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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.

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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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The Future Of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech On The Horizon

The Future of Manufacturing: Impactful Tech on the Horizon

The future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity—it is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Article by Rahav Madvil, Simulation Product Manager for Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Noam Ribon, Senior Business Consultant at Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Industrial manufacturing as a sector has been an early adopter of robotics and other forms of technological improvements for decades. Robotics have been one of the best options to increase production efficiency for large and often highly repetitive manufacturing processes. But the era of producing large quantities of just a few products with low mix is coming to an end, giving way to increased product personalisation requiring a more flexible production process with less waste than ever before.

Fortunately, the future of manufacturing is brimming with opportunity. It is full of new technologies designed to reduce waste and maximise process efficiency and flexibility through software and hardware capabilities. Almost all of this promise is built upon a foundation of digital transformation – and the digital twin. Everything from raw material tracking to process optimisations to hardware selection stem from insights gained from the digital twin and a closed-loop optimisation of entire facilities.

The most difficult aspect of any change to operation are the inevitable changes to process—they are expensive twice over, because nothing is being produced and resources are still being consumed. An autonomous transport initiative squarely addresses this, relying on a few, key technologies to make it happen.

The Power of Virtual Commissioning

Creating a comprehensive digital twin of your production process can greatly reduce downtime for new machines, new processes and new products.  Let’s say you need to install a new CNC station. What if the processes for this new machine could be validated before it ever arrived on the production floor by using the digital twin of the production line? Less time could be spent integrating the new component into the overall production lines through line integration as a part of virtual commissioning.  Available today, virtual commissioning is the critical underpinning to an efficient production environment enabling a closed-loop iterative optimisation of the entire facility.

Virtual commissioning is vital, not only for testing software controls, but for adding insight to the efficiency of the controls strategy. It is also essential for embarking on the advanced robotics journey, laying the groundwork for implementing greater process automation and flexibility needed to efficiently implement tomorrow’s manufacturing technologies today.

Simulate Everything Upfront

One of the best options to minimise risk when updating an existing process or making a new one is to simulate the new operations. It nearly eliminates upfront investment in machinery before knowing whether the new process will operate as expected on the shop floor. For new digitalisation efforts, this is where a digital twin should be established for the process. Without a comprehensive study of the actions within a plant new equipment could be under-utilised leading to lost investment.

Just as important is the implementation of IoT devices, that serve to close the loop between the digital twin and the physical processes once the new processes have been initiated. Although these devices are often embedded in new production equipment, but it is important to consider how to best maximise the voluminous data they generate to gain crucial insight into the production process.

Next Generation Programming

Another route to maximising production time even when supporting a high product mix is to expedite the reprogramming of the robotics in use on the factory floor. Without integrated robotic control, updating a robotic arm for a new task can be incredibly time-consuming. It needs to be taken offline, reprogrammed, validated and restarted, for each robot that will handle the new processes.

In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

Siemens Digital Industries Software bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products.

All that changes by integrating the programmable logic controllers for these robots into the comprehensive digital twin. Much of this process can be streamlined. Does a bolt spacing on a phone need to be shifted slightly to accommodate the latest 5G wireless antenna? If the entire fleet of robots working on that production line could understand the change, that would save many hours across multiple engineering and production teams. Engineers simply need to let the robots know of the change and any differences in manufacturing tolerances can be accounted for with closed loop sensing through visual or force feedback. With force feedback within the robotic arm, any force exerted over a defined threshold can initiate a pause to the robotic arm’s actions and readjust positioning to address the perceived problem.  Instead of shutting them down for reprogramming, all the robots working on the project can adjust independently to subtle changes.

Although this might sound like some futuristic scenario, task-based programming has already been tested in the real world. In a partnership between AtriMinds and B/S/H/, Siemens Digital Industries Software helped bring flexibility to robotic arms by enabling automation for flexible products. Previously, one of the largest hurdles to automating assembly was how to work with flexible components. Traditional robotics rigidly follow predefined movements, so if something were to inadvertently shift, the whole assembly could be destroyed. But by implementing force sensing on the robotic arms, there is an almost intuitive understanding of the parts and how the robot is interacting with the workpiece at its station. If a hole is slightly out of place on a panel, the input from force sensors can help the robot redirect its movement and thread a screw through without complex, preprogrammed instructions for misalignment scenarios.

