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GENiE Smart Factory Solution Boosts Smart Manufacturing In Malaysia

GENiE Smart Factory Solution Boosts Smart Manufacturing In Malaysia

Galactic Advanced Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd has launched its cloud-based process intelligent solution—GENiE Smart Factory Solution, which aims to increase adoption of smart manufacturing practices in Malaysia and the region.

“Malaysian manufacturers need to embrace technology and be competitive worldwide. We can no longer be dependent on labour intensive manufacturing practices. It is essential for manufacturers especially SMEs to leverage on cyber-physical systems and cloud-based data to make informed business decision in order to increase productivity,” said Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Deputy Minister of Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), during the launch. He hopes to work with the company to support Malaysia manufacturers in taking steps towards Industry 4.0.

GENiE Smart Factory Solution enables better decision making on the production floor through data analytics, by obtaining real process values and parameters of production operations. The solution address common problems encountered by manufacturers such as under-utilisation of machinery, production wastage, unpredicted down time risks and high usage of energy.

“It is a scalable investment to improve operations and more importantly to reduce downtime and financial losses from production interruptions. The savings from energy utilisation, reduction of wastage and better yield from the machines can be seen within months,” said Sakhtivel Narayanasamy, CEO of Galactic Advanced Engineering.

He is optimistic about the government’s commitment and efforts in driving adoption of Industry 4.0: “There has been much concept talk about Industry 4.0 and its power to revolutionise but we believe these concepts can be converted into applicable solutions like the GENiE Smart Factory that enables an innovative shift in manufacturing operations for the next three years.”

 

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Artificial Intelligence Software Market To Reach US$118.6 Billion By 2025

Artificial Intelligence Software Market To Reach US$118.6 Billion By 2025

According to a report by Tractica, titled “Artificial Intelligence Market Forecast”, the global artificial intelligence (AI) software market revenue is expected to increase from US$9.5 billion in 2018 to US$118.6 billion by 2025. The study includes market sizing, segmentation, and forecasts for 315 AI use cases distributed across 30 industries. The steady growth of the AI market in the consumer, enterprise, government and defence sectors can be observed as applications of AI technologies and solutions are becoming a reality.

“While the market is still a few years away from an inflection point for real growth, it is critical for both end users and solutions providers to identify the technologies and use cases where they want to invest in AI,” commented Aditya Kaul, research director at Tractica.

AI use cases covered by this report includes three main categories: vision, language and analytics. Vision and language represent the perceptive brain which aims to enhance speech and sight capabilities. While analytics represent the analytical brain which deals with extracting and processing raw data, using traditional machine learning techniques for example. Although analytics and big data are huge drivers of the AI market, pure analytics only represent 35 percent of revenue from AI use cases. In fact, the main driver of the market is actually language and vision use cases in combination with analytics, representing 65 percent of the revenue. New AI use cases in the manufacturing sector includes supply chain optimisation, human-robot collaboration, digital twins and robotic and machine vision enhancements.

 

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Open Manufacturing Platform Accelerates IIoT Developments

Open Manufacturing Platform Accelerates IIoT Developments

Microsoft Corporation and the BMW Group has announced a new community initiative to enable faster, more cost-effective innovation in the manufacturing sector. In manufacturing today, production and profitability can be hindered by complex, proprietary systems that create data silos and slow productivity. The Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) is designed to break down these barriers through the creation of an open technology framework and cross-industry community. The initiative is expected to support the development of smart factory solutions that will be shared by OMP participants across the automotive and broader manufacturing sectors. The goal is to significantly accelerate future industrial IoT developments, shorten time to value and drive production efficiencies while addressing common industrial challenges.

Built on the Microsoft Azure industrial IoT cloud platform, the OMP is intended to provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards and an open data model. In addition to facilitating collaboration, this platform approach is designed to unlock and standardise data models that enable analytics and machine learning scenarios — data that has traditionally been managed in proprietary systems. Utilising industrial use cases and sample code, community members and other partners will have the capability to develop their own services and solutions while maintaining control over their data.

“Microsoft is joining forces with the BMW Group to transform digital production efficiency across the industry,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud + AI Group. “Our commitment to building an open community will create new opportunities for collaboration across the entire manufacturing value chain.”

