Mobile apps in Industry 4.0

Mobile apps have already been an indispensable part of our daily life. But what about for industry? At Veslabs we believe that the power of mobile apps can leverage productivity and high quality in industrial zones such as factories. When we think about variety of fields at factories we see that there is a huge potential for improvements that can be achieved easily using mobile phones.

Mobile communication is becoming more and more important within the context of Industry 4.0. Ease of carrying a cell phone in your pocket may be a good advantage when compared to some traditional methods used in industry. While network connection makes it easy to communicate with anybody or any internal/external system, internal sensors of cell phones give us ability of measuring anything in the work field. Industry 4.0 is characterized by decentralized intelligence. All parties can communicate with one another workpiece with machine, machine with machine or with higher-level processes. However, it is still essential to maintain a proper, fast communication for workforce on field. Industrial apps will play an essential role to ensure this type of communication. The reasons are clear: apps are easy to use, cost-effective, and available everywhere in a user-friendly format. Any necessary updates can be easily downloaded from the relevant store.

All these advantages make us think that phone apps have a potential to revolutionize how industry works. Let’s analyze some of those traditional, old ways and think how they can be replaced by mobile apps.

Paper works

Paper works come at the first places of traditional ways. Because in industrial world almost everything must be documented and reported on a daily basis. Engineers and foremen usually use note books and a bunch of papers to take notes and reports. Afterwards those reports must be typed again on a computer and saved to database. That makes it hard to prepare reports and usually results with low quality work. Besides that managers have to wait until end of the day to view the reports. But what if we deny all the papers and use phone apps to save any required data in a factory. Imagine engineers using cell phones to record any important data. This data is saved to database instantly via Wi-Fi or cell connection and reports are generated automatically. Whenever a new data is saved, system updates currently generated reports and managers are able to see reports whenever they want and wherever they are.

Employee Tracking

A factory means a large number of people working and producing together. That brings problem of tracking employees. Every employee must be tracked to measure their daily working hours and how much effort they exerted. Traditionally RFID cards are being used for this purpose. But that method provides restricted tracking of employee activity since this method is based on employee himself to make reader read his RFID card. Employee tracking can also be managed by using mobile phones. Cell phones used with BLE iBeacon technology or pure Wi-Fi signals can help us track employees’ location during the day. That info enables us to measure how many hours an employee worked during the day and for what activities he effort. Productivity rates of employees can also be inferred from that data as well. Employees who didn’t come to work are going to be reported automatically by the system. Maybe the most versatile usage of this system is that managers are able to access location of a particular employee instantly using their tablets. Such a technology is currently in use for indoor navigation systems and can also be adapted to industrial zones with a few small arrangements.

Activity Based Cost Measurement

As a requirement for measuring productivity, every work in factory must be calculated in order to determine how much effort required for that work. That calculation is required to determine how many employees to assign that work. Employees may have a mobile app to indicate they are working on a particular work. The app records when they started and when they quitted. Phone app is also capable of verifying effort using its internal sensors which detects any movement of mobile device in any direction. That effort time is saved to database instantly via network connection and an activity based cost measurement report is generated just in time. Measuring start and finish of effort may be easy for one employee but when it comes to a factory with 1000 employees or more, it becomes a pain unless technology is used.

Asset Management

Another potential app is especially useful for making equipment inspections in manufacturing or factory work, and lets the user collect data about equipment status and repair needs. This method surely brings a big decrease for duration that is required for getting things done. This handy app helps manufacturing employees request work orders for parts that need repair or replacement. The employee can enter their information, name of the part, details of the issues and priority of the issue. The technician can then include status and a signature once the repair or replacement has been made.

Employees can make repair request for any equipment. And last known location of valuable equipment’s can also be viewed by the mobile app. This may also reduce the time for searching devices in a huge working environment.

Work Order Management

Another problem of working with large number employees is how to assign them new works. Viral assignment are not reliable and written assignments bring a huge paper work and consumes time during the work hours. This problem can be solved via a special app for assigning new assignments to any particular employee during the day. Workers can check their daily assignment using their cell phones. The app can direct them about what to do and where to do with some special notes and directions from managers.

Let’s assume you want to re-assign a new job to one of your workers. All you have to do is to enter the new assignment to computer system. Then the worker will be notified with a new notification message by the phone app which is in his pocket. That makes it very easy to dispatch work force in the factory.

Conclusion

Veslabs is driving the next industrial revolution as lead supplier of Industry 4.0 solutions. In conclusion, at Veslabs, we believe that mobile apps have a big potential for industry. They can change how we work as they have changed how we live. Veslabs is currently working on different industrial mobile apps with global partners which are industry leaders. With years of experience in such areas as embedded software development, hardware design and integration, application and backend development, as well as user interface design, we are fully capable of delivering Industry 4.0 systems based on a mix of technologies and serving various purposes In near future, we will see more tangible benefits of this new age at factories and future is brighter with this life changing mobile technologies.