Optimising Production with Autonomous Robotics

Simulation, virtual commissioning and advanced robotics programming lay the foundation for a fully flexible production floor, but automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) weave it all together and bring it to life. Historically, conveyor belts acted as the material flow paths on a shop floor. They efficiently move product from point A to point B but require semi-static positioning. Even mobile conveyor systems, common in logistics work, take time to move and to ensure a safe path for product.

Heatmap from simulating AGV and AMR activity on a manufacturing floor.

In contrast, AGVs and AMRs can change their path during transit. This saves time that would have been spent readjusting existing features, this is critical for a flexible production environment. Imagine a production floor, making two distinct version of a product. For version one, the bolts need to be added before the secondary assembly is added, while in version two bolts cannot be added until after the sub-assembly has been mounted. In a static conveyor facility, this could be completed given enough conveyor length and a sorting mechanism. Beyond a couple variations to the production sequence the factory would fill up with conveyor loops that only transport a few products at a time, defeating one of the  main goals of the technology But with a fleet of AGVs or AMRs moving materials and work pieces throughout the facility, products can be rerouted and the sequence reordered to another machine. Or, in the case of highly customised consumer products, components could be routed to the best machine for the task. It can account for how much time is required to switch over to the new process, how many units can it produce compared to other machines, and even the impact of a re-route on other processes on the shop floor.

Reaping the Benefits of Tomorrow’s Robotics Today

Achieving all this requires a highly integrated production process. To guarantee a product is still made correctly during an automated process change, it needs to be simulated beforehand using a digital twin. To certify the product can be made in the new location, the production machine needs to be validated for the task using virtual commissioning. And to ensure the slightly different parts don’t produce errors in the process, the machines themselves need to be flexible to adapt to in real time to changing conditions with AGVs and AMRs.

Properly managing all these variables can have an incredibly positive effect on process performance, in fact it can produce up to a 40 percent improvement in labour productivity, according to a 2020 McKinsey study. Understanding the shop floor is an invaluable proposition and will continue to net savings and improvements through the life of the facility, even making it last longer by reducing maintenance overhead and costs with the improved condition monitoring of extensive IoT and the comprehensive digital twin.

Learn more of how Tecnomatix brings the tools of tomorrow’s factories to the factories of today with Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio with free trials for the Process Simulate and Plant Simulate tools.

 

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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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Schuler Appoints New Head Of Service

Schuler Appoints New Head Of Service

Torsten Petrick has been appointed as the new Head of Schuler Service as of July 1, 2020. Previously, he built up and managed the company’s global procurement. Graduating from the Technical University of Braunschweig and until 2008, Petrick worked in various management positions in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) division of MTU Aero Engines AG. Graduating from the Technical University of Braunschweig

“The service is available to customers around the world around the clock to ensure the productivity and safety of both Schuler systems and third-party products,” emphasises Petrick.

Digital solutions are now intended to further improve the flexibility and agility of the Schuler Service. With the camera-based “Visual Die Protection” or the “IIoT Connector” for presses in the era of Industry 4.0, Schuler offers several products for networking forming technology.

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Machine Tool Industry Propels Taiwan To Become World’s Second Largest Masks Manufacturer In Just 40 Days

Machine Tool Industry Propels Taiwan To Become World’s Second Largest Masks Manufacturer In Just 40 Days

The machine tool makers were instrumental in Taiwan’s race to supply the mounting demand for masks in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Article by TAITRA.

Machine Tool Industry Propels Taiwan to Become World’s Second Largest Masks Manufacturer In Just 40

With COVID-19 devastating world manufacturing now, most factories have either paused work or are slowly recovering. Contrary to most countries worldwide, Taiwan was able to maintain full staff levels in its offices. A part of this result can be attributed to the massive increase in mask production capacity, which now has made Taiwan rank the world’s second largest mask supplier. Such capacity expansion was at first estimated to take six months—much too slow compared to the speed at which COVID-19 spreads. But it ended up taking only 40 days to build up all the 92 sets of automated mask production lines with support from the machine tool industry.

From 2.24 Million to 13 Million Masks Daily

In late January, COVID-19 had begun to spread globally, and Taiwan was at the front line of the strike. Knowing little about the virus, the government decided to expand the country’s mask production capacity so that it would be capable of supplying enough masks for domestic demand. It needed 92 sets of automated lines that required six months for assembly.

“As long as we are provided with the built-up layout, we can assemble it.”

“If there’s demand for robotics in combating COVID-19, we will make it our priority to support.”