With currently over 3,000 machines, robots and autonomous transport systems connected with the BMW Group IoT platform, which is built on Microsoft Azure’s cloud, IoT and AI capabilities, the BMW Group plans to contribute relevant initial use cases to the OMP community. In the future, use cases—such as digital feedback loops, digital supply chain management and predictive maintenance—will be made available and, in fact, developed further within the OMP community.

“Mastering the complex task of producing individualised premium products requires innovative IT and software solutions,” said Oliver Zipse, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Production. “The interconnection of production sites and systems as well as the secure integration of partners and suppliers are particularly important. We have been relying on the cloud since 2016 and are consistently developing new approaches. With the Open Manufacturing Platform as the next step, we want to make our solutions available to other companies and jointly leverage potential in order to secure our strong position in the market in the long term.”

Graphic showing various components involved with the Open Manufacturing Platform The OMP is the next evolution in the BMW Group’s and Microsoft’s long-standing technology partnership and mutual commitment to innovation and creating industry-wide opportunities for collective success. Through the OMP, community members will have greater opportunities to unlock the potential of their data, allowing them to build and integrate industrial solutions more quickly and securely and, in turn, benefit from contributing to and learning from other organisations.

The OMP will be designed to address common industrial challenges such as machine connectivity and on-premises systems integration. This will facilitate the reuse of software solutions among OEMs, suppliers and other partners, significantly reducing implementation costs. For example, an ROS-based robotics standard for autonomous transport systems for production and logistics will be contributed to the OMP for everyone to use. The OMP will be compatible with the existing Industry 4.0 reference architecture, leveraging the industrial interoperability standard OPC UA.

“This is very good news for the manufacturing industry,” said Stefan Hoppe, president and CEO of the OPC Foundation. “The use of open international industry standards such as OPC UA in the OMP community enables manufacturers, machine builders and suppliers to integrate their existing equipment and systems efficiently and securely. For a long time, companies have promoted proprietary, closed ecosystems — the OMP commitment to open development will shape tomorrow’s manufacturing.”

The underlying platform will continue to evolve over time, along with manufacturing requirements, to incorporate new innovations including areas of analytics, artificial intelligence and digital feedback loops.

 

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Makino Asia’s Smart Factory Meets Sophisticated Precision Engineering Capabilities

Makino Asia’s Smart Factory Meets Sophisticated Precision Engineering Capabilities

Makino Asia, a leading provider of machine tools used across various industries including automotive, aerospace, medical, semiconductor and electronics, has recently showcased its smart factory at its regional headquarters in Singapore. The facility is designed to meet the growing demand for high-quality products and sophisticated precision engineering capabilities in Asia by adopting Industry 4.0 and the principles of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The smart factory consists of an assembly factory and state-of-the-art machining factory, leveraging seamless automation and digital technologies to achieve high levels of productivity and connectivity between its robots, machines and other peripheral systems.

The combined facility is expected to increase machine production capacity to almost double its previous capacity. The new machining factory and existing assembly factory are connected by a link bridge for staff, and a canopy area for the transfer of materials between the two factories using automated guided forklifts (AGF).

The facility is also fitted with energy-saving and efficient solutions: green energy from installed solar panels within the compound helps to generate about 2,400 megawatt hours of energy annually. This is equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road, avoiding 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions over the same period. In the machining factory, a chilled ceiling system is used to ensure maximum energy efficiency of its air-conditioning system while maintaining high quality, reliability and optimum performance of Makino Asia’s manufacturing operations.

Neo Eng Chong, CEO and President of Makino Asia said, “Makino strives for a ‘Quality First’ mindset across the organisation, from the manufacturing of our products to the development of our people and the business. We are extremely proud of our expanded smart facility in Singapore that will enable Makino Asia to better support our Customers in the region and Singapore’s vision to become a global Advanced Manufacturing hub.”

He added, “The automation and digitalisation of the entire facility serves as a way for us to achieve increased productivity, capacity or energy efficiency. More importantly, it embodies our vision to provide more than just machines for our Customers, by providing the most effective and efficient solutions that meet their needs. The establishment of the IoT Centre to provide real-time support is another milestone to enrich partnerships with our valued Customers.”

