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A*STAR And Arcstone Open S$18M Joint Lab To Accelerate Digital Manufacturing In Singapore

A*STAR And Arcstone open S$18M Joint Lab To Accelerate Digital Manufacturing In Singapore

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and local manufacturing software company Arcstone opened a joint laboratory at A*STAR’s Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) to develop smart manufacturing solutions to help businesses speed up digital transformation to make operations more efficient, effective, and sustainable. Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Gan Kim Yong graced the joint lab’s opening.

This era of Industry 4.0 allows for real-time extraction and monitoring of operational data, as well as the ability to control machines digitally and remotely. Today’s manufacturing execution systems (MES) face limits, however, such as in the optimisation of production processes. Against this backdrop, A*STAR and Arcstone will collaborate to give today’s MES added intelligence – or “adding a brain to the body”, as Arcstone says.

With a total investment of S$18 million over three years, the A*STAR-Arcstone joint lab will transform Arcstone’s existing solutions into a next-generation MES suite. The MES will incorporate technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to help manufacturers make better decisions – through visualisation, control, optimisation, and sustainability. For example, the MES will not only provide information about what is happening in a production process in real time but also recommend ways to improve that process, such as by optimising production scheduling.

Manufacturers, including local SMEs, will be able to tap on these smart manufacturing solutions to increase manufacturing transparency and improve production scheduling across the supply chain, paving the way for more competitive and robust supply chains. The solutions will also help manufacturers go green by enabling them to optimise energy usage. The joint lab will place special emphasis on the user-interface for the MES, making it easy to configure and use, especially for first-timers. The joint lab will work on projects in the following areas:

  1. Improve production through real-time visibility
  2. Control production using IIoT technologies
  3. Optimise production using simulation and artificial intelligence
  4. Make production greener through data and optimisation

Collaborating with A*STAR will help Arcstone halve the time needed for its own R&D to achieve its goals. The joint lab aims to create about 30 engineering jobs over the next three years.

Professor Alfred Huan, Assistant Chief Executive, Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR, said, “The challenging economic environment sends a reminder to many companies of the constant need for innovation to stay competitive. At A*STAR, we collaborate with companies such as Arcstone to help them build new capabilities to move up the value chain. Such public-private partnerships continue to play an important role in encouraging businesses to adopt technologies to differentiate themselves from the competition. This collaboration with Arcstone is also an example of how local SMEs can deploy their new solutions to help other local SMEs speed up digital transformation in their factories, driving increased digitalisation across the board.”

Mr Willson Deng, Chief Executive Officer, Arcstone, said, “Our goal with the joint lab is to rapidly produce cutting-edge technology to give SMEs and global manufacturers a leg up in efficiency, productivity, and most importantly, long-term sustainability and environmental competitiveness. We are confident about achieving this goal, for we have in ARTC a trusted R&D partner that will bring us results – we know this from years of collaboration with ARTC’s scientists and engineers.”

 

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Frost & Sullivan: Welding Vendors Focusing On New Technologies And Energy Efficiency

Frost & Sullivan: Welding Vendors Focusing On New Technologies And Energy Efficiency

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Newer Welding Techniques to Enable Growth in the Digital Age, reports that increasing competition in the global welding equipment and consumables market has led manufacturers to focus on energy efficiency, operational excellence and reducing maintenance costs. Amid the uncertain economic conditions caused by COVID-19, the industry is forecast to reach $21.74 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 1.3 percent. Growth is driven by opportunities from developing regions where infrastructure building, the introduction of new welding technologies, and automation are top priorities.

“Several new developments in welding technologies and materials are emerging due to an increased focus on energy efficiency from vendors and end-users. Advancements such as the ability to monitor and regulate the weld temperature while in the process are generating highly efficient outputs and better quality. These innovations will reduce operational tasks, improve energy management and extend electrode life,” said Krishnan Ramanathan, Industry Manager, Industrial Technologies Practice, Frost & Sullivan.

Digital transformation is gaining traction in Australia and Singapore as their communications infrastructure is upgraded. This digitalisation is expected to propel the welding market as other countries modernise. China, India, and Brazil are also vital for welding equipment and consumables suppliers as they have high energy and infrastructure requirements. However, the development rate is likely to be gradual as economies recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“IIoT is a major trend affecting equipment manufacturers as end-users continue to emphasise on improving their plant maintenance and curb operational expenditure (OPEX),” Ramanathan said. “With the global economy currently experiencing a dynamic environment, manufacturers are striving to improve operational efficiency in their existing plants and are keen to cut down the maintenance and operational costs due to unexpected failure and asset downtime. Realising that the future of manufacturing is likely to be driven by IIoT, companies today are turning their focus toward data ownership, security, and integration with existing infrastructure, with an intent to achieve returns on their investment in these solutions.”

