There is an interesting white paper about smart manufacturing and digital work instructions at the DISCUS Software Company web site. This paper provides 7 insights into what’s necessary to bring electronic work instructions to the marketplace. It provides a nice backgrounder on the history of paperless manufacturing. It also describes the steps necessary to easily incorporate mobile devices into modern manufacturing.
With the drastic reduction in the cost of sensors and networking devices, there is an emerging opportunity for collecting more data from the shop floor. I would expect many more companies to start considering the use of tablets and lightweight laptops out in the factory.