Interview Fernando Molinuevo

Fernando Molinuevo, managing partner of MESbook tells us how to start an Industry 4.0 project and the most important KPIs to take into account in an industrial digitalization project.

1. What was the first Industry 4.0 project you faced?

The first project I faced was at Sesderma Laboratories 10 years ago. In fact, the term Industry 4.0 was not even known yet.
  • What was the objective?

An objective, which is still very much in force in I 4.0 projects. "Manage the factory in real time with an objective to ensure all quality protocols and to be able to have the cost deviation in real time". At that time it was like going from night to day, only the most innovative companies were aware of the value of having the information of the entire plant at a click.

  •  What challenges did you face?

Two fundamentally. On the technological side and on the cultural side. On the technological side, to connect to machines with 20th century technology. At the cultural level, to make people understand that real time management is the necessary tool to improve and not a control system designed to control.

Challenges that to a greater or lesser extent are still present in most i 4.0 projects.

Imagine a blank canvas, a factory to be digitized. Where would you start?

In almost all sectors I would start with paperlessness, real-time factory control through OEE and real-time cost management. The icing on the cake I would define according to the management keys of each sector. I would aim, for example, to have cycle time and scrap per reason in real time in the plastics sector. In the food industry, I would focus on raw material yield and labor management. For other more technified sectors such as automotive, aviation or pharma I would implement an advanced digital quality system ensuring the whole part of data integrity and systems such as the management of measuring instruments, AMFES, .....

3. From your experience, what do you consider to be the most important keys in an industrial digitalization project? How are they measured?

On the client side, the real interest in implementing the system and the necessary resources to do so. When I talk about real interest, I am talking about the ownership sponsoring the project and periodically getting involved in it to ensure that it evolves correctly and if not acting as a facilitator. On the supplier side, ensure that it is a team that knows and comes from the factories.

 In the end, technology is a means to an end and if the person who has to implement it does not know the factory, you will end up with invalid "solutions".

Measuring the evolution of the project is easy but not very glamorous. In the project phase, milestones, dates and people in charge. In the post-implementation phase, you have to end up in € by reducing administrative tasks, improving direct labor and/or material performance, reducing customer complaints .....

4. What do you consider more important in a project of this type: technology or people?

People will be the ones to choose the technology, to apply it correctly and to transmit its benefits to the whole organization.

5. Where do you think Industry 4.0 is evolving to?

I like to say that the evolution of Industry 4.0 will follow an evolution similar to that of the automobile. In the automobile first systems were connected and information is extracted (evolution of car dashboards), they are used as expert systems where one action triggers another action (ABS, Airbag, Rain Sensor ...) to intelligent systems (autonomous car).

Taken to factories, we have to connect the M's (Machines, Labor, Methods and Materials) and make a visual factory where everyone can see in their area if we are doing well, bad or regular. Introduce direct intelligence where some actions trigger others to end up in a Machine Learning system for failure prediction, management of the perfect recipe, etc...

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