The Intelligent Edge: Bringing Transparency to the Factory with Lee Jaderborg (Part 2)

We’re back with our sixth installment of The Intelligent Edge, continuing our conversation with manufacturing engineering manager and quality manager, Lee Jaderborg. Didn’t get a chance to read Part 1? Catch up here!

In our previous post, we connected with Lee to discuss his work on the ZumIQ application environment and the purpose of intelligent monitoring. In Part 2, he continues the ZumIQ conversation on its applications, and noting what’s next for FreeWave and the IIoT industry.

FreeWave: You previously told us about how ZumIQ can help capture data and translate it visually. Why is this important?

Lee Jaderborg: This gives a view of the manufacturing floor you can’t get by looking down the production line. It determines the collective state and efficiency of each part in the system.

We’ve been trying this out on a few of our SMT, or pick-and-place, machines. We looked at the historical data on the machines’ part usage to see what parts and reels could be adjusted or replaced for increased efficiency and production capacity. We had perceptions, but didn’t have any data points for how much change this would result in. And it’s difficult to act on a perception because you don’t know how accurate you are.

We realized by taking an in-depth look at the data output throughout the day, the machines weren’t running to their full potential. By changing the way SMTs operated, we saw a 10% increase in initial capacity, but without the data we wouldn’t have reached the benefits.

FreeWave: What’s the “perfect storm” situation in which ZumIQ’s capabilities could be utilized fully?

Lee: It could apply to any place where things go wrong and have a severe impact on people. Nuclear power plants, wastewater treatment plants and the water supply coming out of that, oil and gas refineries.

Especially for oil and gas, you need sensors to detect leaks. You see disasters caused by natural gas and find out there was no sensor to detect a methane leak. Companies need to introduce networks of sensors that can relay data to an app environment like ZumIQ to monitor and track things like leak pressures, so in case something goes wrong, it can send out alerts and auto shutdown systems before anything bad happens.

FreeWave: What excites you about the future of FreeWave

Lee: There’s a lot of opportunity and paths we can take with our new products we’re developing. We have a lot of work ahead of us, especially as we look to upgrade our networks and existing technology to adapt to the future of IIoT.

It’s exciting because we’ll be working on our newest innovations alongside our legacy products and seeing where gaps may exist. That’s the biggest puzzle to solve – we’re dealing with technology with new capabilities and parts, like radio-frequency identification on chips, compared to older technology which in some instances required tuning to get the correct signal.

FreeWave: What about the Industrial Internet of Things as a whole?

Lee: I think the promise of sensors and the data they transmit is exciting. If you think about it, there’s a piece of equipment in every place in the world – highways, oil and gas, utilities, etc. – that’s measuring something. A lot of major companies are starting to head in the direction of wanting to get data sooner than later to be analyzed and acted upon. Increasingly bringing intelligence to the edge of the network lets you decide and modify in real time; it lets you make important decisions.

FreeWave: Any final words of wisdom?

Lee: Our operations director likes to say, “Just because something’s the way it is doesn’t mean that’s the way it should be”.  I think that can be highly applied not only in business and technology, but also in one’s personal life. You have to continue learning and innovating or else you’ll fall behind.

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Interested in what our other experts have to say? Read the first, second, third and fourth installments of The Intelligent Edge. We’ll be back later this month with more insights and interviews with our team!

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