For example, a worker going into a freezer to select prepreg material for a work order makes that decision based on a limited number of factors. An AI-based system, on the other hand, could consider hundreds of data points, including the material’s size, remaining shelf life, the amount of material that would remain and the other jobs that the company would be working on that shift, day or week.

“AI is about making thousands of calculations in the background, using machine learning and other methods to run by a lot of historical data, and then making predictions to help you get the optimized decision,” Ben-Assa explains.

Manufacturers save both time and materials with these new technologies. “We’re talking about a 5 to 7% increase in on-time deliveries simply because you don’t have those delays,” he continues. “There’s a significant reduction in rework because manufacturers are no longer using expired materials; the software alerts them and recommends what material to use for which job. So you get things right the first time.”

AI can improve efficiencies in many areas of manufacturing. If there’s a quality issue in a product, an intelligent system could factor in thousands of data points from the plant to identify the root cause and recommend fixes.

Augmented Reality

Plataine has integrated its software solution to run on Google Cloud, which enables it to use Google Glass Enterprise Edition for augmented reality (AR). In Plataine’s implementation, workers wearing these smart glasses can see images of the work that they need to do at one side of a lens and hear directions from the AR system on how to do it.

“Operators wearing the smart glasses gain hands-free operation, because they don’t have to hold anything – paper, tablet or laptop,” Ben-Assa says. Workers can ask the AR system what orders they need to fill, where they can get the material they need and how to perform a lay-up operation or other work. This frees up workers’ time because they don’t have to look for materials, they get clear instructions and they don’t have to report everything they do using paper, electronic spreadsheets or other systems.

Ben-Assa says that workers spend 20 percent of their time documenting the work that they’ve done and the materials that they’ve used. “The other advantage with AI and Google Glass in this specific example is that it takes the burden of reporting off of the shoulders of operators on the factory floor. You can simply say, ‘I confirm doing this,’ and it’s updated in the system,” he adds.