Principal investigator: Anilchandra Attaluri, Issam Abu-Mahfouz

University: The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

Industry partners: Universal Protective Packaging Inc.

Rapid advances in technology in sensors, networked process line, robotics, artificial intelligence, and data analysis are fueling the next industrial revolution, known by some as “Industry 4.0.” or “Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT).” Adopting modern technology for process health monitoring can help maintenance teams unlock days of production, shift to a more efficient sparing strategy, and push out scheduled preventative maintenance. Continuous process monitoring helps plant engineers connect data from critical equipment to subject matter experts, and connect that same data to the IT systems as part of a digital transformation, IIOT, or Industry 4.0 paradigm. Small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are not ready to be competitive in the next wave of manufacturing. Reasons for the huge gap are:

  1. high capital investment required for the commercially available process lines with smart tools and equipment
  2. lack of skilled workforce

To position Pennsylvania as a national and international leader in manufacturing, small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses should find ways to:

  1. upgrade the existing manufacturing units to continuously monitor and control the process
  2. use real-time data analysis techniques to perform predictive maintenance
  3. attract and retain highly skilled new graduates for the high-paying manufacturing jobs

Achieving these goals will help the small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses realize their full economic potential, and will propel the Commonwealth to the forefront of the next wave of manufacturing. Upgrading the existing manufacturing systems to meet the targets of modern manufacturing requires the development of novel analytical, computational, and experimental methodologies. Process monitoring and control solutions for small to medium-sized manufacturing businesses should be open, affordable, customizable, and help adapt to plant-specific needs as modern predictive maintenance and process optimization projects are rolled out.