The monitoring and tracking of machine conditions in real-time enables Makino Asia to provide proactive and predictive services to Customers. This ensures optimum machine performance at all times so that Customers are able to consistently deliver high quality products.

Lim Swee Nian, Assistant Managing Director of the Singapore Economic Development Board said, “Global precision engineering manufacturing leaders are accelerating the adoption and deployment of Advanced Manufacturing technologies from Singapore, to better serve the evolving needs of their Customers. We are pleased that Makino will be deepening its 45-year presence in Singapore through the launch of its digital transformation journey. As Makino Asia focuses on building its Industry 4.0 capabilities to develop and scale new solutions, we are confident that it will create value-added roles and upskilling opportunities for Singapore to succeed in the digital manufacturing economy.”

Makino Asia embarked on its digital transformation journey in 2016 with a plan to invest around S$100 million over five years to expand and boost the capabilities of its facility in Singapore. The company also established two new departments focused on automation and digitalisation to catalyse digital transformation in the company.

Besides having “smart” machines and solutions, Makino is committed to upskilling all its employees to keep up with fast and ever-changing developments in the manufacturing landscape. Makino Asia’s new and current employees undergo a Workforce Transformation program focused on equipping them with automation skills, digital literacy skills and safety skillsets. The courses are mandatory for all employees to keep abreast of the digital technologies being used to manage automated equipment.

The manufacturing sector in Singapore remains a key pillar of Singapore’s economy. It accounts for around 21 percent of Singapore’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 14 percent of the total workforce. Rapid technological advancements and digitalisation are changing the face of manufacturing. Developments in Advanced Manufacturing presents opportunities for companies to leverage on new technologies to drive productivity and growth.

 

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Increasing Productivity And Quality Gains Through Digitalisation

Increasing Productivity And Quality Gains Through Digitalisation

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Hendrie Viktor, Regional Director at ZEISS Southeast Asia regarding current trends in the manufacturing and metrology industry.

1) Could you provide us with an overview of the current trends regarding the manufacturing industry in Asia?

In an attempt to soften the effects of globalisation, productivity and quality gain drives are most evident. Competing with neighbouring companies are no longer enough to secure one’s business interests. Through globalisation and commoditisation to some degree, the bar on price and quality has been raised exponentially. As a result, some manufacturing industries were adversely affected by consolidation. In my opinion, Asia in particular has been subjected to this harshly but responded well over the past decade—a great example are the quality gains on “Made in China” over the last few years. The relentless expectations on price competitiveness and quality standards has reached a point where traditional, incremental cost and quality gains are no longer enough and reaping the benefits of smart manufacturing or industry 4.0 is crucial.

2) To keep up with these manufacturing trends, what are the newest developments or technological advancements in ZEISS’s metrology solutions?

We address our customer’s ever-increasing productivity and quality requirements through solutions that enable manufacturers to inspect or measure faster and more frequently than before. Gone are the days of random sampling in a quality lab. In-process inspection and shop floor metrology have brought significant time savings and quality gains. Multi-purpose measuring instruments have replaced the need for multiple set-up’s, and workflow solutions have brought insights into manufacturing processes and quality that were previously unseen.

ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions has been and still is at the forefront of the inspection and dimensional metrology transformation and plan to keep it this way moving forward. We continue to make significant investments, at least 10 percent of our revenue, into R&D annually in order to continue to deliver market-shaping innovations.

3) With increasing digitalisation of the manufacturing sector, what are the main challenges faced by the metrology industry?

Firstly, the sudden shift can be overwhelming and we’ve seen countless processes being digitalised for the sake of it—with huge amounts of digital data being collected, but not put to good use. Determining where, when and how frequently digital data needs to be collected as well as how it will be put to valuable use is crucial but it remains a great challenge for many since skill shortages in the field of digitalisation exists. There is also data and platform incompatibility, or rather standardisation hurdles to overcome as suppliers mostly develop their own Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms. Lastly, data handling and security still deters many companies from taking that leap.

