Drones for Factory Surveillance – The Beginning of Smart Factories

Drones for factory surveillance is the first step to transforming a factory from a traditional one to a smart one. This blog is about forgetting the that image of a huge, loud, dirty and unimpressive place filled with labourers working aimlessly, when you hear the word ‘factory’. A time when all the risky jobs had to be done by men and men only. Today, those jobs can be done by machines without harming lives and profits.

We are entering the times of “Factories of the future” – a place that will automatically solve the major challenges faced by the manufacturing industry like factory safety, factory surveillance, plant security etc. These factories will be all about connectivity. They will extensively use IoT (the Internet of Things) and machine-to-machine communication.

There are over 237,684 factories in India today, up from 234,865 reported in March 2017. Out of which, the smart factory implementation in India is just 28%. That is a tiny penetration of technology considering the colossal size of the manufacturing industry and its share in the GDP (India being the world’s sixth-largest manufacturer). Therefore, the concept of a smart factory must be adopted sooner rather than later. It is truly going to change the way India designs, manufactures and smartens up its products.

What is a smart factory or factory of the future?

We’re at the fourth phase in the digitalization of the manufacturing sector, it’s famously called Industry 4.0. India cannot shy away from this phase if it wants to increase the share of the manufacturing sector from the current 17% of the GDP to 25% in the near future.

Industry 4.0 is driven mainly by 4 disruptions – one, the astonishing rise in data volumes, computational power, and connectivity; two, the emergence of analytics and business-intelligence capabilities; three, new forms of human-machine interaction such as touch interfaces and augmented-reality systems; and four, improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as advanced robotics and 3-D printing. It’s Industry 4.0 that has created the need for a ‘smart factory’.

A combination of Cyber physical systems, Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing platforms, Artificial Intelligence and 3D printing technologies make a ‘smart factory’. Once these systems are set up in a factory, the losses and costs incurred due to insufficient and untimely information reported on the logistics of assets, will go down immediately.

Therefore, on this blog, we will cover the technology that’ll make factory surveillance incredibly easy for a manufacturer, because real-time information is key to executing other jobs effectively and efficiently in a factory.

Traditional factory surveillance

Current surveillance method includes manpower and CCTV cameras. Men walk around in risky scenarios to complete the surveillance procedures. And since the surveillance is done by a human eye, the area covered in the surveillance is limited. In the name of technology, CCTV cameras are also installed on the factory sites, which then leads to massive electricity bills and low effectiveness. For example, CCTV cameras are easy to spot and can be easily avoided overtime leading to higher risks of crime on-site. Hence, smart manufacturers are turning to drones for the unparalleled advantages it comes with to keep a keen eye on any factory.

Drones for factory surveillance

To keep the exports from India to national and international markets smooth and profitable, Indian factories need a feasible system in place to monitor real-time activities at any time of the day or night while sitting in any corner of the world to keep their competitive advantage intact. A very few advantages of using drones instead of traditional methods for factory surveillance are its dynamic placement, the bird’s eye view it gives of the factory, situational awareness at all times, no risk of blindspots so no crime goes unnoticed. And especially because of how the presence of drones may be felt above the heads of the labor sometimes, it keeps them in check.

ideaForge has made it possible to use the drone technology with a wide field of view from one location. Factory surveillance videos of a single station can be taken in day or night and can be accessed easily.

Now, it should come as no surprise that factory surveillance through drone technology is way more feasible in terms of costs, ease of use and its value to a factory in terms of keeping a check on its daily operations, as compared to the traditional way of keeping an eye on a huge complex factory.

Based on ideaforge’s case study, using their product NINJA UAV for factory surveillance, a manufacturing unit already saves up to 90% of the cost in the first year itself.

So, what’s the best time to get into smart manufacturing in this country? Today.

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