Industrie 4.0 reducing downtime in automotive industry

Companies in the automotive inudstry are using Industrie 4.0 to develop data platforms that are designed to reduce downtime in an industry where every minute counts.


Industrie 4.0, or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in the U.S., refers to industrial manufacturing processes where all equipment, devices and computers are connected. This creates an environment rich for big data analysis and self-correcting procedures, among many other possibilities.

This may seem like a far off future for manufacturers, but the truth is there are concrete examples of Industrie 4.0 happening today. The capabilities of IIoT may be closer than people realize.

Industrie 4.0: The zero down time solution (ZDT)

General Motors (GM), like most of the automotive industry, is an innovator in automating production. Alongside Fanuc and Cisco, they developed the zero down time solution (ZDT)—a cloud-based software platform to analyze data collected from robots across GM's factories.

The program was launched in 2014 and was initially built to eliminate downtime, but as more and more data was collected, the system's capabilities grew. As a result, the system is providing some remarkable returns.

The compounding benefits of ZDT

GM's ZDT program has provided a strong return on investment (ROI) and have avoided over 100 significant unscheduled downtimes since the program was launched. This is a significant savings in the automotive industry, where downtime can cost over $20,000 per minute.

Part of what has yielded this great ROI is their facilities' ability to perform predictive maintenance. Data captured from robots indicates what is going to fail before it fails—allowing for downtime to be avoided, but also for maintenance to be performed only when it is absolutely necessary to production.

Another feature of ZDT that GM and partners are working towards is real-time process improvement. While this is not yet possible, once enough data is collected from robot performance, the goal is to create a system that diagnoses itself based on minute changes in processes, which can then be adjusted to boost overall efficiency.

Industrie 4.0 provides as yet unforeseen benefits for manufacturers. Despite that fact, companies are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in automation and implementing the future of Industrie 4.0 today.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Industries' Association (RIA) Robotics Online Blog. RIA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to improving the regional, national and global competitiveness of the North American manufacturing and service sectors through robotics and related automation. The RIA is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Carly Marchal, content specialist, CFE Media,

ONLINE extra

See additional stories from the RIA linked below.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me