Big Data in Manufacturing


Big Data is a disruptive technology. It is changing major industries from the inside. In the next posts, we will learn how Big Data changes different industries.

Today’s focus: Big Data in Manufacturing.

Manufacturing is a traditional industry relevant to almost any country in the world. It started to emerge in the industrial revolution, when machines took over and production became more and more automated. Big Data has the possibility to substantially change the manufacturing industry again – with various opportunities.

Manufactures can utilize Big Data for various reasons. First, it is all about quality. When we look at production chains, may it be producing a car or just some metal works, quality is key. Who wants to buy a car that is broken? Exactly, nobody. Improving quality is a key aspect in Big Data for manufacturers. As of Big Data, this can come with several aspects. First of all, it is necessary to collect data about the production line(s) and all devices that are connected or connect-able. When errors occur or a product isn’t as desired, the production data can be analyzed and reviewed. Data scientists basically do a great job on that. Real-Time analytics allow the company to improve the material quality and product quality again. This can be done by analyzing images of products or materials and removing them from the production line in case they don’t fulfill certain standards.

A key challenge today in manufacturing is the high degree of product customization. When buying a new car, the words by Henry Ford (you can have any type of the T-model as long as it is black) are not true any more. When customers order whatever type of product, customers expect that their own personality is reflected by the product. If a company fails to deliver that, they might risk loosing customers. But what is the affiliation with Big Data now? Well, this customization is a strong shift towards Industry 4.0, which is heavily promoted by the German industry. In order to make products customize able, it is necessary to have an automated product line and to know what customers might want – by analyzing recent sales and trends from social networks and alike.

Changing the output of a production line is often difficult and ineffective. Big Data analytics allow manufacturers to better understand future demands and they can reduce production pikes. This enables the manufacturer to better plan and act in the market – and get more efficient.

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Published by

Mario Meir-Huber

I work as Big Data Architect for Microsoft. With this role, I support my customers in applying Big Data technologies - mainly Hadoop/Spark - for their use-cases. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data.

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