Cognitive manufacturing & Industry 4.0

Talk to any manufacturing executive and odds are they have heard of Industry 4.0. Originally coined in Germany through a technology project to computerize manufacturing, Industry 4.0 has now launched into a worldwide initiative to transform this sector. Japan and China have even coined their own ‘Industrial Value Chain Initiative’ and ‘Made in China 2025’ to emphasize their dedication to this strategy. And there is good reason for why Industry 4.0 projects are popping up at every manufacturing company. According the McKinsey Global Institute, operations and equipment optimization in the factory setting can generate up to $3.7T of value in 2025.

The two major technologies driving Industry 4.0

Internet of Things:

With the growth and adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), factories are becoming more instrumented and interconnected. IoT provides the ability to gain valuable data off of all the ‘things’ in our factories. From the condition of assets and equipment to quality and yield metrics, IoT brings live, real-time data of the manufacturing environment to our fingertips.

Analytics:

Data, and more importantly analytics, are changing the way we see our machines, our processes and our operations. Analytics can identify patterns in the data, model behaviors of equipment, and predict failures based on a variety of variables that exist in the manufacturing setting.

Cognitive manufacturing cartoon. Image shows a factory with high-tech production components.

 

How cognitive computing can revolutionize manufacturing

As more factories and equipment are instrumented with IoT, data volume will only grow larger. Conventional computing will struggle to scale with the large influx of data and the complexity of the analytics. Computing must become cognitive to process, analyze, and optimize the information. To truly pave the way forward to Industry 4.0 and beyond, manufacturing has to evolve into cognitive manufacturing.

Cognitive manufacturing fully utilizes the data across systems, equipment and processes to derive actionable insight across the entire value chain from design through manufacture to support. Built on the foundations of IoT and employing analytics combined with cognitive technology, cognitive manufacturing drives at key productivity improvements in quality, efficiency, and reliability of the manufacturing environment.

Cognitive manufacturing transforms manufacturing in three focused ways:

  1. Intelligent assets and equipment: utilizing connected sensors, analytics, and cognitive capabilities to sense, communicate and self-diagnose issues in order to optimize performance and reduce unnecessary downtime
  2. Cognitive processes and operations: analyzing a variety of information from workflows, context, process, and environment to drive quality, enhance operations and decision-making
  3. Smarter resources and optimization: combining various forms of data from individuals, location, usage, and expertise with cognitive insight to optimize and enhance resources such as labor, workforce, and energy

This is the first post in a five-part series on cognitive manufacturing. Stay tuned for the following part of the series to explore each of these types of manufacturing transformation and their benefits.

For more information, visit the Watson IoT website to see how IBM is engaging in cognitive manufacturing. We will be talking more about industry transformation at InterConnect, it’s not too late to register, or watch the live streams here. Learn more about how cognitive IoT is transforming industrial manufacturing processes with this free ARC analyst report: Optimize Asset Performance with Industrial IoT and Analytics.

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