PaaS, IIoT, and AI are very identifiable top technology trends in manufacturing that will continue to advance in the OEM industry in 2023. At Handling Specialty, these design/build trends aren’t just talk; they’re a reality.
Product as a Service from Your OEM
PaaS, or Product as a Service, introduces certain challenges for manufacturers while opening the door to new opportunities. Leasing an original equipment manufacturer’s equipment rather than purchasing it as a capital expense saves the customer money upfront while allowing the manufacturer the opportunity to include a list of service subscriptions and monthly data sharing to keep the customer engaged as the technology advances.
Not every OEM is going to want to lease their equipment – and custom equipment least of all. That’s why Handling Specialty treats our custom material handling equipment like a PaaS without leasing by including service agreements and gathering IIoT data to act on potential issues efficiently, reducing downtime within the assembly or MRO plant. Custom equipment is designed and built for very specific functions for our customers and demands a capital expense, but the services and intelligence built into the equipment benefit both the customer and the manufacturer just like a Product as a Service might.
So, when looking specifically for PaaS from your OEM, understand that a custom piece of material handling equipment isn’t something to be leased; rather, it’s something to be engineered for your facility with your specific applications in mind. That being said, there is no reason not to expect the additional benefits that a PaaS scenario offers. You simply have to ask your OEM how they can accommodate your requests.
Reviewing an OEM’s Parts & Services plan will give you an excellent idea of how far a company will go to support your PaaS needs.
The Industrial Internet of Things
IIoT, or The Industrial Internet of Things, is a rapidly advancing technology offering multiple benefits to an OEM’s customer. This predictive maintenance tool has achieved a variety of goals, including cost reduction, enhanced efficiency, improved safety, product innovation, and more, by enabling manufacturers to make informed, strategic decisions using real-time data.
Sensors placed at strategic points on a piece of material handling equipment offer information on that part or component that is captured in real-time, alerting operations and, ideally, the OEM of issues corresponding to the part. Once the data is received and reviewed, a proactive plan can be put in place rather than waiting for the part or component to fail and merely reacting to the issue after the fact. Anyone who has had to repair a machine after it has already failed knows the damage can be much worse than the cause, whereas if the issue is predicted before failing, the part can be replaced before further damage is done, saving time and money.
Traceability on the line is another positive function of IIoT technology. Knowing where in your assembly or MRO line the affected AGV or other material handling equipment is located further improves efficiency and reduces downtime when pulling the unit off the line.
An entire production assembly line can include IIoT to keep track of the health of all of your equipment performing individual duties. Knowing that a single unit could affect your whole assembly line before it becomes catastrophic saves the customer money by using the data to call in a service. The OEM performing the service will also receive an alert and contact the customer to set up the service.
IIoT is an essential tool in 2023 when looking for solutions that will reduce downtime in your facility.
A.I. Predictive Maintenance and OEMs
Predictive maintenance and resolution could be considered an upgrade to today’s IIoT. The IIoT needs to be in place for this AI to take the concept further, offering technicians insights on how to resolve the issues with greater certitude on their first attempt. This will encourage more time and money savings for the customer, cutting facility downtime even more.
Providing manufacturers with valuable data points, they can use to build machine learning models and engage in predictive resolution is a benefit to the OEM just as much as to their customers. The more the manufacturer learns from real-time issues, the better they are to resolve those issues before they become a problem in future designs.
Reshoring OEM Resources
Bringing back domestic production of products has been a very successful model in North America, returning many hundreds of thousands of jobs to the continent. This has also created a closer relationship between the manufacturer and the customer, both literally and figuratively.
Handling Specialty has never produced any of our equipment off-shore since our inception in 1963. Everything from engineering to manufacturing and product support is handled within our offices.
If you’re MRO, assembly, or manufacturing facility is in need of automation in material handling using state-of-the-art technologies, please contact our skilled and knowledgeable technical sales team.