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Turning Industry 4.0 into Productivity and Profits

Helping Northeast Ohio manufacturers go from lagging to leading in Industry 4.0 is a critical focus for MAGNET. We simply can’t lead in smart manufacturing without using advanced technologies. It’s table stakes for the industry of the future.

But particularly for the small manufacturers that make up most of our industry, knowing where to start and where to invest is really difficult. There’s so much hype that sometimes it doesn’t seem real. That’s where MAGNET comes in.

We start by helping companies understand what Industry 4.0 can do for them. Our consultants and engineers show companies the art of the possible. We bring people into the massive technology showcase in our new manufacturing center so they can see, touch, and experiment with cutting edge technologies like robotics, automation, big data, and sensors.

We make sense of complicated technology by linking it to things every manufacturer understands and wants to improve – quality, productivity, continuous improvement, downtime, profitability. And then we design ways to implement Industry 4.0 that work and don’t waste time and money.

That’s exactly what we did with school lunch-maker Innovative Food Services (IFS). Founded in 2022, the company grew from a modest restaurant catering business serving 200 or 300 meals a day to a school-lunch focused business that pumps out 9,000 meals daily. To keep up, IFS had to rapidly scale their operations.

Along the way, one job on the assembly line was constantly creating problems. It was a thankless position at the end of the line where an employee would take the meal trays and stack them inside large plastic totes, with a lot of twisting and turning and bending along the way. The role was a back killer, and even rotating various employees during each shift was causing inordinate amounts of strain. So, one day, IFS reached out to MAGNET for help.

We worked with a robotics provider to build and deploy a custom cobot that took the place of that difficult, end-of-line job. The cobot was able to line up and move six meals at a time into the totes, increasing the speed, efficiency, and safety of the production line.

IFS ended up purchasing two cobots, one for each of their assembly lines. Within 60 days of building, plus a couple more to train staff for regular maintenance, the new technology was up and running and the cobots paid for themselves within about 18 months.

We work with hundreds of local manufacturers to do Industry 4.0 projects like this one. On top of our consulting work, we also try to inform and inspire many more companies by sharing success stories and practical advice from manufacturers at the forefront of digitization. We call them technology lighthouses because they’re lighting the path to Industry 4.0 for other companies.

There are so many amazing things happening behind factory walls that we can all learn from. So, we decided to go behind the scenes with a film crew to capture how advanced technologies are changing the way we make things in Northeast Ohio.

The result is a new documentary called “The Secrets of Smart Manufacturing.” The stories are incredible. GOJO, MAKERS OF PURELL™ tripled production overnight. M-7 Technologies went from the brink of bankruptcy to being a world leader. Water safety pioneer Kinetico tripled in size. And all because Industry 4.0 transformed their products and factories. Watch the video and if you find yourself inspired, let us know how we can help with your smart manufacturing journey.

Connect with us today.