4) How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

Relevant education and continued learning will go a long way towards addressing hesitation and will help ensure digitalisation efforts pay off. I see the need for industry and universities or technical schools to work hand in hand. That will stimulate the need for faster adoption. Alliances between machine manufacturers can address platform and standardisation issues to unlock IIoT benefits. Such an example can be seen in the recently founded ADAMOS alliance, of which ZEISS is a founding member of.

5) Moving forward, where do you think the industry is headed in the next five to 10 years?

With the pace of today’s change, it would be difficult to even predict this with some degree of certainty. I think the value-add from productivity and quality gains through digitalisation and new manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing is going to be tremendous that consolidation is going to happen on a much broader scale. I see low volume, high mix through flexible manufacturing becoming a norm and thus bringing manufacturing closer to the end user, further reducing non-value-added costs. This will call for a very different approach to metrology.

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Interview With Asif Chowdhury, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Business Development At UTAC

Interview With Asif Chowdhury, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Business Development At UTAC

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Asif Chowdhury, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Corporate Business Development at UTAC regarding UTAC’s achievements for 2018, the company’s aims for 2019, and the trends that will shape the industry in the following year.

  1. Can you sum up your company’s focus and achievements in 2018?

2018 has been a very good year for UTAC, especially with respect to winning some key strategic customer engagements which will likely drive revenue for years to come.

For example, UTAC has achieved a very key business win with a major fabless company involving WLCSP requiring leading-edge wafer process technology, which we are now in the process of developing and qualifying.

Furthermore, we have had major lead frame business off-load from one of the top Integrated Device Manufacturer (IDM)’s internal facility which was won this year. These are just some examples of the many key engagements that we have with IDMs and Fabless Semi companies.

Our automotive as well as industrial business continues to grow and we are in line with increasing our revenue for both of these market segments this year.

In 2018, we are also very proud of our significant market share gain in power packaging, which utilises Cu-Clip technology in our Thailand factory. The demand for these power devices have been growing due to the growth in cloud computing servers and also in the automotive space. We have also made very good progress in increasing our high-end MEMS packaging business with top major MEMS players in Europe. MEMS products continue to grow, driven by the growth in IoT, automotive and mobile applications.

We have also enjoyed the highest number of RFQs, (or Requests for Quotes for new business) in 2018 which is essentially a testament of potential pipeline business. We had a record number of automotive RFQ wins in the second quarter of 2018.

We are very pleased with our higher level of engagement with customers and growth in our focus areas in 2018 and beyond.

  1. What business trends in Asia capture your interest for growth next year?

The semiconductor sector is a very global business even though many of the activities, especially manufacturing, are focused here in Asia. With the waves of consolidations in recent years, one trend that UTAC follows in Asia is the consolidation of IDM factories located here.

The streamlining of manufacturing activities by IDM factories provides opportunities for OSATs to gain market share. In fact, UTAC’s last acquisition was three Panasonic assembly and test facilities in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. We will continue to follow and keep our eye on such trends, particularly in Asia.

Beyond that, we are also following the trade issues between the United States and China closely. With eight assembly and test manufacturing locations in Asia but outside China, we will be focused on taking advantage of or perhaps even help facilitate our customers who are looking to decrease their footprint for assembly and test in China if the tariffs continue.

  1. What do you think is the key industry trend to watch out for 2019?

As we exit in 2018, there are some concerns about how the semiconductor market will perform in 2019 and also perhaps in 2020. The industry has been enjoying consecutive growth for the past few years with double-digit growth in 2017 and also 2018. However, there is a sense of overall pessimism – which is apparent from the negative performance of many of the semiconductor companies’ stocks during the last month.

The memory market is cooling especially from a pricing standpoint both for DRAM and Flash. Additionally, even though the inventory level for IDMs and fabless companies have steadily come down, it is still on the high side. While the Q4 numbers are not out yet, we expect that the average inventory days will still be well over 100 days.

From the semiconductor market performance and overall market chatter, it seems like we might be going into a market slowdown in 2019 – the question is how significant this will be. Our industry is cyclic, however, the amplitude of these cycles has come down significantly since 2014. We are optimistic that even if 2019 turns out to be a down market, it will be a low single digit. We will be watching our customers’ forecasts and overall market demand very closely as we go into 2019.

