Digital Manufacturing: Analysis of Top Programs and Use Case Maturity
Industry estimates suggest that once the pandemic abates, whenever that is, enterprises with robust digital manufacturing embedded within their value chains will emerge as top players in their niche.
Centered around a cloud-connected infrastructure capable of solving computationally intensive tasks and executing AI/ML-based programs/instructions, digital manufacturing has moved well into the mainstream now.
Thanks to the volumes of data generated by machines embedded with sensors, enterprises have strategically maneuvered their revenue-generating assets towards lower downtimes & increased ROI. Incorporating predictive analytics & intelligent demand forecasting is now hassle-free and less resource-intensive.
Even conservative estimates peg the digital marketing space to touch USD 10 trillion over the coming decade.
But exactly how widespread are the use cases of digital manufacturing?
Just like any new technology paradigm, there will be a period of uncertainty in adoption. Has digital manufacturing evolved past this stage?
In this short analysis, we will cover 3 digitization themes where digital manufacturing applications are maturing at a rapid pace and where sales executives can target for high–value deals.
The factory of the future, or “Smart Factory“, will play a crucial role in Industry 4.0.
Smart factories connect the physical and digital worlds with technologies such as AI, Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing & the Industrial Internet Of Things. They can monitor the entire production process, from manufacturing tools and the supply chain to individual floor operators.
When implemented correctly, they are fully-integrated, collaborative manufacturing behemoths optimized for scale while being flexible to demand at the same time.
Consequently, this opens up numerous opportunities for digital service providers to pitch innovative solutions like ABB‘s EQmatic system.
ABB‘s EQmatic improves energy efficiency in buildings. It is a compact solution for storing, visualizing and analyzing energy consumption data to help optimize usage.
Yet another of their innovation is YuMi, which helps people and robots work side-by-side safely and productively without barriers. Collaborative robots are a rising use case in industrial manufacturing with their use expected to increase by over 43% post-COVID. Collaborative robots in industrial manufacturing help companies automate some of the most tedious, repetitive and unsafe tasks in a production line. Industrial companies use cobots to move materials, as well as perform a variety of programmed tasks in manufacturing and production setting.
Smart factories also enable an additional layer of security to enterprise assets. Honeywell developed Honeywell Forge asset tracking and predictive analytics system to drive improved asset and machinery management in industrial operations. It provides the technical skills to harness big data for efficient decision-making by combining IIoT, AI, & ML.
Asset Maintenance & Security
Predictive analytics strategies analyze historical data trends by correlating the correct variables to identify and prevent potential manufacturing equipment failure. It determines the condition of the operating equipment in order to predict when maintenance should be performed.
While IoT sensor embedded equipment have been in vogue for some time now, the emerging trend is Digital Twin Technology. With investments running well into the billion-dollar mark, enterprises are actively exploring strategies to incorporate digital twins into their value chain.
Unlike traditional engineering simulation, digital twins run online based on data received from sensors connected to the machine. A key component of Industrial IoT, digital twin systems are capable of maintaining high fidelity with their original counterparts.
Not only can operators identify why a part is malfunctioning, they can also use the technology to predict the lifespan of a part/device.
Advances in cloud computing, machine learning and sensors are expanding their use cases to medical diagnostics, factory maintenance, and smart cities as well.
Yet another example is that of the Ability smart sensor developed by a leading service provider. It is an advanced analytics and maintenance planning tool for motors, pumps and mounted bearings, which measures key parameters from the surface of the equipment to extend the lifetime of equipment, cut maintenance costs and reduce or prevents unplanned downtime due to breakdowns.
But this predictive maintenance trend is not just restricted to physical devices. Cybersecurity is seeing the rise of predictive analytics tools that prevent the lateral transfer of malware from an infected system.
Workplace Safety & Assistance
While smart factories have significantly increased productivity and made the workplace safer, there is still a significant room for improvement.
In light of the ongoing pandemic, there has been a rise in the use of IoT wearables for worker‘s safety.
3M has launched Active Safety, a PPE management system. It is a software tool that helps EHS professionals to access data, identify trends and help employers to connect with workers and keep them safe and healthy. It uses RFID tags & cloud-based software to record PPE history, usage, and location. Its features include worker-specific PPE record management, inspections and maintenance, PPE audits, inventory management and trackers for employee training, medical evaluations and fit-testing.
In terms of technology evolution, on-site worker safety and performance analysis has received a much-needed boost with IoT wearables. Daikin Industries collaborated with Fairy Devices for THINKLET, a smart wearable device with multi-microphone and voice edge AI technology. The collaboration will combine Fairy Devices‘ expertise in digital technology, such as voice recognition, edge AI, and data analysis to power IoT–based wearable’s such as hardhats or safety vests.
This will connect the worker to an employee monitoring solution hosted in the cloud to monitor the worker attendance and performance passively, while at the same time significantly improving worksite safety through sensors.
Maturing Use Cases; Increasing Sales Opportunities
Clearly, the requirement for innovative solutions in digital manufacturing is numerous across various business intentions. The themes covered above, viz, Smart Factories, Asset Maintenance & Workplace Safety are but a blip in the vast ocean of sales enablement opportunities available in digital manufacturing.
Draup for Sales keeps track of these opportunities in real time and triggers updates for sales teams to take proactive action. When combined with the Ecosystem tool, analysts can narrow down on key players across digital manufacturing, pinpoint their specific technology pain point and pitch them highly-relevant solutions.