With all the elements at this year’s Smart Factory Expo, TM thought it would be handy to devise hand-selected Visitor Trails, these designed to help you tailor your objectives to what's on offer!
It could be hard to navigate through the many different presentations, automation offerings, stalls and solution theatres, at Smart Factory Expo this year.
Thankfully, TM trialled one of the Visitor Trails on day one of Smart Factory Expo – which forms part of Digital Manufacturing Week held in the Exhibition Centre Liverpool – which focused on process manufacturing.
Process manufacturing is producing goods by combining supplies, ingredients or raw substances using a formula or recipe. Examples of this include food, beverages, refined oil, gasoline, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics.
Process Manufacturing Visitor Trail
On the trail, TM spoke to OAL, a company who are providing robotics to food manufacturers, in order for them to further advance their operations.
Lauren Moir, marketing manager at OAL, told TM: “Over the last few years, our robotics division, APRIL Robotics has engineered a variety of robots for food manufacturers.”
She added: “These are completely automated, can eliminate contamination in powders, from say a bakery, and enable higher productivity capabilities. They are of course, an investment in the long-term, but with many supermarkets selling own label brands now and outsourcing their manufacturing, having an operation that is entirely traceable, transparent and that you can completely trust, is essential.”
TM also spoke to Blinx Solutions during the trail, about what they can offer to process manufacturing businesses. Michael Ramella, head of business development at Blinx, told TM: “We provide a digital supply chain analytics platform.
“What we have done is merge gaming technology with tangible outcomes for businesses. We understand that user-experience is key to adoption, particularly in process manufacturing. So, we put everything on one platform, an app, to enable the people on the shop floor and management to see exactly what is happening in real-time.”
He added: “A lot of businesses lack visibility, and unified data systems. What Blinx does is, unify solutions together in order to improve throughput and stock levels and monitor these in real-time.”
Why process manufacturing could benefit from ‘smart’ systems
Process manufacturing is where multiple supplies are combined, for example in the manufacture of food and drink products. This manufacturing needs precision of operations as it’s the production of a highly regulated product.
Having systems, whether that’s a single platform or the introduction of automation, in place to monitor stock in real-time and enhance production could be extremely beneficial to businesses in the sector, as it could allow them to have full transparency of operations.
Not only this but having user-friendly systems in place could further enable entire transparency of processes, from the shop floor all the way to senior executives in a business. Introducing effective robotics could also enable a precise process, with full accountability.
Smart Factory Expo is Europe’s largest digital manufacturing show – presenting the most extensive free programme of presentations across seven stages, 150+ exhibitors, and thousands of digitally-savvy manufacturers.
It is the largest component of Digital Manufacturing Week, an annual celebration of UK manufacturing excellence that takes place every November in Liverpool. This year saw 5,322 visitors to Digital Manufacturing Week (up 36% on 2017).