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Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Tomorrow


Shop Floor Optics: How to Increase Uptime and Profitability

Jul 16, 2018
By: Mark Stevens

Innovations in technology have improved operational efficiencies and production in manufacturing, from enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to LEAN methodologies to equipment upgrades and everything in between.

Many Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in recent history have focused either on improving human-driven processes, collaboration, and management practices, or they’ve emphasized mechanical efficiencies through predictive analytics and equipment optimization.

Eventually, some manufacturers that leveraged these strategies hit a wall, believing they achieved maximum efficiency and productivity. This scenario usually leads to the conclusion that more skilled workers need to be hired—a major challenge in today’s economy—or that capital purchases need to be made for additional equipment or facility expansion in an effort to keep up with the demands to do more, make more, and sell more.

The Shop Floor Optics Solution

Forward-thinking manufacturers are finding ways to merge the gap between human and mechanical processes to drive efficiencies and productivity even further by maximizing their current equipment to its fullest extent. Instead of investing millions in new machines, they’re leveraging hidden capacity they didn’t even know they had.

Even smaller job shops are able to achieve enterprise-level success and profitability through the use of affordable Shop Floor Optics. The technology can extract equipment data in ways that traditional IoT manufacturing technology hasn’t in the past, resulting in 10–30 percent increased productivity from existing equipment. Whereas the traditional approach to metrics could take months to implement and train workers—in addition to taking years to see any ROI—Shop Floor Optics technology can be quickly installed and provide visible data within hours.

Shop Floor Optics provides a full-scope view of your operations, such as startup times, availability, capacity, parts quality, and equipment conditions. Raw materials, equipment, and people come together in real time, enabling continuous improvement and minimizing poor outcomes.

How to Implement Shop Floor Optics

The implementation of Shop Floor Optics is surprisingly simple and can be broken down into an easy, three-step process. Working with a skilled service provider:

  • A minimally priced Smart Box is installed on the machine
  • Data is extracted and analyzed to discover bottlenecks and hidden capacity
  • Corrective actions are determined

Put simply, you can’t fix what you don’t know, and Shop Floor Optics creates eye-opening visibility into areas of your operation that were once unaccounted for.

Gaining an edge in today’s highly competitive market is critical to your success, and the faster you can get there, the greater advantage you’ll have. For a greater understanding of Shop Floor Optics, its functionality, and how it integrates with other IoT data, view the infographic below.

Shop Floor Optics Infographic preview

Notwithstanding its affordability and straight-forward application, Shop Floor Optics isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution—each implementation is configured to your unique operation and structure.

At Wipfli, it’s our passion to help small and mid-sized manufacturers thrive through economical solutions. If you’d like to discuss the benefits that Shop Floor Optics can bring to your operations, reach out to one of our experts today for a complimentary assessment.


Mark Stevens
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