Manufacturing in a Smart, Connected, Information-Driven World

The recent ARC India Forum in Bangalore provided delegates with a visionary look at the future of industry and automation, with a focus on smart, information-driven manufacturing.  ARC Advisory Group Vice President, Dr. Valentijn de Leeuw’s keynote presentation was entitled, “Smart Manufacturing Paves the Way for the Future of the Industry”.  Dr. de Leeuw’s presentation stressed that the IoT is more than just a concept by providing specific examples and case studies.  He addressed the status and challenges of advanced economies; whether to focus on innovation or efficiency; and if Smart Manufacturing is the right solution to tackle these issues.

Dr. de Leeuw’s presentation had three parts.  The first focused on different types of economies.  Here, he mentioned that some economies are factor-driven, which means they compete based solely on cheap resources.  Other economies are efficiency-driven, competing based on both cheap resources and efficiency.  The third category, innovation-driven economies, compete on a combination of cheap resources, efficiency, and innovative strategies.  The focus today is on the third category, since efficiency and cheap resources alone are no longer adequate to compete effectively in today’s global environment.  Manufacturing and R&D are growth engines for any economy, because an innovation-driven economy is more resilient to crisis and can recover faster.

Economy Types Regions
Compete on cheap resources
Emerging Asia
As above, plus Efficiency
Latin America
Middle East
As above, plus Innovation
North America
Developed Asia

In the second part of his presentation, Dr. de Leeuw discussed various, largely complementary government and other initiatives adopted to drive innovation in manufacturing:

Industrie 4.0: Industrie 4.0, an initiative launched by the German government from a discrete manufacturing perspective.  According to Dr. de Leeuw, the process industries already have many concepts of Industrie 4.0 in place, such as autonomous optimization, decentralized control coordinated via the DCS, integrated supply chain and production optimization, etc.

Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC): This well-established US-based coalition focuses on the process industries.  The coalition advocates use of common IT platform, advanced modeling, and more.

Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC):  This consortium focuses on the discrete industry and is internationally accepted.

Horizon 2020: This EU initiative, which focuses on both process and discrete sectors, also has a social component.  SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industries by Resource and Energy Efficiency) focuses on process, while the Factory of the Future program focuses on the discrete industries.

In the third part of his presentation, Dr. de Leeuw described the components of different programs and initiatives, such as digitization, technology integration, agile and integrated supply chain networks, advanced biotechnology, smart production technologies and human-technology integration, which many companies have adopted to improve profitability. He shared some case studies as examples.

Through the ThyssenKrupp example Valentijn explained how the company increased throughput in the existing, capacity-limited plant.  The company revolutionized its supply chain through pull manufacturing, without having to add new equipment or increase plant size.

In seven demonstration projects running for more than five years at several major chemical, polymer, and life sciences companies, the EU-sponsored F3 Factory project demonstrated its ability to reduce both capex and opex, shorten time-to-market, and improve sustainability.  The objective was to create smaller, modular units with high production capacity.

He explained the concepts of improved flexibility and time-to-market using Arla Foods as an example.  The company tackled an area with potential for standardization: packaging machine integration.  Arla Foods employed the ISA 88-based PackML standard to dramatically reduce engineering and integration time for new machines.

In another example, he referred to Novartis, the pharmaceutical company that, in one case, decreased its time-to-production period from 12 months to six hours.

Valentijn explained fast, worldwide production visibility and support via the ALCOA example.  The company, with this so called operational intelligence can view global real-time smelter production data with real-time analytics via the internet.

To shorten time-to-market, Volvo used digital factory concepts such as 3D laser scanning integrated with 3D engineering to simulate production within the premises to test and validate the production environment.

About ARC Advisory Group: Founded in 1986, ARC Advisory Group is a Boston based leading technology research and advisory firm for industry and infrastructure.

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