Digital Transformation

Assembly Line

What are Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and 4IR?


Topics: Digital Transformation

Organizations: McKinsey

To get there, six core enablers can boost the odds of success for your company’s 4IR transformation:

  • An agile approach that incorporates quick iterations, fast fails, and continuous learning, with teams transforming bundled use cases in waves to drive innovation and ongoing refinements.
  • Agile digital studios can help people collaborate effectively, providing designated space where team members from different functions are in proximity for co-creation.
  • The IIoT stack allows for seamless integration of IIoT infrastructure (both legacy and new) to build a stable, flexible tech backbone. Costs can by limited by leveraging existing systems with efficient investment in a new technology stack.
  • An IIoT academy uses adult-learning best practices to upskill the workforce, offering customized learning programs based on the unique individual needs.
  • Tech ecosystems partner with vendors, suppliers, customers, and related industries to source the latest capabilities, offering access to extensive data sets and creating opportunities for innovating together.
  • Transformation offices can form a governance hub to support the launch and scale-up of a lighthouse, making progress and priorities transparent, ensuring value continues to be captured, and accelerating change.

Read more at McKinsey Insights

Stellantis Goes All-In With its Software Strategy


Author: Egil Juliussen

Topics: digital transformation

Vertical: Automotive

Organizations: Stellantis

A transformative strategy is needed to manage software requirements for 14 distinct brands, perhaps the largest number of diverse brands of any auto OEM—across price range and vehicle segments ranging from consumer to commercial vehicles. This software complexity provides major cost savings and revenue opportunities after the software platform transformation is completed. The risk is significant development cost over the next four to five years.

Stellantis estimates that 80 percent of software platforms can be shared among brands, with 20 percent requiring brand-specific software—mostly related to user interfaces. Stellantis is clearly aiming to own a significant portion of its software value chain for all of its brands. Nearly all auto OEMs are on this path, adding software expertise to their core competencies.

A key software goal is decoupling software from hardware platforms. Hardware-software decoupling has become standard procedure due to its many advantages. The latest advantage is the potential to swap out chips when supply chains are disrupted.

Read more at EE Times

Is Clip A ‘Slack’ For Factories?


Author: Marco Annunziata

Topics: digital transformation, IIoT, manufacturing analytics

Organizations: Clip Automation

Clip aims to bring data gathering and analytics, information sharing, and collaboration onto a single platform. The system connects all intelligent industrial equipment in a production facility, together with workers who can access all information and adjust operations through computers and portable devices.

It’s an ambitious undertaking, one that requires guaranteeing a very high degree of interoperability to ensure that people, machines and processes can communicate with each other seamlessly, and that all key systems such as Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and others can directly access up-to-date information from machines and processes. This higher level of automation, if implemented right, can unlock a new level of efficiency for manufacturing companies.

Read more at Forbes

AWS, Google, Microsoft apply expertise in data, software to manufacturing


Author: Ilene Wolff

Topics: digital transformation

Organizations: Ford, AWS, Google, Microsoft

As manufacturing becomes digitized, Google’s methodologies that were developed for the consumer market are becoming relevant for industry, said Wee, who previously worked in the semiconductor industry as an industrial engineer. “We believe we’re at a point in time where these technologies—primarily the analytics and AI area—that have been very difficult to use for the typical industrial engineer are becoming so easy to use on the shop floor,” he said. “That’s where we believe our competitive differentiation lies.”

Meanwhile, Ford is also selectively favoring human brain power over software to analyze data and turning more and more to in-house coders than applications vendors. “The solution will be dependent upon the application,” Mikula said. “Sometimes it will be software, and sometimes it’ll be a data analyst who crunches the data sources. We would like to move to solutions that are more autonomous and driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. The goal is to be less reliant on purchased SaaS.”

Read more at SME Media

Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0—Inception, conception and perception


Authors: Xun Xu, Yuqian Lu, Birgit Vogel-Heuser, Lihui Wang

Topics: digital transformation, industry v5

Organizations: University of Auckland, Technical University of Munich, KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Industry 4.0, an initiative from Germany, has become a globally adopted term in the past decade. Many countries have introduced similar strategic initiatives, and a considerable research effort has been spent on developing and implementing some of the Industry 4.0 technologies. At the ten-year mark of the introduction of Industry 4.0, the European Commission announced Industry 5.0. Industry 4.0 is considered to be technology-driven, whereas Industry 5.0 is value-driven. The co-existence of two Industrial Revolutions invites questions and hence demands discussions and clarifications. We have elected to use five of these questions to structure our arguments and tried to be unbiased for the selection of the sources of information and for the discussions around the key issues. It is our intention that this article will spark and encourage continued debate and discussion around these topics.

Read more at ScienceDirect

Digital Transformation in the Beverage Manufacturing and Bottling

Western Digital’s Journey To Build Business Resiliency Through Cloud And ERP Transformation


Author: Patrick Moorhead

Topics: digital transformation, cloud computing, enterprise resource planning

Organizations: Western Digital, Infosys

In 2019, Western Digital started the most crucial part of the transformation journey. This fourth and final phase would transform manufacturing, inventory operations, and intercompany finance for 10 manufacturing plants across five countries, contract manufacturers and end users in a future-ready platform. Infosys was engaged to bring in an outside-in industry view to challenge current business practices and identify opportunities to harmonize process across the sites and standardize by eliminating custom practices.

The program was divided in multiple sub-phases. First sub-phase involved transforming manufacturing operations and intercompany transfers between component factories alongside payroll consolidation, reporting consolidation in Oracle BI. Second sub-phase had as many as 12 parallel projects for bringing hard disk drive manufacturing operations to cloud and consolidating all shipping and revenue operations, making way to retire two out of three legacy ERPs.