  1. What potential and opportunities do you see in the semiconductor industry next year?

Despite the possible market slowdown, there will be pockets of opportunities in 2019 and beyond. Analog products continue to show the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR), in the high single-digit through 2022 driven by demand for semiconductor products in the Automotive, Industrial, IoT market and Power products.

UTAC is well-positioned in all these segments with both packaging and test solutions. Automotive semiconductor products are estimated to grow by over 10% CAGR through 2022, especially with the potential of the proliferation of both electric and autonomous vehicles. Despite the current slowdown, we expect automotive semiconductor demand to continue to be relatively strong.

From a technology perspective, we will be keeping a close eye on the deployment of both 5G infrastructure and handsets towards the end of 2019. UTAC has been investing in the development of packaging and test technologies which are key for the 5G wave.

The server market will also continue to grow in 2019, fuelled by continuous demand in cloud computing. Our Cu-Clip power package solutions are well suited for this as well as automotive power application.

Finally, we are also keeping an eye on wafer technology such as silicon carbide (SiC) which could be a potential growth engine for the semiconductor industry.

 

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Insights From Omron: Trends In The Singapore Manufacturing Industry

Insights From Omron: Trends In The Singapore Manufacturing Industry

Through this article, Mr. Lieu Yew Fatt, Managing Director of Omron Electronics Singapore and Mr. Swaminathan Vangal-Ramamurthy, General Manager of Robotics Business Division, Omron Asia Pacific examine the future of manufacturing in Singapore and the relationship between local and global trends.

Manufacturing has been a key pillar of the economy in Singapore ever since we progressed to an innovation-intensive economy from a labour-intensive one in the early days of nation building. Now, manufacturing contributes close to 20 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) and keeps more than 500,000 people employed.

Moving forward, the manufacturing sector here will face increasing external pressures in the coming years. In Southeast Asia, we have Thailand, which ranked well for high quality and low cost in a McKinsey analysis on which ASEAN country is most attractive for manufacturing investments. Singapore, not surprisingly, ranked high in high quality but performed badly in low cost.

Meanwhile, the rise of China as a manufacturing powerhouse in Asia has also brought a different level of competition to the landscape. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been flowing in to China and this adds competitive pressure to the manufacturers in this region, especially since there are some significant overlaps in manufacturing capabilities between the manufacturers in China and here.

The Shift Towards Innovation And Research

Singapore’s manufacturing sector naturally leans towards advanced manufacturing in view of our knowledge-based economy. Manufacturers here are generally more open to leveraging innovation and technology to improve products and/or processes.

In 2016, the Singapore Government introduced the Research Innovation Enterprise 2020 (RIE2020), a plan that charts the course for harvesting an innovative and competitive economy as we progress towards 2020. As part of this plan, advanced manufacturing was identified as a key pillar among others to drive this forward. RIE2020 also identified four cross-cutting technology areas as essential enablers, which will undergird and support the verticals. These are: Robotics and Automation, Digital Manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials.

Additionally, the Government has also committed SGD$19 billion, the biggest allocation since 1995, as investment into innovation, research and driving enterprise growth under the RIE2020 Plan for 2016 to 2020.

Keeping Up With Technology Trends

Government support provides a much-needed boost for manufacturers here. However, manufacturing businesses must ensure that they are maximising cost efficiency and productivity in their operations to remain competitive. The good news is that technology can offer tremendous value in these areas.

There are two major trends to watch in advanced manufacturing:

1.Artificial Intelligence And Machine Controllers

Manufacturers can expect artificial intelligence (AI) to play an increasingly prominent role in manufacturing as factory floors become smarter and more collaborative robots (or ‘cobots’) work alongside humans to enhance productivity.

At OMRON, we recently took an innovative-automation approach. By this, we mean an integrating high-precision, high-speed manufacturing with more intelligent controls and data analysis and combining that with a more interactive and collaborative relationship between robots and people on the manufacturing floor.