Welding equipment manufacturers should explore these strategic recommendations to increase growth opportunities:

  • Collaborate with technology providers to enhance capabilities and meet varying end-user requirements. Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies and consumables will result in higher-quality welds and cost-savings for end users.
  • Expand the business approach by offering the option to rent welding equipment to reduce capital expenditure.
  • Continue working with traditional channel partners due to their wide reach while exploring alternative distribution and servicing options.
  • Focus on the Middle East, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia regions as these will witness a surge in demand due to increased urbanisation.

 

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ZEISS Partners Microsoft To Accelerate Cloud Solutions For Efficient Manufacturing

ZEISS Partners Microsoft To Accelerate Cloud Solutions For Efficient Manufacturing

ZEISS Group and Microsoft Corp. has announced a multi-year strategic partnership to accelerate ZEISS’ transformation into a digital services provider that is embracing a cloud-first approach. By standardising its equipment and processes on Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform, ZEISS will be able to provide its customers with enhanced digital experiences, address changing market needs more quickly and increase its productivity.

Leveraging Azure high-performance compute, AI, and IoT services, ZEISS will work with Microsoft to provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with new quality management solutions, enable microchip manufacturers to build more powerful, energy-efficient microchips and deliver new digital healthcare solutions for improved clinical workflows, enhanced treatments, and device maintenance. Furthermore, ZEISS will create a seamless experience for its customers through one digital platform and manage all digital ZEISS products through one cloud-native platform to enhance continuous and agile product development.

Connected quality platform drives industrial efficiency

Initially, ZEISS will enable its solutions in the Industrial Quality & Research segment to be run on a connected quality platform built on Azure, allowing direct integration into the customer’s production process. The platform will help gain business insights and foster collaboration across domains, assets and processes that have traditionally been managed in siloed, proprietary systems.

ZEISS provides metrology and quality assurance solutions delivering meaningful information on parts dimensions, component behavior and defect detection. Real-time and large-scale analysis of data that is collected at all stages of the manufacturing process is key to efficient and effective quality assurance, tightly integrated with today’s and tomorrow’s IoT-enabled production processes.

Quality is also a key objective of a new ZEISS audit trail solution, initially focused on highly regulated manufacturing industries, such as medical technology which is particularly sensitive to quality assurance. The solution will allow customers to identify root causes and react quickly on quality issues to reduce down-time and keep productivity up. The software will allow customers to track, trace, visualize and analyze process and product data with the help of Azure AI services to identify failure root causes more quickly.

Data-driven healthcare solutions improve patient care

ZEISS Medical Technology provides comprehensive solutions for ophthalmic professionals and microsurgeons, consisting of devices, implants, consumables and services. Through the partnership, ZEISS will connect its medical technology to Microsoft’s cloud and leverage Azure AI and IoT technologies for new digital services such as improved clinical workflows, enhanced treatments, and device maintenance in a secure environment that enables compliance with regulatory requirements in the health industry. These solutions will help improve the quality of life of patients and drive progress, efficiency and access to healthcare.

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Digital Transformation In A Time Of Crisis

Digital Transformation in a Time of Crisis

As COVID-19 strikes, all companies in various sectors are facing a huge challenge of sustaining their businesses. People are being forced to make hard decision on whether to close their doors or digitally innovate even further. Article by Makino.

COVID-19 has paved the way for digital transformation as businesses shift operations to cope with office closures, restricted movement and supply interruption.

Digital transformation has always made sense but adoption has been slowed as people deal with some of the overwhelming concepts around Industry 4.0, the sheer size of the task, and struggle to figure out where the value is coming from and where they can find the “digital dividend”. 

Now, the needs are compelling and urgent and those that fail to transform will likely be left behind and risk becoming irrelevant and uncompetitive.

Transformation in Manufacturing Industry

To create an ecosystem that is digitally enabled, one must have the ability to model a disruption in real-time, the agility to respond to that disruption, and the resilience to cope with whatever the world has to throw at it. 

This is demanded not only by the manufacturers, but also by their customers, inventors, creditors, and insurers. As a result, an extensive digitisation of the shop floor, including its integration with all the other systems, is becoming essential rather than nice to have. It provides the necessary first layer of high-quality data, upon which another layer of insight generation, decision support, and control of production processes—all in real time—must be superimposed. Such systems must become an order of magnitude better than what exists today.

