Manufacturing: transforming technologies, methods and models with Industrie 4.0

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Jesus Mantas, General Manager, IBM Cognitive Process Transformation Consulting led today’s session on Manufacturing at the Genius of Things summit in Munich.

Jesus Mantas at IBM Watson IoT Genius of Things eventJesus Mantas opens the Manufacturing segment of the Genius of Things Summit

He was joined by Dr. Yung-Chang Tan, Director Automation Technology Development at Foxconn, and Dr. Bernhard Heiming, Group Manager (Electronics) at Vaillant.

A glimpse into IBM’s manufacturing work

IBM is a leader in transforming technologies with Industrie 4.0, bringing together things that are instrumented, interconnected, inclusive and intelligent in order to generate insights from collected data and transform the face of manufacturing.

A case in point is the recent work with an aircraft engine manufacturer to improve engine availability with more accurate predictions. The results show considerable successes:

  • 100% prediction of aircraft-on-the-ground events for high-risk engines
  • 97% accuracy in predicting engine events that lead to airline disruptions
  • $63 million USD in extrapolated cost savings to airlines if prediction had been available in the previous year

IBM also helped a US Electronics contract manufacturer enable a new level of supply chain optimization, with the following results:

  • >90% decrease in the time required to investigate and solve supply chain issues
  • 300% faster creation of sales quotes in response to customer requests
  • 6x average increase in the time available for procurement representatives to identify cost-saving opportunities

Using IBM’s Cognitive Plant Advisor, we helped a cement manufacturer improve energy efficiency and reduce costs, leading to: 

  • Improved efficiency and maximized plant performance by providing in-situ expert support
  • 10% Energy Savings by decreasing energy needs and improving energy usage variability across mfg plants which was their single largest cost
  • Reduced Exposure to knowledge leak from a retiring workforce

IBM helped an automotive manufacturer gain a far deeper understanding of the many factors that affect production quality.

The company wanted to increase productivity and shorten the ramp-up phase of its complex Engine manufacturing process. They identified the need to reduce material waste, regain lost production time, and lower production costs. Their challenge was in understanding the relationships of over 500 variables in the production process contributed to specific product-quality issues.

By implementing a data-mining and predictive analytics solution using IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing, production managers can now gain a far more granular understanding of the factors that cause quality problems than they ever could before, resulting in:

  • 25% increase in the overall productivity of the cylinder-head production line
  • 50% reduction in the time required to ramp up the process to target levels
  • 100% payback achieved within two years

Key technologies and trends drive the manufacturing transformation

So what technologies are driving disruption of the manufacturing industry? In the age of digital marketing, connected devices and the data they collect are transforming the industry like never before, and the statistics are extraordinary:

  • IoT factory optimization has potential to create $633 billion to $1.8 trillion of value by 2025
  • By 2018, investments in operational sensing through IoT and analytics will deliver 30% improvement in critical process cycle times
  • Platforms and services for IoT, AI and conversational systems will be a key focus through 2020
  • Between 2015 and 2018 about 1.3 million new industrial robots to be installed in factories worldwide
  • A focus on systems, not discrete products

Dr Yung-Chang Tan: Cognitive Manufacturing, for precision, productivity, quality and safety

Dr Yung-Chang Tan explained Foxconn Technology Group’s approach to automation: The automation process essentially moves from a single cell, to a line, and finally to a full factory automation system.

Dr. Yung-Chang Tan speaks at IBM Watson IoT's Genius of Things eventDr. Yung-Chang Tan from Foxconn takes to the stage

The offline programming process for a polishing system with non-explosive safety in four steps:

  1. Construct 3D simulation scenario & import workpiece model
  2. Draw path on workpiece model
  3. Generate path file & download to robot controller for execution
  4. Simulate robot motion to ensure motion for path is feasible

Dr Tan showed a demo of a cognitive calligraphy robot, which can translate an English command (“Draw good morning”) into Chinese, with the help of Watson and Node-RED:

