Industry 4.0 solutions for SME manufacturers deployed

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SAS Institute and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) have collaborated to help Singapore’s small and medium-sized manufacturers manoeuvre headwinds via advanced analytics. 

Leveraging SAS Institute’s data analytics and visualisation capabilities, the team at NYP’s School of Engineering developed an enterprise-to-shopfloor platform that helps precision-engineering manufacturers boost productivity and growth. The platform features:  

  • A predictive analytics system to help enterprises conduct near-accurate supply and demand forecasting. Using past data and analytics, the system helps forecast raw materials required during specific time periods, allowing a smooth product delivery process through just-in-time purchase and delivery and optimised warehousing.  
  • A real-time machine-vision solution that inspects production parts for defects as part of quality control management. Through digital automation, product quality assurance is also enhanced.  
  • An enhanced Manufacturing Execution System (MES) that is fully customisable to enable companies to optimise manufacturing operations and increase production efficiency.  

Harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology, the new platform, which is currently undergoing production trials, has shown a significant increase in operational effectiveness through predictive analytics and forecasting, and enabling a 100 per cent sampling of parts.

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The platform will also offer Industry 4.0 solutions that incorporate open-source low-cost devices to connect two networks, resulting in cost-effective and scalable solutions. With every additional volume of data acquired by the devices, the modelling and training of the AI models will concurrently improve. 

The prototype MES is being tested at Sanwa Plastic Industry to manage and schedule jobs for machining components and plastic injection moulds. Previously, a mould usually requires 100 or more machined metal components, with each component undergoing a stringent quality control check before use.

Through the MES prototype, Sanwa Plastic Industry is reporting a 15 per cent increase in machine utilisation, which was brought about by more efficient scheduling of jobs on the shopfloor. 

Dr Vinn Prabhu, Deputy Director, School of Engineering, Nanyang Polytechnic said: “As SMEs strive towards achieving Singapore’s Smart Nation goals, we are excited to partner SAS to help local manufacturers seize businesses opportunities in their digitalisation journey and uncover ways to optimise their operational efficiency.

“Through this collaboration with SAS, we aim to co-create meaningful solutions to propel the next generation of manufacturing technologies, while concurrently mentoring our learners to be better prepared for the future workplace.” 

“Through this project, we have seen how analytics has successfully helped to improve the machine utilization rates for an SME manufacturer, significantly boosting their productivity,” said Lim Hsin Yin, Managing Director (Singapore), SAS Institute.  

“We are also proud to have developed the AI machine vision to improve quality control in manufacturing. We will continue to offer innovative AI and cloud solutions to help empower manufacturers with data-driven insights in their decision-making,” she added. 

Following the successful outcome of the project, SAS and NYP recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to continue their collaboration on other initiatives to help SMEs through their digital transformation journey.