E-Industry 4.0: Enabling Manufacturers to Make Better Business Processes

By : |August 6, 2018 0
E-Industry 4.0: Enabling Manufacturers to Make Better Business Processes

By Purshottam Purswani, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Atos India

E-Industry 4.0 is at the heart of digital transformation for every enterprise today. Its goal: creating value from insight generated by connected assets throughout the product lifecycle, manufacturing, and supply chain. By exploiting this new connectivity between people, processes, and things, organizations can radically improve efficiency and quality of service. It also becomes key to business innovation and to entirely new approaches to product and service development. With Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things, you can reinvent your business models, the way you operate and the services you provide to your B2B and B2C customers.

Digital, smart sensors are increasingly part of the factory ecosystem. Production components such as machines, robots, and test elements are all equipped with sensors. Within factories, this means traceability and more – (and more accurate) data, which supports better procedures and more efficient production, all of which enables manufacturers to reach new conclusions and make business processes better. In the market, it enables enriched experiences, usage data gathering, design evolution and new revenue streams from on-demand/Pay as you go offers, such as Michelin’s plan to charge fleets for ‘tire rental’ services based on mileage. This presents important opportunities to new businesses.

Embedding Intelligence into “Things” is the key to real-time awareness and agility

Purshottam Purswani, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Atos India

Purshottam Purswani, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Atos India



Putting in place the real-time intelligence and sensors at every level of the factory and production cycle, manufacturers can see everything that is going on across production lines and increase their ability to take immediate actions to increase output and quality, and thus support operational and business agility.
For maximum factory efficiency, networks of plants need to be treated as exactly that – a single, connected entity that can be orchestrated as one. Facilities are no longer fixed and silo-driven but flowing with intelligence, adaptability and the ability to dynamically reconfigure.

Key trends in Industry 4.0

• Sensor-based tracking of the status of manufacturing equipment, including temperature, pressure, vibration and many other profiles.

• Use of the parameters in advanced data analytics, to predict and order maintenance events.

• Simplify supply chain by introducing additive manufacturing (3d printing) for low-volume spare parts.

• In-transport-visibility of ingredients, semi-material or finished goods on the shop floor. Or on its way from the supplier to the production facility.

• The horizontal integration that enables on-the-fly creation of a change ticket in product design based on quality issues in production: requesting a change of either product design, tool design or production sequence, that resolves the issue within 24 hours.

In order to leverage investment in Industry 4.0, a few things are critical

Connectivity: for most of the above-mentioned solutions, wireless connections are required. But if we look into the industrial reality we find that even in major Automotive plants Wi-Fi availability is not a given. It can be excluded for security reasons. But in many cases, it is also technically not applicable, e.g. in environments with local power generation, or with large, moving metal parts. Communications based on private radio (4G/5G LTE e.g. working with Nokia Impact) or public radio (SigFox, LORA, and many other vendors) can provide an alternative solution.

Most of these vendors also come with their appropriate IoT-infrastructure.

Heterogeneous Hardware/Equipment: the advantage of predictive maintenance would be at the forefront of any engineer’s mind. However, with long lifecycle equipment (autoclave, pumps, press tools etc.) it might not be possible as these often use outdated automation technology and software. They would need to be replaced, which is certainly not a quick or cheap solution. Instead, you are better off ensuring that the specification is updated for when they need to be replaced.

Tracking and Traceability: Introducing cheap devices and communication contracts, “track & trace”, is becoming ever more popular. Beyond what we can do with Barcode and RFID, technologies like public radio free us from geography and financial restrictions. Tags equipped with chock, temperature, pressure and many other sensors are available for low single digit figures. In addition to features such as 10-year battery lifetime and very cheap communication contracts the ROI is obvious for tracking even cheap material like pallets but definitely pays off to track high-value semi-material or products, on your shop floor premises, or on its way from supplier to OEM, or from OEM to retailer.

Digital Twin: On one hand, it helps significantly shorten the average duration of a change request by making key information available, like laser measurement results that indicate a tolerance violation, sensor acoustics that indicate a tool disruption or torque profiles that violate the product design requirements. This enables the manufacturer to make a swift decision, to change the product design, the tool or the production sequence to resolve the issue within 24 hours. On the other hand, in-the-field / on-the-road data contributes to further product improvement. Such data today typically gets lost or only can be tracked via studies (TÜV and VDA are the most prominent automotive examples). DigitalTwin functionalities help to fetch in-use data for cars, trucks, machinery but also deliberates on the tools that are attached to it (e.g. harvester used on a tractor).

The vision for Industry 4.0: Smart Factory

The industry envisions that factories must increasingly become more customer-centric, delivering products that do more and meet better individual needs, while driving new user experiences. Production environments must be balanced to support a production model that delivers intelligent and appropriate customization on basic uniform product design: this is the key to driving the ‘mass customization’ reality. Through new levels of communication at every level across the factory and the manufacturing value chain, manufacturers will be able to collaborate more effectively; they will also be able to respond to competitive pressures, shortening product lifecycles, and increasing demand for product and service personalization.

The next-generation, smart factory will automatically re-route work, pre-empting bottlenecks and identifying areas of underused capacity, customized production, enable predictive maintenance, and operate continuously and at unprecedented levels of efficiency. Machine information from outside specific plants will be accessible, enabling remote control of manufacturing units and services; machine controllers will be able to access user profiles; this will also enable predictive maintenance to be carried out more effectively by machine suppliers for manufacturers.

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