Why your material analyzer won’t keep you awake at night - but the data will

We’re seeing a rise in the use of material analyzers as part of factory automation, whether raw material testing, in-line testing or IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things). This has been accelerated as the issue of aging global population and reduced workforce, especially as manual labor (blue collar workers), becomes a challenge for many businesses with vacancies being hard to fill.

What many don’t necessarily realize is that material analyzers are being developed to provide a solution to new customer demands to deliver more efficient, automated, and cleaner production and development processes.

Often the data has been stored on the instruments themselves without providing wider visibility of the analysis data which can highlight issues with raw materials, product quality or processes.  Today, many material analyzers come with connectivity enabled already. It’s just that many aren’t taking advantage of the features available already to increase yield let alone realize what the future could look like.

Why your material analyzer won’t keep you awake at night - but the data will

 

Automation isn’t new

Automation has worked for years in industrial manufacturing but ensuring products meet specification, quality and throughput has until now required employee intervention. But as markets change, so does technology. 5G, multi-site operations and remote/hybrid working are becoming the norm, and proactive remote interventions are becoming more accepted. Material analyzers also need to adapt to changing circumstances.

The idea of a fully integrated, connected, and flexible analysis equipment, that feeds smart factories with a constant stream of data is coming and is much closer than you may think. This data provides valuable information to your most precious resource, your workforce, enabling them to make the right decisions at the right time.

Why data matters

One of my favourite questions to ask customers when I visit them is what do you do with the data your analyzer collects? We’re living in an age where we need to utilise massive amounts of data from around the world to create new value as many businesses renovate themselves with digital technologies.

The analyzer, whether XRF, LIBS, OES or TA, is just a means to getting a job done. But what the analyzer does is it provides a constant stream of data. Valuable data. And we know data is power. You might not be aware, but we’ve had data enabled products since 2014.

You can get data from the shop floor or in-field without stopping production. You can build your analysis inline or into automation. And with the data that your material analyzers provide, you can reduce wastage and costs and improve production yield, throughput and crucially, your bottom line.

In the near future all our instruments will be connected to ExTOPE Connect, our advanced data management solution in the cloud, with our handheld XRF and LIBS, OES and LAB-X5000 benchtop XRF analyzer currently having this capability. But that’s not everything.

What is Lumada?

You may hear us talk more and more about Lumada. Coined from the words “illuminate” and “data”, the name Lumada embodies our goal of helping businesses shine a light on their data and illuminating the information it provides in such a way that we can extract new insights, thereby resolving our customers’ business issues and contributing to their growth.

We’re here to help our customers in their digital transformation for a better, cleaner society.  By capturing changes in the world through data, we’re able to create new value by combining the ability to act flexibly with proven on-site knowledge to optimize manufacturing processes and storage inventory for example. 

Shaping the future together

We’re already seeing an increased number of customers with requirements around data management and analysis. This previously was exclusive to large multinational companies, but we’re now seeing medium to small companies incorporating this into their process too.  Our position is to make this capability accessible to all customers.

Ultimately, through the data our analyzers are able to provide to you, we want to help to decrease failure rates, how much money is being wasted in manufacturing process, how much additional stock is sitting on shelves, and wasted energy, material and labor due to product re-work.

By providing world class material analysis solutions that are digitally enabled and embedded into your business, we want to enable our customers to make fast, accurate decisions during their production process whether they be from raw material sourcing to end of life disposal and recycling. And the key to this all, is the data from your material analyzer. 

If you’d like to talk about your data management and analysis needs, contact one of our experts today for a chat.

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Date: 20 January 2022

Author: Dawn Brooks, Managing Director

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