For instance, we merged AI, machine learning and facial recognition technologies to develop Omron vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) technology. This is used in automobile manufacturing to create products that keep drivers safe. VOR technology uses a camera to capture and sense a driver’s eye movements to spot for early-stage drowsiness and determine his/her suitability for driving. This technology can also be applied to the factory floor to keep workers safe as well, such as when they are operating heavy machinery.

Separately, we have added learning capabilities to machine automation controllers by equipping them with machine learning AI algorithm. This allows the controllers to achieve real time integration between programmable logic controller and AI processing functions. The result is that these controllers can manage equipment changes on the factory floor in microseconds as they send collected data to the host IT system while maintaining control performance.

Additionally, these controllers can effectively keep track of equipment and production status when equipped with sensors set to monitor machines and production lines. They can look out for irregularities or unusual activities and built-in AIs can take action to fix issues or activate safety procedures depending on what they are programmed to learn.

2.Industrial Internet Of Things

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in manufacturing is currently already a primary trend affecting businesses in the industry. It transformed manufacturing in many parts of the world due to its ability to enable the gathering and analysis of data and then applying it in new and novel ways.

However, IIoT goes beyond machines to machine connectivity. It is also a movement that is uniting the people and systems on the factory floor with enterprise-level decision makers. The rise of IIoT platforms have also empowered employees as they now have better access to information. With improved collaboration a focus of these platforms, teams can now work across factory floors, or even remotely across wider geographies.

The mindset is also shifting towards that of consumers connected to the industry through customer interactions and social networks, and informed businesses are constantly adjusting their output and production based on consumer demand.

We readily see this in the automobile industry where manufacturers offer many customisable or optional choices. Now, car buyers are often spoilt for choice on things like exterior and interior colors, seat material and design, in-car stereo and GPS systems, sun roofs and so on. Manufacturers are embracing this connected customers and market-driven environment. To remain competitive, manufacturers have to be connected and nimble and the only way they can be successful is to leverage the power of data and newer technologies like IIoT.

Future-Ready Manufacturing

It will no doubt remain important for manufacturers here to continue to strive for the age-old goals of increasing speed to market, reducing overall costs and maintaining quality control. Nonetheless, they cannot ignore the fact that digitalisation and disruptive technologies are transforming the whole manufacturing landscape, and it is crucial that they take steps to modernise their operations and prepare for the business environment and the market of the future.

Advanced manufacturing methodologies that used to be mere concepts just a few years ago are now finding practical implementations. It is timely for manufacturers here to explore their actual feasibility and practicality as they modernise their own operations. They may also want to better incorporate automation, data analytics, IIoT, robotics and increased technology adoption into their business strategies and operational planning considerations.

To be future-ready, manufacturers will need to plan toward realising a more transparent supply chain that enhances product traceability by taking steps now to adopt newer and more intelligent production methods and processes.

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Interview With Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd

Interview With Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News is pleased to conduct an interview with Mr. Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud And Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd on his views on the future of manufacturing technologies in Asia and its impact on supply chains.

1.Could you provide us with an overview of the latest technologies shaping manufacturing in Asia?

We see an increase in manufacturers collecting vast troves of data and analysing them to reveal important insights for better decision-making. Data is driving a massive transformation in the manufacturing industry, with many companies already incorporating technologies such as field sensors and edge computing. Field sensors, for example, collect and communicate information (temperature, pressure etc.) to manufacturers, while edge computing helps manufacturers convert data sets generated by machines into insightful and actionable items. Manufacturers have realized the importance of tapping on Business Intelligence (BI) technologies to transform raw data from multiple sources into valuable information.

 2. What do you think are the main challenges when it comes to the manufacturing processes in Asia?

While more and more manufacturers are collecting data from sensors and leveraging edge computing, many still lack the resources to use the data intelligently. The challenge is to invest in systems and resources that enable the most efficient collection and use of data. Moving data to the cloud is an effective way to improve the automation of decisions and optimise industrial output.

That said, many manufacturers still view information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) as separate departments when they are two sides of the same coin. Early IT systems were under the purview of the CIO and included desktops, laptops and connectivity for propriety data. On the other hand, OT consisted of turnkey systems such as machines on the factory floor and transportation vehicles, which had very little involvement from IT.

