy competitors will leapfrog ahead of them.

Here Iain Crosley, Managing Director of Hosokawa Gen4, looks at how manufacturers can capitalise on Big Data to realise production improvements that will position them ahead of their competitors in today’s internet connected and data driven, manufacturing world.

 ‘Big Data has the potential to aid productivity rates, quality, flexibility and machinery availability and be an ‘access for all’ step towards improve competitiveness in your chosen markets. Big Data is more than crunching masses of data. Data in itself is only valuable when analysed and turned into meaningful information or knowledge that can be then be applied to production methods to create a positive impact on productivity.

By comparing current and future manufacturing we can see how the impact of Big Data can expose the opportunities for positive change that can turn companies into the leading manufacturers of tomorrow, potentially leaving competitors in their wake.

Traditionally most manufacturing companies make the products they think people want. They make them on their existing equipment which controls what and how they make it, selling at a price controlled by the market. In many cases they don’t really know how their product was used. There is very little feedback about the product from either customers or from production data. With so little information and feedback, production is static, inflexible, and unresponsive to demand and change.

As manufacturers we need to replace these negative strategies with positive strategies and actions, if we are to get better’.

The Role of Big Data

Tomorrow’s manufacturing success will be increasingly data driven; making better use of the data that already exists within plants as well as new data capture and analysis technologies to create manufacturing excellence for the modern market. By introducing Big Data and its intelligent evaluation into your factory you introduce feedback into your production methodology, to power manufacturing agility.

Product Life Cycle

‘When we look at the life cycle of a product we can identify where Big Data technologies can be the catalysts for change or improvement – from concept and design stages right to end use operation – providing the information for valued judgement and the opportunity to make adjustments quickly and with confidence’.

-              Concept and Design - Connecting for Collaboration

Connected systems can import data from a wide variety of external and internal data sources, feeding real data back into design stages to help create an improved product, possible opportunities for better use of material resources and equipment and quicker time to market. A network of available information can be the catalyst to more collaborative operations potentially influencing product development and even leading to product variations and non-standard production, to deliver what the customer really wants and in the most efficient way.

-              Production – Flexible Operations

Internal and external collaboration leads to increased product flexibility. By implementing new technologies such as robotics and 3D printing, product individualisation is made available, opening the way for the benefits of volume production of customised products.

Knowledge mined from the Big Data accessed through your connected network is used to manage operations within pre-set rules or guidelines - so you can give customers more of what they want and with volume production efficiencies.

-              End Product – Customer Engagement

Much of the data acquisition, up to this stage in the production chain, has been M2M (machine to machine) but Big Data technologies open up a range of opportunity to interact with your market and individual customers enabling information from end users to  complete the never ending circle of product improvement and evolution.

Data Driven Manufacturing Services

Whilst Big Data might be fuelling operational changes, data is not enough, on its own, to drive step-change production improvements. It is essential that plant data is accurately collected and processed with advanced analytical tools to generate meaningful in information - turning data into knowledge.

Hosokawa Gen4’s data driven manufacturing service provides an integration platform that combines advanced data collection, analysis and reporting systems, cloud computing, mobile communication devices with access to 100 years engineering heritage and unrivalled processing technology and expertise to deliver a customised data to knowledge support service.

‘By capturing the data in your plant we can unlock patterns and trends that have never been seen, enabling another level of efficiency within your plant or manufacturing process. By improving visibility, operators can see how assets are performing, identify hidden losses and better use of resources, justify improvements and then monitor their impact. You can then decide how to implement the changes to get the best out of your existing plant.

Hosokawa Gen4 can help companies manage and modernise processes in real time instead of when it’s too late to effect change’.

Hosokawa GEN4:

Tel: +44 (0) 1928 333139                                 


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