After hosting PowerPlex 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, PowerPlex 2018 returns to its roots in Detroit, Michigan, one of the nation’s biggest manufacturing hubs. CEO Don Clarke welcomed the audience in his Opening Keynote, “Makers Making an Impact,” recognizing the Plex community of manufacturing professionals who are positioned at the intersection of manufacturing and technology. This event gives the community a unique opportunity to explore ways that technology can be used to develop more innovative products, services, and processes.
PowerPlex is the world’s largest gathering of manufacturing professionals. This year, the event features 90 sessions with 40 percent presented by customers from around the world and across multiple
Customer Focus Fuels Company Growth
Clarke shared some interesting statistics that reinforce the company’s customer focus. This year, Plex has added 65 new customers, bringing the total number to almost 600 customers in 2,000 facilities across the world – the fastest year of growth in company history. Almost half of Plex customers expanded their use of Plex in 2017, adding new products or new plants to their environments. Equally as compelling, Plex customers performed over 1.5 trillion database transactions within the Plex Manufacturing Cloud while recording production. Of those transactions, 99.64 percent of them completed within 500 milliseconds. Availability is up to 99.98 percent from 99.95 percent last year keeping shop floor applications running in real-time 24x7x365.
Since the start of Q1 of this year, Supply Chain Planning has been the company’s
Plex Impact Awards
Each year at PowerPlex, Plex announces the Impact Award winners for that year. Winners are awarded in each of three categories: transformation, leadership and Innovation. Last year, Plex recognized Polamer Precision, Accuride, and Shank’s Extracts. This year Plex saw double the entries for the Impact Awards and many more nominees. We heard a bit more from G&W Products, one of this year’s finalists.
G&W products, a metal stamping
Plex Vision for Connected Manufacturing
We heard from several members of the Plex Leadership team on the topic of Plex and Connected Manufacturing. The company is “laser-focused” on Plex as the extensible manufacturing platform delivered as-a-service to connect systems, people, shop floor
State of-the-artMES and ERP solutions available for manufacturers of all sizes going live on the manufacturing cloud in months, providing accuracy, efficiency, and speed;
- Real-time communication across supply chains;
- Data as the system of record for manufacturing enterprises; and
- Analytics for better business decision-making and traceability, quality and efficiency.
Let’s look at a few areas where Plex is making progress toward this vision.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
The proliferation of IIoT in connected manufacturing provides an opportunity for both Plex and its customers. With Plex at the hub, customers can derive the following benefits:
- Industrial automation – by connecting devices and collecting data, fixes to problems can be automated. For example, if a machine on the shop floor senses vibration which is out of spec and could affect quality, the machine will automatically shut down.
- Advanced analytics – by collecting historical data, data analysis can support preventative maintenance. For example, by collecting information about machine performance over time, maintenance
canbescheduled in advance, reducing the possibility of downtime.
- Resource automation – information can be captured for augmented reality and simulation. A process can be mapped out virtually in advance before going live reducing the possibility of errors.
- Extended enterprise – with manufacturing businesses connected to the supply chain, your success can depend on the success of your customers or suppliers. Think, for example, of a self-driving car.
Insightprovided by data collected and analyzed can identify if a problem is related to the driver, the condition of the roads, or the car itself.
Plex IIoT is planned as a new product that will help enhance connectivity and standardize processes in order to provide these benefits. The solution will be designed for
Last but not least, we heard about Plex’s future plans in the mobility space. The goal is to have mobile devices increasingly take the place of stationary PCs on the shop floor. With SmartPlex and plant floor mobility using things such as blue tooth tethering and audio and vibration feedback, the target will be the shop floor user– making the user interface more task-oriented and minimizing clicks. The (future) Plex Mobile app will interact with wearables and use voice control to minimize manual actions. The focus will be on common workflows and increasing productivity on the shop floor.
Plex’s customer commitment came through loud and clear in the PowerPlex Day 1 Keynote. With the focus on customer
2017 State of Manufacturing Report
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