  • User says “draw good morning”
  • Watson parses request
  • Laptop says “draw good morning”
  • Node-RED calls Watson translation service
  • Node-RED sends Chinese characters
  • Foxbot draws characters

The same cognitive technology can be applied to other use cases too, such as maintenance:

  1. Foxbot publishes joint sensor data
  2. Dashboard shows KPI information
  3. IBM PMQ observes operational statistics, raises maintenance notifications
  4. Conversation with operations manager using Bluetooth headset

IoT & Cognitive Manufacturing

The cognitive robot is just a first step into the era of cognitive manufacturing. By applying IBM IoT technologies, Foxconn can quickly build up an Industrie 4.0 infrastructure with the following steps:

  • Deploy Node-RED, a visual coding tool to wire all IoT devices
  • Embed messaging protocol, MQTT, to a variety of robots and equipments
  • Use simple hardware like Raspberry Pi to serve as a MQTT gateway to other machine protocols

Applying Watson cognitive analytics to production lines

With the power of Watson’s IoT platform, manufacturers can:

  • Reduce cycle time
  • Eliminate down time
  • Precision machining and assembly
  • Eliminate quality defects
  • Increase output
  • Improve safety

Home energy management: transforming products into services: Vaillant

Vaillant has been developing products, technologies and services for efficient energy usage since 1874. Their work has had an increasingly positive impact on the environment.

Bernhard Heiming from Vaillant speaks at IBM Watson IoT's Genius of Things eventDr. Bernhard Heiming joins the panel

Some of the key trends driving transformation strategy include:

  • Electrified heating systems driven by increasing availability of renewable energies
  • Internet connectivity and connectivity within the smart home

Digital transformation facilitates fundamental changes regarding products, services and business models. Thanks to improved and more readily available technical capabilities, products can now have advantages like:

  • Larger, thinner, more lightweight
  • Attractively designed, enabling modern lifestyle
  • Internet connectivity
  • Smartphone technology applied TV products (e.g. Android OS)
  • Digital services, e.g. video on demand
  • Pay per view instead “GEZ”

Vaillant Group will master several disciplines to unleash the potential of digital business models:

Connected / “Smart ready” products and systems

  • Proprietary Vaillant systems
  • Interfaces to key protocols / smart home systems (pot. Cloud2Cloud)
  • Driving towards standardized customer use cases for energy management and comfort

Internal digital capabilities

  • Muti-channel management
  • E-commerce processes
  • Big data analytics
  • Issue management
  • Version management

Digital customer access

  • Online / mobile access
  • Digital value added services for B2B customers
  • Online direct (pre-) sales channels

eHome Energy Management

There are a lot of examples of technologies for efficient energy management and comfort, they include:

  • Gateway connectivity to cloud
  • Store measured data
  • Train demand forecast with historic measured data
  • Execute weather and demand forecast
  • Appliance scheduling with optimization algorithm
  • Annual cost and energy forecast
  • Energy Management functions
  • Customer use case driven
  • GUI design
  • IBM Watson IoT Platform
  • Analytics and optimization
  • Integration of eHome Energy Management

eHome: transformative technologies open new markets

Transformative practices result in a need for products and services that would previously have been unfeasible. With the new technology, there is a space in the market for innovative systems for pre-fabricated houses, and energy management systems to optimise cost and efficiency are valuable commodities.

What have we learned from the digital transformation?

What steps should we take to ensure a safe, effective journey toward digital transformation? What are the pitfalls, and how can we avoid them?

  • Think about customer needs, markets and business models before selecting a technology
  • Drive towards technology standardization, do not waste time and money on proprietary solutions
  • Be clear about your core competencies and required external services

Learn more about Manufacturing, the IoT and Industrie 4.0

You might be interested in this framework post about the development of Industrie 4.0. Alternatively, for more from the Genius of Things summit, keep an eye on the blog for all the latest news.

Work with us

We’re always looking for new ways to help bring the benefit of the IoT to our clients. Learn more about our cognitive solutions by visiting the IoT website, or speak to a representative to find out how we can help you take the next step in bringing the IoT to your business.

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