The digital continuity of data, a cornerstone of the 4.0 Factory

To keep up with the explosion of digital content and the rise in customer demands, it is imperative today to constantly improve performance.

algotech banner Enguerran CHARLOPAIN, Product Manager at Algo’Tech, shares today his expertise on a highly strategic and topical subject: data digital continuity.

A key player in the digital transformation of the electricity and maintenance businesses, Algo’Tech offers software, expertise, and high-level services in the fields of:

  • design, operation, and management of electrical diagrams
  • management of data, documents, and technical processes of the maintenance professions

Please tell us about current challenges in the digital continuity of data

Today, companies and public administrations are confronted with the explosion in both the volumes of unstructured or semi-structured data and digital content, and their diversity, as they come from office documents (texts, tables), business applications (portals, intranets, extranets, sites, Excel macros, Access, and other ERPs), technical documentation, etc.

In our modern economy, we must thus be able to handle digital information of all kinds. In addition, the various rules and norms that govern Building and Factory 4.0 require that we account for information related to the company’s intellectual capital. As such, it becomes necessary to structure company data, which forms the basis of value creation.

How would you define digital continuity?

Digital continuity for Factory 4.0, is nothing less than its ability to preserve digital information in such a way that the information will continue to be available, as needed, despite changes in digital technology. It focuses on making sure that information always remains complete, available, and consequently usable.

To ensure data durability and accessibility, the approach taken must be “end-to-end“: the life cycle of a machine, for example, does not end when it is delivered to the customer, nor does it stop when changing location or owners, or at the whim of a negligent manager.

What is the relationship between lean and digital continuity?

data circuit

Because companies face increasingly tough competition and more and more complex customer requirements, they need to continuously improve their performance.

As we have seen in this blog, setting up a Continuous Improvement process, which values the team, and therefore the human being, is the first step in this endeavor and relies heavily on field data. Getting employees to recognize the value of the data that surrounds them every day constitutes one of the main objectives of Lean Management.

Information reported by frontline operators makes it possible to identify obstacles and therefore define areas of readjustment so that the production can be improved both in terms of quality and quantity. No change can be made without solid foundations and reference data, which is why field data is key in industrial companies.

The collection of field data remains today the answer to the increasingly complex standards and regulations. Observations of all kinds regarding any difficulty encountered, possible undetected gaps in the indicators, or information related to their correction are all valuable data that should be analyzed to improve the company’s reactivity and justify changes in existing processes, such as introducing a new way of communicating with employees (using videos, social networks, remote assistance from experts), a new training, etc.

Consequently, priority should be placed on documentation and information collection, which must also cover all the changes the asset underwent, as well as the decisions that were taken to optimize its life cycle. For example, in the case of a complex machine, there should be exhaustive visibility into the material’s composition, all the information necessary for the machine’s exploitation, and the records of all changes that led it to its current state (“who, what, how, where, why”).

Nowadays, more and more specifications for systems require our commitment to maintenance costs. Which is impractical if there is an interruption in the continuity of information after delivery, or during the life of the machine (loss of files, crash documents, etc.).


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