Human-Centric Design Key to Instrumentation & Process AutomationHuman-Centric Design Key to Instrumentation & Process Automation
Inventory management streamlines bulk material handling for inventory balancing, planning, and control.
October 30, 2023
Artificial intelligence saw explosive growth in 2023 resulting in quick adoption. According to a McKinsey survey conducted in April, 79% of respondents said they had at least some exposure to AI. Twenty-two percent are already using it for work.
It Starts with Sensors
From a business standpoint, inventory management streamlines bulk material handling for inventory balancing, planning, and control. For balance, it’s important to have the right amount of inventory to fulfill production and free up money tied to safety stock. Control refers to managing the physical and logistics of inventory.
“It’s essential to tailor sensor and software technology to people so that managers can maximize their decisions,” said Scott Hudson, BinMaster vice president, marketing and sales. “We realize that different materials require different sensors and software which account for workplace conditions, company goals, and even the bulk density of the product.”
How Do People Play a Role?
Industry 5.0 builds on 4.0. It calls for people to work alongside robots, smart machines, and technologies. “Culturally, AI is just another tool,” said Mike Mossage, BinMaster vice president east region. “We’ve always said that sensors show people bulk material measurements continuously. It’s people that make data-based decisions.”
To digitize with sensors, a human-centric design is key to success, Mossage said. “Big data is nothing but a lot of numbers. With people in mind, we built BinCloud software to sort out all the data. AI could play a role.”
Mossage said BinCloud collects data for up-to-the-minute readings and stores a history of readings to help project trends use over time. He said supporting software must be intuitive and easy to adapt quickly. “We know there’s an aspect of organizational change here,” said Mossage. “We’ve dedicated staff to walk our users through BinCloud data so little time is spent searching data or calculating numbers and more time is available for people to make smart decisions.”
The European Commission defined Industry 5.0 values:
• Human centric: Promotes talents, diversity, and empowerment
• Resilient: Agile and resilient with flexible and adaptable technology
• Sustainable: Leading action on sustainability and respecting planetary boundaries
Goals for a human-centric instrumentation and process-controlled operation:
• Human-machine interaction technology to connect the strengths of humans and machines
• Bio-inspired tech and recyclable smart materials with embedded sensors
• IoT data transmission, storage, and analysis to handle data and system interoperability
• Artificial intelligence to create actionable results
• Technology for energy efficiency, renewables, storage, and autonomy
Automation Can Reduce Physical Work as Well
A human-centric approach to instrumentation also includes considerations like replacing repetitive, manual jobs with automation, according to Hudson. Level sensors, for example, replace the need to climb ladders up a silo and lift a heavy access door to measure material. BinCloud software can replace spreadsheets, emails, and calculators. Rotary indicators can turn conveyors on and off depending on material level. Capacitance probes can sense material in smaller vessels as well.
“Ultimately, employee time is too valuable for some of these tasks,” said Hudson. “We found a way to replace all that and send decision-making data to people’s phones.”
Srivastava, M., Abdelzaher, T., & Szymanski, B. (2012). Human-centric sensing. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 370(1958), 176-197. https://www.cs.rpi.edu/~szymansk/papers/TRS.11.pdf
Adel, A. Future of industry 5.0 in society: human-centric solutions, challenges and prospective research areas. J Cloud Comp 11, 40 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13677-022-00314-5
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