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The challenge of manufacturing transition: industrial 4.0 you ready?

Release time:2019-02-22  Click volume:3579

"Smart Factory" has become a hot topic in the manufacturing industry. This concept is not empty. According to the Boston Consulting Group, about 85% of manufacturers believe they can benefit from smart factories in some way. According to the survey report, in the future smart factory, “the value chain will be fully integrated, and the traditional boundaries will be further blurred. In the entire value chain, the full integration of IT systems and the wide range of required production data will be available. It has a huge boost to the manufacturing industry."

Other analysts also expressed optimism about this. KPMG further emphasized the concept of system integration. They believe that “in the future factory, information and communication technology will be fully integrated with automation technology”, which will make the entire manufacturing process “integrated real-time from the first step”. Ways to consider and manage."

McKinsey also mentioned a similar scenario: “Traditional production systems involve a series of independent tools that are loosely coupled by certain rules and applications. But in future smart factories, such connections will be tighter and more Automated, the entire system can be quickly operated as a seamless, cohesive whole through digital connections."

Although the specific definitions of each analyst are slightly different, it is clear that they share some common characteristics and themes. Microsoft also analyzes the current needs of customers and presents their own ideas for future factories.

Microsoft's view of the future factory

Microsoft believes that manufacturing is evolving into a seamless integration of the physical and digital worlds to enable rapid integration, feedback, and control loops in distributed manufacturing infrastructure. In future plants, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will allow each plant to communicate with other plants and facilities at any time and integrate closely into existing industrial technology facilities. This results in a complex ecosystem of self-regulating machines and plants, while still customizing the output, optimizing resource allocation, and seamlessly integrating the physical and virtual worlds between buildings, production lines and production processes. The core of this vision lies in four important shifts: an open value chain, flexible production, people-centered manufacturing, and an innovative business model.

Open value chain

To achieve this vision, we need to rethink the entire value chain. In the face of shorter and shorter product life cycles, future plants no longer use traditional industrial value chains (supported by discrete systems for discrete manufacturing processes), but rather between these systems and their supporting processes. Interoperability and integration. This integration allows machines and IT systems to use advanced algorithms to determine the best execution method, eliminating the need for manual intuition and experience to handle complex production processes and resource management tasks, resulting in a self-regulating and adaptive value chain.

Flexible production

In a similar way, future plants can achieve more flexible production. By integrating industrial automation software and systems with design systems, future plants will automatically extract system settings from product configurations and automatically apply best practices to different devices and facilities. The process is updated in real-time with data collected from sensors to ensure that the changing conditions are kept up to date.

People-centered manufacturing

With the help of advanced technology, the future factories will become more human-centered. For example, through system integration, you can better adapt to the employee's personal time and dynamically adjusted work schedule. Robotics enables employees and machines to collaborate at any time during the process of repetitive and complex decisions. Massive data and insights gained from it can help employees make more complex decisions with confidence. Ultimately these measures will effectively improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

Innovative business model

Future plants can not only optimize production processes, but also implement innovative business models such as product-as-a-service. However, from the sale of "products" to the sale of "products as a service", this process requires redesigning the product and production system to support new features such as remote monitoring. The original independent functions of plant operation technology and service contract management must also be closely integrated around a series of links from design to final manufacturing. All of this is inseparable from the integration of open value chains and systems.

The current situation of the factory, and the goals of the future factory, the gap between the two needs to be compensated through strategic investment and time investment. These investments will quickly reinvigorate if they can be based on real operational data rather than guesswork. So what do you do?

Welcome to Industry 4.0, are you ready?

Many manufacturers have already invested in the transformation of the future factory. According to Capgemini Consulting, more than half of the manufacturers have invested more than $100 million in smart factories! Most manufacturers and analysts believe that end-to-end real-time monitoring is the key to improving business processes, but currently only 7% of manufacturers implement real-time monitoring of the entire production process. For a handful of manufacturers that have successfully implemented connected smart factories, they are enjoying a lot of money: productivity has increased by an average of 17%-20%.

Jabil combines predictive analytics with real-time manufacturing to reduce scrap and rework costs by 17%. TetraPak combines production lines with cloud-predictive analysis and hybrid display technology to effectively prevent equipment failures and allow remote experts to repair equipment more efficiently. Sandvik Coromant's solution analyzes aggregated IoT data through a cloud platform, reducing the time required for emergency downtime decisions from the original 2 seconds to 100 milliseconds.

Microsoft is helping manufacturers maximize the impact of data and make the entire value chain more visible. This allows manufacturers to anticipate suppliers and produce batches, components, and production lines and take action as appropriate to help each employee make more informed decisions on the spot. Through machine learning and predictive insights from the digital supply chain, we have been able to help manufacturers increase production by 30% and scrap costs by $2 million.

How Microsoft unlocks future factories

The realization of future plants requires technology to seamlessly integrate the production network and manufacturer ecosystem of the entire plant. In the past, industrial automation took the mentality of “configuring for life without worry”, but this mentality needs to change.

Whether building from scratch or transforming existing facilities and infrastructure, connectivity and interoperability are key to success. Originally different systems and protocols began to form a collaborative hyperconnected network, and machine-to-machine communication became machine-machine-human communication. Microsoft will connect people and machines through AI technology to achieve breakthrough productivity through technologies such as intelligence, mixed reality and cognitive services.

For more than two decades, IoT-driven automation systems have provided a wealth of insights that people could not have imagined for operations, productivity, and equipment status. And Microsoft's investment in technologies such as OPC-UA will help manufacturers seamlessly connect new and old systems, making it easier to retrofit factories.

The key to the success of the future plant is the simulation simulation through digital twinning. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and mixed reality, these three technologies will be the key to greatly improving efficiency through the digital twinning process. Digitalization is no longer limited to visualizing and collaborating in managing a specific device lifecycle, and we can use this technology to understand the operation of the entire manufacturing process.

Microsoft HoloLens helps manufacturers and employees visualize relevant data in the virtual reality world in a whole new way, enabling digital students to play a bigger role. In the future factory, the ability to prevent unauthorized personnel from operating the device through the facial recognition capabilities of cognitive services can also bring security to new heights. This will greatly increase the network and physical security, helping manufacturers better protect intellectual property, data and physical assets.

The extremely flexible and powerful Azure Intelligent Cloud Platform helps this hyperconnected world achieve better interoperability through a hybrid intelligent edge and intelligent cloud model. This not only laid the foundation for the Internet of Things, but also provided support for the Internet of Things, people and services in the future.

Even better, in order to help manufacturers quickly transform and implement smart factories in the future, Microsoft has combined all of these components to create a comprehensive platform, Azure IoT Suite interconnect factory solution. This pre-configured solution helps manufacturers connect existing machinery to a secure cloud platform without disrupting production tasks, enabling end-to-end visibility into the production process for business transformation Get more insights. He also connects and monitors industrial equipment to provide end-to-end visibility around the production environment. Azure Time Series Insights can help manufacturers analyze the stream of data generated by their devices to increase operational efficiency and profitability.

The factory of the future is a wonderful journey, but how to get there, there are many alternative routes, and it is also necessary to go forward or stabilize. But you can be sure that the first-time manufacturers have begun to benefit and become better. Do you still have to wait?