Digital Transformation with Makino

Makino has been actively moving towards the trend of digitalisation. Its facility is designed to meet the growing demand for high-quality products and sophisticated precision engineering capabilities by adopting Industry 4.0 and the principles of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Despite transforming the facility into a Smart Factory, Makino also acts as a partner which helps their customers to drive them and motivates them towards transformation.

Retool Your Business Processes to Compete in the Global Die/Mould Market

Common practice and misconceptions can lead mould, tool and die owners to conclude that automation offers few benefits to their businesses due to the demands for tight tolerances and one-off or small runs of complex 3D shapes. In today’s competitive global marketplace, with pressures to improve quality and pricing without increasing investment in machines or labour, the time is right to consider taking a production approach.

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Frost & Sullivan Reveals 9 Emerging Trends Reshaping Industries Post COVID-19

Frost & Sullivan Reveals 9 Emerging Trends Reshaping Industries Post COVID-19

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, The Reshaping of Industries Caused by COVID-19, encompasses nine key trends that will emerge from industries reshaping as a response to COVID-19. With the pandemic’s negative impact on the global economy, immediate action is critical. Technology leaders must assess the emerging opportunities resulting from COVID-19 and provide technological innovations to build company, society, and consumer resilience.

“From transformative MegaTrends to geopolitical chaos, there are several factors making it increasingly difficult to grow,” said Murali Krishnan, Visionary Innovation Group Senior Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “In the near term, companies should focus on diversifying supply chains and leveraging new opportunities arising from changing customer demands. In the long term, it is important to internally adapt to new technologies that support workplace and operational continuity to have a smoother transformation during recovery.”

Chaitanya Habib, Visionary Innovation Group Research Analystadded: “The shift in focus on cost optimisation and on avoiding further production losses post-COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of automation and industrial robots across various industries. As a result, the global industrial robotics market is expected to grow from $44.6 billion in 2020 to $73 billion in the next five years, with increasing FDA approval and patent activity.”

The nine key trends across industries that will emerge as a result of COVID-19 are:

  1. Connected Living:The increased adoption of contactless surfaces post-pandemic will power the home automation and security markets. Systems encompassing voice activation technology will become increasingly popular among consumers.
  2. Connected Work: Reformed connected work scenarios will accentuate the need for “cloud everything.” New subscription-based models will witness a growing demand for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).
  3. Digital Health: Digital health driven by telemedicine and robotic care will become the new standard of care delivery. Standardisation of service across the care continuum will require more service and technology providers.
  4. Geopolitical Balance: Countries should work together to keep trade flowing and ensure the supply of essential products, sending a signal of confidence to the global economy.
  5. Human Augmentation: The behavioral analytics market is expected to reach $3 billion in revenue in 2030, up from $230 million in 2019. Post-COVID-19, behavioral data will be used to enhance healthcare systems, financial services, and cybersecurity.
  6. Lights-out Operations: Autonomous “lights-out” operations will propel the demand for remote asset management solutions, and service providers will focus on data management strategies and data-driven business models.
  7. Smart Cities: Smart cities will create significant business opportunities with a market value of $2.46 trillion by 2025. Smart cities will prioritise more digitalised services and a strong data analytics infrastructure, leading to increased spending on technology.
  8. Supply Chain Optimisation: The supply chain industry is creating radical innovations with augmented reality, virtual reality, advanced robotics, real-time inventory tracking, and exploring how 3D printing could completely disrupt the supply chain in the next 10 years.
  9. Technology Advancements: Pandemic preparedness will speed up the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and accelerate AI innovation. Beyond specific disease management, post-pandemic economies also will rely on AI and machine learning (ML) tools to expedite digital transformation across key business initiatives.

For other exclusive articles, visit www.equipment-news.com.

 

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Continuing The Automation Legacy

Continuing the Automation Legacy

John Young, APAC director EU Automation, discusses the benefits of bringing legacy control systems into the fourth industrial revolution.

The cyclopic is an electric, foldable bike that’s set to be the most compact on the market. The invention takes inspiration from the Penny Farthing. Its handles are fixed upon the larger front wheel, and the back wheel folds inwards so the bike can fit into a portable bag that rolls along. The cyclopic is designed to offer users with a space-saving, lightweight solution to city travel. 