Read more at Forbes

Reducing Energy Costs by 8% by Optimizing Autogenous Mills


Topics: digital transformation, energy consumption

Vertical: Mining, Pulp and Paper

Organizations: METRON

The grinding process alone accounts for 80% of the energy consumption. It consists of pulverizing limestone blocks to obtain the calcium carbonate used as a mineral filler in paper pulp.

Mills are the plant’s main equipment:

  • 5 x 355 kW autogenous mills operating without prior crushing;
  • 20 electric mills of various powers between 250 and 355 kW.

The case presented concerns only the autogenous mills, which are the most energy-consuming.

Read more at METRON Blog

How to calculate digital transformation ROI


Author: Paxton Shantz

Topics: digital transformation, supervisory control and data acquisition, manufacturing execution system, enterprise resource planning

Organizations: Beckhoff Automation

To simplify and prioritize the digital vision, first consider how digital transformation for manufacturing integrates three key business components:

  • Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), programmable logic controller (PLC) and control (machine automation)
  • Manufacturing execution system (MES), which includes: (part traceability, machine monitoring and machine management, i.e., recipes and so on)
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP), which includes: (AP/AR, raw materials, purchase orders, inventory, scheduling and tracking).

Achieving large profitability and competitive gains requires seamless integration of three business components. However, it is important to begin at the machine automation level, then incorporate the MES and finally the ERP. The reason for following this path is based on data requirements but also because it is the easiest path for development.

Read more at Plant Engineering

2021 IW Best Plants Winner: IPG Tremonton Wraps Up a Repeat IW Best Plants Win


Authors: Ryan Secard, Peter Fretty

Topics: digital transformation, manufacturing analytics

Vertical: Plastics and Rubber

Organizations: Intertape Polymer Group, Sight Machine

“If you wrapped it and just wound it straight, it would look like a record, with peaks and valleys,” says Richardson. So instead, the machines rotate horizontally, like two cans of pop on turntables. Initially, IPG used a gauge that indicated whether the film was too thick or too thin. “That was OK,” says Richardson, “but it didn’t get us the information we needed.”

Working with an outside company, IPG Tremonton upgraded the gauge to one that could quantify the thickness of the cut plastic in real time as the machine operates.

The benefits of the tinkering were twofold. First, the upgrade gave operators the ability to correct deviations on the fly. Second, “we found that we had some variations between a couple of our machines,” Richardson says. Using the new gauge on both machines revealed that one of them was producing film “a few percentage points thicker” than its twin. “We [were] basically giving away free product,” Richardson recalled. The new sensor gave IPG the information it needed to label film more accurately.

Read more at Industry Week

Mining 4.0 with SampleManager LIMS


Author: David Hernandez

Topics: digital transformation

Vertical: Mining

Organizations: Thermo Fisher

The mining industry presents unique and complex challenges when it comes to data management. Responding to international regulations, integrating technologies used in different business units, controlling accurate inventory data and reliably managing mineral information are critical needs.

Companies in the mining industry need to efficiently manage all the variables that come into play, especially considering that it is a long production chain made up of diverse units that are physically separated from each other. Integrating the laboratory data with the rest of the production chain is key to improving operations and unlocking growth.

Read more at Thermo Fisher Blog

Davey Textiles Shows Digital Transformation Can Be Affordable and Effective


Author: Michael Guilfoyle

Topics: digital transformation, IIoT

Vertical: Textiles

Organizations: Davey Textile, Uptake

If something interrupted operations, the Uptake Fusion’s Downtime Tracker sent an alert to the operator. Due to the noise levels on the floor, the solution sent the alert via Twitter, ensuring operators could be notified directly through their hearing protection devices.

The company could also now visualize production data to examine trends and anomalies for products, days, shifts, equipment, room locations, and other key variables. They now had new insight into causes of lost production, enabling them to eliminate issues that undermined operational optimization. Uptake Fusion also managed all of this using a single-pane view, minimizing user complexity.

Read more at Arc Advisory Group

Innovation Fuels Stanley Black & Decker's Transformation


Author: Peter Fretty

Topics: cobot, digital transformation

Vertical: Machinery

Organizations: Stanley Black & Decker, DeepHow, Bright Machines

With more than 100 manufacturing plants globally, the 178-year-old Stanley Black & Decker (SBD) has entrenched itself one of the world’s most recognizable and innovative brands.

A key component of the company’s staying power? The company has stayed on a clear journey of continuous improvement with dedication to innovation that includes regularly applying advanced technologies across the company’s operation, ultimately resulting in a culture dedicated to seeking “game changing solutions” that consistently yields an impressive number of new products and world firsts each year.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Sensor Fusion: The Swiss Army Knife of Digitalization


Author: David Miller

Topics: industrial control system, digital transformation, edge computing, predictive maintenance

Organizations: Balluff, Bosch Rexroth, Emerson, Omron

With the proper communication protocols and network architecture in place, smart sensor technology and the data it provides can be the bulwark on which digital transformation is built.

If industrial control systems are the brains of a plant, then sensors are its eyes and ears. Simply put, without sensors there would be nothing for SCADA, DCS, or PLCs to respond to. That’s why increasingly intelligent or ‘smart’ sensors packing more onboard processing power, the ability to monitor new variables, and digital communication capabilities are playing such an important role in helping plant operators and enterprise level planners alike to see better and respond to problems with more finesse.

Read more at Automation World

Designing the modern digital function


Authors: Deepak Sharma, Faruk Muratovic, Maximilian Shroeck, Anne Kwan

Topics: digital transformation

Organizations: Deloitte

To make digital industrial transformation a reality, a company needs both a nerve center and a dedicated digital function. Creating an operational structure is key, and this article suggests how leaders can make it happen.

Read more at Deloitte