Today, OT refers to the control and automation supporting operations. A simple example is connected manufacturing equipment retrofitted with industrial IoT sensors. With the more pervasive use of IT technologies at an operational level, the boundaries between the successful use of IT and OT have begun to blur. For manufacturers to succeed in the digital era, they need to close the IT/OT gap or risk decline.

3. How do you think these challenges can be overcome?

If manufacturers possess the right technological infrastructure and guidance, they will be able to leapfrog ahead of their competition in terms of efficiency and productivity.

We recently launched the Smart Factory Package in Singapore, powered by AVEVA’s Wonderware and NTT Com cloud computing platform ‘Enterprise Cloud’, which offers a highly-effective and cost-efficient approach for manufacturers to kick-start their digital journey to streamline and simplify operations.

The Smart Factory Package takes advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and combines pervasive network sensors, a scalable cloud platform and advanced analytics capabilities to unlock the value of industrial data. Manufacturers can then leverage the industrial data for better decision-making, resulting in greater intelligence, efficiency and opportunity.

4. With the digitalisation of manufacturing, how will supply chains evolve to keep up?

The supply chain will no longer be linear in nature, from producers to consumers.

To keep pace, supply chains now need to integrate leading-edge technologies to combine cross-functional data from different sources, implement control and automation and forecast demand and performance with advanced data analytics. For example, a retailer might be better able to assess inventory performance by digitising their stock. This allows planning to be more precise and managers can also anticipate problems before they happen and act on them.

5. In your opinion, what are the trends that will shape the industry for the next 5 to 10 years?

Digital transformation will eventually affect every industry. For the manufacturing industry, we will see the convergence of IT and OT. Digitalisation will become ubiquitous and companies who fail to keep up will decline.

Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and IoT will play a major role in shaping manufacturing trends. Put together, the “smart factory” will feature systems capable of autonomously exchanging information and trigger a set of actions independently. This promises increased productivity, lowered costs and better customer satisfaction.

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NTT Com And AVEVA Launch Smart Factory Package To Spur Digital Transformation In Southeast Asia

NTT Com And AVEVA Launch Smart Factory Package To Spur Digital Transformation In Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE: NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) and AVEVA announced the launch of the Smart Factory Package in Singapore on 16 Oct 2018. The solution which is powered by AVEVA’s leading industrial software, Wonderware and the NTT Com cloud computing platform ‘Enterprise Cloud’, offers an effective, data driven and cost-efficient approach for manufacturers of all sizes to embark on their digital transformation journeys and aids in streamlining and simplifying operations.

The manufacturing sector in Southeast Asia and globally is undergoing a period of disruption, with industry players looking to exploit advanced technologies to improve productivity and transform business processes. McKinsey recently reported that 96 percent of manufacturing companies in Southeast Asia believe digital transformation will create new business models, yet only 13 percent have begun their transformation journeys. Common obstacles that prevent adoption include a lack of information, internal integration and talent.

By combining the cloud platforms offered by NTT Com and AVEVA, the Smart Factory Package addresses these challenges by allowing Southeast Asian manufacturers to seamlessly kickstart their digital journeys in a cost-effective and scalable manner. The Smart Factory Package takes advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and combines pervasive network sensors, a scalable cloud platform and advanced analytics capabilities to unlock the value of industrial data. Manufacturers can then leverage the industrial data for business intelligence or decision support, resulting in greater intelligence, efficiency and opportunity.

“The Internet of Things is a major force driving digital business strategies on a global scale. Manufacturers in Southeast Asia cannot risk failing to capture the plethora of opportunities made possible by this technology. The Smart Factory Package is a ready-to-go solution that allows manufacturers to start small and scale up as quickly as needed to help successfully navigate their digital transformation journeys. Partnering with AVEVA marks our continued commitment to meet growing customer demands for disruptive digital solutions, further strengthening our presence in the smart manufacturing market,” said Kiyoshi Matsumoto, Director Cloud and Managed Services, NTT Singapore Pte Ltd.

The launch of the Smart Factory Package is the next step by NTT Com to provide industry leading technology solutions for businesses of all sizes. Manufacturing customers, such as equipment manufacturers, have already reaped the benefits of the NTT Com Enterprise Cloud Computing platform through improved product reliability and reduced maintenance costs.