While manufacturers don’t use equipment that has been around as long as the original penny farthing, most facilities do still rely on older equipment in their production lines. As the first generation of factory automation comes to an end, the future of many control systems may seem bleak. In fact, a 2019 survey carried out by Dell Technologies found that 91 per cent of midsize and larger organisations face major hurdles to digital transformation. The notion that these organisations should scrap all their legacy systems in favour of new infrastructure is impractical. Instead, manufacturers should consider how their existing equipment can connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Out with the Old?

“The programmable controller’s time was right. It invented itself because there was a need for it, and other people had that same need.” Those are the words of Dick Morley, the father of the programmable logic controller (PLC) as he reflected on his invention, 40 years later. When the PLC was invented in the late 1960s, it was built to give manufacturers better insight into their plant’s processes. This need hasn’t changed very much in subsequent years. Real-time machine control is still a necessity, but the adoption of new technologies means that older PLCs may be lagging behind.

So, are these legacy systems destined for the scrap heap? Not necessarily, they just need to be able to monitor more processes. If we consider the monitoring needs of a variety of industries, it is clear that each one has its own set of requirements. A water utility may be required to monitor the health of its phonelines to make sure they’re working in case of an emergency; while a packaging facility that uses injection moulding may need to retrieve data on the speed of its machines. 

While control systems such as the PLC won’t be made redundant any time soon, their functions and capabilities will need to extend in order to manage these increased data requirements. 

Smarten Up

Manufacturers may need some support to take their control systems into the future. Modern PLCs often come with an Ethernet interface, which older or less expensive systems do not have. Instead, many legacy systems adopt a sometimes-bewildering range of serial communications and proprietary protocols that lack the interoperability most manufacturers require. 

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ITAP 2020: Forging Ahead With Industry 4.0 In The New Normal

ITAP 2020: Forging Ahead With Industry 4.0 In The New Normal

Helping manufacturers build a position of strength to operate in a COVID-safe world remains mission critical for this year’s Industrial Transformation ASIA-PACIFIC – A HANNOVER MESSE EVENT (ITAP) from 20 to 22 October.

The event, in its 3rd edition, comes at a time when business transformation is pivotal to survival, scalability and sustainability. The COVID-19 situation has brought tremendous disruption to all industries and economies, forcing manufacturers and businesses to rethink their business strategies, relook business operations, recalibrate their resources and reskill their workforce. There has never been a more urgent need for a deeper understanding and adoption of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) solutions to emerge stronger in a post COVID-19 world.

Going digital-first for expanded outreach and growth opportunities

Amidst global travel and border restrictions, ITAP 2020 is poised to stage a first hybrid edition yet as it goes virtual with a custom-built interactive platform and physical bolt-on activities to optimise engagement and knowledge transfer opportunities beyond physical event barriers of time, language and geography. With ‘Forging Ahead with Industry 4.0 In the New Normal’ as the driving theme, ITAP 2020 devises innovative ways in the virtual space for stakeholders to continue to explore I4.0 solutions to aid and complement business operations.

“Business survivability and transformation are the two biggest challenges our customers in the manufacturing industry are now facing. More than just about increasing productivity, it is about finding new opportunities to urgently accelerate and support their agility and responsiveness,” said Mr Aloysius Arlando, CEO SingEx Holdings Pte Ltd, who co-organises ITAP. “In these trying times, establishing a hybrid platform will allow the community to easily collaborate on feasible solutions, optimise engagement and knowledge transfer, and find new growth opportunities.”

Heeding the call for bite-sized learning

This will not be the ITAP community’s first experience with virtual engagement sessions this year. Since May, SingEx Exhibitions has held regular virtual sessions under the ITAP Connect series, comprising interactive web engagement sessions to enable the community to continue interacting despite not being able to meet in person, as well as share case studies and learnings across borders with solution providers, domain experts and one another.

The sessions will also continue in the lead up to the main engagement from 20 to 22 October, when all learning and networking engagements will then be hosted on a dedicated virtual interactive platform. Registered participants will gain access to round-the-clock content on this platform with personalised recommendations of solutions and products, targeted networking and lead generation opportunities. The platform will also provide companies with a one-stop portal to showcase their solutions and conduct demonstrations for their products and services fashioned in the spirit of ITAP’s signature Learning Journey Approach and thematic zones – Gateway to I4.0, Robotics Experimental Experience Zone, the Collaboration Lab, as well as the Digital Sandbox. These will be complemented by physical bolt-on activities at specific locations with safety measures put in place to provide first-hand access to latest innovations, as well as maximize showcasing and networking opportunities for industry stakeholders in Singapore.

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