General Manager, Dave Body: Our Biggest Year Ever & The Future of Facteon
2018 has been a big year for our business, exceeding our expectations with record project numbers.
The manufacturing sector is fast catching on to the idea that the Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT) and Industry 4.0 are the way forward. These technologies harness the power of data to enable businesses to be better, faster and more efficient.
At Facteon, we are building factories that are intelligent manufacturing ecosystems in which the machinery and software operations interact seamlessly. Many in the industry will know us by our previous name Production Machinery Limited (PML), when we were part of Fisher & Paykel Appliances. We have now changed to Facteon and moved to Haier’s Intelligent Equipment Platform (IEP) Group, a division within Haier that specialises in leading edge manufacturing technologies. Our highly qualified team of over 150 skilled technicians, engineers and software developers are located in New Zealand and China, but our focus is on deploying world-leading automation systems globally.
As a leader in intelligent manufacturing, we know that building intelligent production lines requires a deep understanding of the manufacturing process. It’s why, when you are looking to upgrade your operation, you can’t go past an experienced operator. At Facteon we have learnt our trade over many decades. We currently work with companies in markets that include North, Central and South America, China and South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
The potential for Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 technologies such as COSMOline, Facteon’s AI-enabled solution, to transform the modern production line are profound, especially when it comes to optimising your factory operations. Our philosophy is that your entire factory and workforce should be connected at scale in order to leverage the power of data and information across your business. This leads to improved performance, profit and visibility of your manufacturing operations. COSMOline is a modern, flexible and scalable technology which can easily integrate with your current systems. It has been designed to make the movement of data and information across your operations seamless.
However, this is nothing new. Machines have always generated data, but historically this has not been in a way that was consistent, coherent and easy to comprehend. Now every part of the production line can be fitted with sensors that send information to a central dashboard. This shows factory supervisors the true performance of their factory operations. Over days, months and years, data from numerous touch-points can prevent multiple breakdowns and provide new ways to increase efficiency. In the past, companies have relied on the skill and knowledge of an experienced staff member to keep the factory equipment maintained and reduce downtime. Facteon’s ability to apply machine-learning solutions to the manufacturing operations it builds removes ‘key person risk’.
While new technology solves the problem of how to collect and interpret data, it still can’t replace the knowledge that is gained over decades of working with world-leading manufacturers in a variety of industries. That’s because the ability to understand how a production line works, and the on-the-tools expertise of experienced practitioners in skills such as laser welding, automated assembly and metal forming, can never be replaced by even the most sophisticated algorithm.
Facteon’s experienced team is known for creating flexible solutions, which enable companies to provide mass production as well as mass customisation solutions. The bespoke needn’t triumph over the ‘off the shelf’ when both can’t exist side by side. Our history is steeped in enabling small product batches, which means that multiple variations can be manufactured on the same line. Facteon can build a manufacturing operation that can produce a million units in the same colour and configuration as well as custom-designed items that have a unique set of requirements. It is all in a day’s work - or more precisely a 24-hour production line - for Facteon’s team of experts.
Our team has a range of skill sets that includes mechanical engineering and design capability, mechatronics, and software engineering, so we can provide our clients with a complete, vertically integrated solution. We take care of every stage in the process – from concept design, build and installation through to servicing and support. It’s all delivered as one solution and when in place, every piece of it is owned by the customer, including all the data that is generated the second the operation is switched on.
Facteon is committed to its customers over the long haul so we want to ensure they get the best of everything. We don’t try to do what isn’t in our core set of skills. We work with our partners to provide a holistic solution for our clients while at the same time guaranteeing the work is of the highest quality. Building a production line is a major capital expense and it’s also the most critical aspect of the business. This enables the creation of the product itself. It’s essential to find not only an industry expert, but a team you can develop a long term working relationship with. Facteon understands both complex engineering solutions and your business. We understand the need to get it right when implementing the most appropriate technical solution, as your reputation depends on it.
Every company, in every country, in every region of the world might have its own way of doing things, but what all of them have in common is that they must embrace the new manufacturing age brought about by Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0. At Facteon, we understand what is required for today, and tomorrow. We are well placed to build factories for the future, all around the globe.