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    • Digital Two-Way Radios and the Race to Reduce Manufacturing Downtime

      Published Dec 09 2016, 8:19 PM by Motorola Solutions

      As a fan of Formula 1 World Championship Racing (F1), there's much I love about the sport. Of course, there's the obvious appeal of the cars, and admiration for the skill of the drivers. But pitstops have an appeal all of their own. They offer 3 mesmerising seconds of perfectly choreographed teamwork - all centred on the aim of optimising ongoing performance and minimising "downtime".

      Just like in F1, an element of downtime in manufacturing is inevitable. OK, I admit that manufacturing downtime lasts a little longer than 3 seconds, but there's a shared need for collaboration, real-time communication, and a seamless flow of information. Without it, valuable time is lost, employee safety is put in jeopardy, deadlines are missed, revenues are reduced, and ultimately - risk is heightened and customers are left disappointed.

      In today's aggressive marketplace, there's no room for the continual delays and costly disruptions associated with machine downtime. So manufacturers are looking for new ways to increase operational efficiency, improve plant performance, increase safety, optimise resources and run their operation smoothly.

      Our 2014 Study reveals how manufacturers are prioritising the use of digital radios to address the issue of downtime1. The results of the survey bring into sharp focus the frustrations that manufacturers have with the use of inadequate radios not fit for the demanding environment - or even in some cases consumer mobile phones. Unreliability and coverage limitations dominate the results - with both having a severe impact on critical communication flow:


      The threat of downtime is ever-present, and all manufacturers know that it's one of the greatest impediments to plant performance. However, it's also important to acknowledge that downtime not only impedes workflow, it also creates a cascading effect that impacts worker productivity. With even a moment's delay being costly, it's imperative that communication across all functions is immediate and relevant so informed decisions can be made.

      Manufacturers who integrate plant communications on a MOTOTRBO digital two-way radio platform can ensure the duration of machine downtime is minimal so effect on output, and ultimately the impact on lost revenue, is reduced. Here's how:

      1. Reduced response time - the production manager can be instantly notified by an automatic malfunction alert.

      2. Accelerated resolution time - maintenance can be contacted immediately via Push-to-Talk. With the continuous network coverage offered by MOTOTRBO digital radios, there'll be no black spots, or inability to reach workers in geographically dispersed sites within the plant. Despite the inevitable high noise environment, crystal clear audio will be guaranteed by noise suppression and intelligent audio technology.

      3. Streamlined communication flow - one-to-many group communication means relevant teams can be instantly connected so collaboration is greatly improved. New work order tickets and requests for spare parts/tools can all be issued from the same device.

      4. Improved worker safety - Transmit Interrupt enables plant safety and security teams to immediately override lower priority communications so all employees can be notified in the event of an emergency.

      5. Improved worker productivity - the device is ruggedised to withstand inevitable drops and spills in work environments, with extended battery life for intensive full shift operation. Rugged accessories further suppress ambient noise and enable workers stay focused on the job in hand.

      So, like in F1 the flow of voice and data communications is vital to the end result and whilst drivers get to stand on the podium, you get to beat the competition.

      To get the full story on why manufacturers are placing digital two-way radios at the very heart of their plant communications strategies in an effort to reduce downtime and streamline operations, please read our 2014 Study: Top Trends in Plant Communications.

      Sean Fizgerald is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing EMEA
      Connect with Sean on LinkedIn at
      1 Motorola Solutions Whitepaper "2014 Study: Top Trends in Plant Communications"

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