Manufacturing lighthouses show the way

Manufacturers have tried for years to develop a computer network standard for interconnecting devices from various manufacturers (remember MAP?). Now things are different: IoT is providing the underlying platform. Markedly, equipment and device makers are collaborating in ways never seen before, and manufacturing lighthouses are helping show industry the way forward.

Identification and promotion of successful IoT/IIoT is important. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently selected nine top IIoT sites world-wide from over 1000 manufacturers. The fact there were so many IoT/IIoT sites to choose from is a sign that obstacles are being overcome.

Earlier work by WEF identified that over 70% of businesses investing in technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence or 3D printing are not able to take the projects beyond pilot phase.

To address this WEF plans a network of “manufacturing lighthouses” to help producers. It aims to address problems confronting industries when it comes to investing in advanced technologies. To this end, all nine lighthouses agreed to open their doors and share their knowledge with other manufacturers.

Their selection considered their successful implementation IoT to drive their businesses’ financial and operational impact. The factories designated as “lighthouses” have deployed a wide range of technologies and use cases at scale. They also keep people and sustainability at the heart of their innovation strategies.

Manufacturing lighthouses

Nine sites were identified as the world’s top advanced manufacturing lighthouses. In addition to Schneider Electric’s Le Vaudreuil factory in France, four others were in Europe, one in the USA and three in China.

Schneider Electric has agreed to open their doors to share their knowledge and also best practices with other industries. The aim is to develop an ecosystem of innovators, to grow and advance the adoption of smart manufacturing technologies.

The factory has implemented new digital tools such as EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Adviser. Its operators to use augmented reality to speed up operation and maintenance, delivering between 2% and 7% gain in productivity. Predictive maintenance and enhancing cybersecurity by using a data bunker are also important.

Implementation of EcoStruxure Resource Advisor delivered up to 30% energy savings. Overall equipment efficiency (OEE) increased by 7% contributing continuous improvement over the years.

Using mainly its own technologies Schneider Electric’s demonstrates how today’s connected and digitalised world delivers product and operational excellence. It also delivers competitive business advantage through superior customer experience.

Other manufacturers

Bayer, Division Pharmaceuticals (Garbagnate, Italy):

Utilized a Digital Twin based scheduling optimisation to drive improvements throughout their Quality Control Lab

Bosch Automotive (Wuxi, China):

Using advanced data analytics to deeply understand and eliminate output losses, simulate and optimize process settings, and also predict machine interruptions before they occur

Haier (Qingdao, China):

Intelligence led transformations include an ‘order-to-make’ mass customization platform and a remote AI supported, intelligent service cloud platform to predict maintenance

Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes (Cork, Ireland):

Created process driven digital to create digital representations of physical assets leading to advanced machine insights, lower operating costs and a reduction in machine downtime

Phoenix Contact (Bad Pyrmont and Blomberg, Germany):

By creating digital copies of each customer’s specifications, production time has been cut by 30%

Procter & Gamble (Rakona, Czech Republic):

Web based analytical simulation of agility and responsiveness across the supply chain, improved speed to market, inventory efficiency and customer satisfaction uplift of 116%

Siemens Industrial Automation Products (Chengdu, China):

Ability to take customer orders and immediately allocate resources and schedule production time leading to 100% quality compliance and 100% traceability, while ensuring security and agility

Fast Radius with UPS (Chicago, IL):

Fast-turnaround through distributed, industrial-grade 3D printing and proprietary operating system that drives real-time analytics and orchestrates, design, production and global fulfilment