“The leading Cloud solution by NTT Com complements AVEVA’s asset and operations management software portfolio by offering manufacturers a robust suite of analytics, mobility and IIoT technologies, meeting the basic industry principles of simplicity, fast turnaround and cost control. The Smart Factory Package streamlines how manufacturers can monitor and control their current state of operations – either within a single plant or across the enterprise – with easily consumable and actionable intelligence. By removing information silos, it is possible to improve efficiency and profitability, while maximising return on capital across the manufacturing value chain,” said Doug Warren, Vice President of Strategic Partnership, AVEVA.

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What Makes Smart Factories “Smart”?

What Makes Smart Factories “Smart”?

The fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is sweeping across Asia Pacific with more manufacturers building smart factories. Nearly half of manufacturers in Asia Pacific will have fully connected factories by 2022, serving customers with shorter timelines and higher quality standards. This dynamic shift towards smarter factories has prompted companies to focus on technologies which deliver greater efficiencies and reduced operational costs. By Damien Dhellemmes, Country President, Singapore, Schneider Electric

Maximising Smart Factories

Damien Dhellemmes

Companies in the region are equipping themselves with solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, big data, and analytics to help drive operational excellence across the enterprise.

In the automotive industry, for example, solutions such as predictive analytics are being implemented to help companies reduce unscheduled downtime and maintenance costs. Predictive analytics can be used to forecast and diagnose problems several days or months before they occur, using advanced pattern recognition and machine learning.

Compared to older factories, maintenance in smart factories has now become a proactive strategy rather than a reactive process. Employees now increasingly play a greater role in the planning and decision-making process in the plant.

Working Smart

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) presents manufacturers with an opportunity to improve the connectivity of their plant facilities and empower workers to be “smarter”. Smart and connected devices can be used to link existing manufacturing solutions to drive improvements at a unit level. Internal quality checks for plant equipment can also be made by employees in real-time. This means employees can operate remotely with better visibility of plant operations without having to be on-site.

Companies can enable advanced workflow software allowing employees to focus their energy on their work, creating new opportunities for the business rather than spending time on repeated tasks. Automated workflows mean that employees can manage their work with little to no oversight. By streamlining processes and workflows, companies can manage their routine processes consistently and efficiently with no human error.

Leveraging Data

Smart workers for smart factories | Image Source: Schneider Electric

One way to maximise efficiency and improving collaboration amongst employees is with mobile workforce management solutions. Such solutions collect data from stranded assets that are not digitally integrated to the plant. This means that best practices can be adopted across the plant by standardising, documenting and enforcing maintenance inspections and procedures. This results in increased accuracy of executed tasks and asset performance optimisation.

With mobile access capabilities in the plant, employees involved in key decision-making process can be granted access to relevant data when needed. Providing access to data empowers them to be more active participants, making more informed decisions during the work process. The overall productivity and efficiency of the workplace is improved using actionable insights derived from the data using mobile access.

Drive Digital Transformation To Stay Ahead Of The Game

With actionable insights, employees are empowered to make better decisions in the workplace

We ourselves strongly believe in the value of smart factories. We ensure that our own factories (more than 170 worldwide) integrate latest technologies to become pilots for new industry 4.0 solutions. For instance, our factories in Batam have become a test bay for machine learning, AI, predictive and digital maintenance, connected machines and processes. This has allowed us to increase the performance of our operations, while strengthening the link between our research and development teams and operations.

The integration of big data, cloud and IoT capabilities will pave the way for companies to work towards their smart factory vision, becoming more energy efficient and sustainable in the long term. It is key to align mid to long term strategic goals with the digital transformation infrastructure of the business before embarking on the digitalisation journey. Companies need a digital strategy in place to carefully assess the organisation’s needs, before analysing whether digital solutions are able to deliver operational excellence across the value chain.

At the same time, smart factories need smart workers. Companies need to go beyond digitising their plant operations and invest in their talent to drive digital transformation of the business. When employees are upskilled, companies can fully leverage the benefits of their smart factories.

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