What is a Factory Operating System (OS)? Much like the ubiquitous computer OS, a Factory OS is the digital layer manufacturers have been missing. It connects existing systems to offer real-time visibility into all processes and production applications.
A Factory OS delivers real-time factory floor data to PLMs and ERPs, which is important for manufacturers that are already relying on those technologies. As such, PLMs are immediately impacted by accelerated product iteration loops and product design improvements. Additionally, Finance teams gain more up-to-date cost accounting and real-time part and material data delivered directly into their ERP...
Factory floors have been an afterthought, with much of the focus on business processes and financial management systems. But true innovators know that the competitive edge is in connecting to the data from where the product is made. While ERP, PLM, and MES systems fill specific functional manufacturing needs, each lacks connectivity to the factory floor, constraining and frustrating its workforce.
A Factory OS (operating system) connects every part of a factory floor to your existing systems: PLM, CAD, and ERP, to name a few. It empowers your teams to collaborate and iterate. Imagine the implications of knowing the minute production details of every change as it happens. That's what Factory OS delivers, from complete parts traceability, to run rates to factory floor defects and accurate material costing, all in real-time.
A Factory OS is the Digital Layer your Factory Floor has been missing. It captures, retrieves, and updates production data in real-time, making it visible and connected to the entire organization through modern APIs and webhooks - linking data inputs and outputs from all parts of the operation. As a result, it enables factory floor workers, from engineers and operators to assemblers and machinists, to leverage, evaluate, and collaborate using only accurate complete data and information.
The modular, low-code, highly customizable nature of a Factory OS, combined with modern API connectivity, sets a Factory OS apart from traditional manufacturing software solutions. Its APIs can quickly:
- Retrieve data for data analysis
- Update information to get up-to-date information to other functions
- Connect machines and automated processes
- Automate business processes
- Signal problems to other systems
- Respond to changes driven by your custom applications
Today's engineers working with PLM tools and CAD programs find the connectivity of a Factory OS invaluable for immediate quality data to rapidly iterate product designs. For instance, imagine the opportunity to being able to inform your design engineers with data about defects in the CAD PLM lifecycles. That changes how one designs, how quickly you iterate, and what you’re able to do when it comes to updating what’s going into the factory.
You can’t fix what you can’t see. Engineering, Finance, and Operations are tasked to identify opportunities for improvement so they can decide how to adjust processes to deliver products at scale. Yet, the data is far from readily available in most factories. Diagnosing the factory floor is typically a manual process that requires significant effort to first gather, then analyze the data.
With a Factory OS, finance and operation teams can link their ERP directly to factory inventory and scrap. That same connectivity delivers accurate and compliant financial statements and reconciliations of hard goods from the production floor. Concurrent information eliminates the time-consuming end-of-month reconciliation, saving resources for the front and back of the factory.
For example, a Factory OS can signal your ERP that 13.3% of materials we're scrapped at this cost. Automatically inserting exact scrap data in the flow to finance can empower the factory to more precisely manage their budgets. Getting existing software systems information faster and in real-time, with more accuracy, empowers the workflows of not just primary users of the Factory OS but those on the perimeter like design engineers and finance people.
ION is a flexible, modular Factory OS that connects people, machines, and processes to enable the next generation of hardware development, production, and operation. ION facilitates the interchanges that allow decisions to be made upstream in design and downstream at machines, all while tracking and tracing the people, parts, products, and processes. It is a rebuilt workflow that uses modularity and sophisticated connection points to create developer and machine accessibility. Its infinite extensibility and low-code integration empower manufacturers to create and customize their own system to suit their complex operations—in weeks, not months.
Are you tackling any of the world’s biggest climate, transportation, and energy challenges? Or disrupting your category with innovative manufacturing strategies? ION enables forward-thinking manufacturers to accelerate and redefine the future of our physical world. From growing startups to F500s in aerospace, electric airplanes, autonomous vehicles, additive manufacturing, and many more, ION is helping accelerate innovation by seamlessly connecting people, machines, and processes.