“We can help handle the electrical circuits.”

These were the replies when the Taiwan machine tools manufacturers heard about the difficulties faced with mask production. Over 80 manufacturers immediately organised to volunteer and send out staff to join in the mask machine assembly. Given that masks were not a common household necessity as they are now, the lack of manpower made the assembly of the 92 sets a hard task. The volunteers came in to fill in for the needed workforce, and they also self-produced parts that were lacking for mask assembly. They even assisted in troubleshooting during the test runs. Up to 100 workers were volunteering on site during the busiest time, and an average of 60 workers were there every day.

Taiwan’s mask production was at 2.24 million masks per day in January. It increased fivefold within 40 days to 13 million in March. At present, 17 million masks are being produced per day.

 

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Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Manufacturing Industry In A Post-Pandemic World

Now that markets are slowly opening up and manufacturing activities are gradually restarting, many are wondering how the manufacturing industry would look like, what the new requirements will be—for customers and suppliers alike—and what the manufacturing industry should do in this ‘new normal’. In this Outlook special, six industry leaders share their thoughts on what to expect, and how to navigate through the challenges in a post-pandemic environment.

Bystronic

Norbert Seo
Senior Vice President, Market Division Asia & Australia
Bystronic

We are yet to see the breadth and depth of the impact of COVID-19.  Economies are slowly opening, but there is an overhung of the second wave.  We are still in a quagmire of uncertainties, but after more than six months of descent, data shows that we are seeing recovery slowly play out.   

Recently, we see a changing outlook wherein business owners are deciding to invest in new machines in order to have full control of their manufacturing processes and minimize reliance on third party providers.  

Additionally, we are anticipating a shift from worker-dense shop floors into automated processing wherein production continues unhampered while lightly manned/operated.  Coronavirus has advanced the need for automation in factories.

We are living a new normal.  Companies who are most agile and able to adapt will eventually thrive in these new circumstances and I am determined that this will be the case for Bystronic. 

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence

Lim Boon Choon
SVP Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
Korea, ASEAN, Pacific, India

 

The COVID-19 crisis has underscored the important role of technology in helping people and companies rapidly adapt to fast-changing and unforeseen circumstances. Most of us have personal experience of relying heavily on cloud-based communications and data transfer during lockdown to continue collaborating and doing business remotely. At Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, for example, we moved swiftly to provide our customers with the online support, training and software they needed to remain productive as they adopted new work practices driven by the need for social distancing, as well as changes to supply and demand within their industries. 

As manufacturing operations pick up again around the world, there is a clear desire among a growing number of our customers to accelerate their automation and digitalisation journey. Workplaces may look very different post-COVID-19, both on and off the shop floor. Among the changes we’re discussing with customers is a shift from on-premise systems to secure, automated, cloud-based systems that facilitate remote data analysis and exchange. 

At the same time the economic situation means manufacturers have to weigh up any capital expenditure plans extremely carefully. Technology will play a key role in helping companies remain competitive during challenging times, but businesses are only ready to invest in automation solutions if they demonstrate a clear business benefit and can deliver results quickly. The other message we’re hearing is the importance of providing open, scalable technology systems that give our customers the flexibility to evolve in line with new market requiremets. 

igus

Haecker Carsten
Head of Asia Pacific 
igus

Optimism for the year 2020 was surrounding our thoughts before the global COVID-19 impact brought several businesses to a standstill, selectively today fighting for survival. Optimism and motivation are what drives igus in the post-COVID-19 environments.

No doubt, the crisis has also impacted our global business outlook and order intake across various industries. However, it has taught us very valuable lessons and generated ample opportunities. The crisis will not end globalization. Rather, it will lead to the questioning of some of its assumptions. In particular, it highlights the need for shorter supply chains in critical areas and the relocation of some activities closer to ‘home’.

We learned from the crisis that the supply chain can be disrupted at any time. Now, we are learning that for other critical resources like pre-materials for medical supply, we also need to stockpile in case there is a cut in supply. This was demonstrated when we witnessed the global shortage of surgical masks and other medical essentials that were taken for granted during normal times. We have learned how vulnerable they are, how concentrated the supply capacity is, and how critical these products can be. Globalization will continue because it is of common interest.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has been accelerating the push to invest in new, labour-substituting technologies. Here, in particular, 3D printing technologies, cobot support, and factory automation with smart condition monitoring will see an accelerated demand to reduce dependency on humans.

igus motion plastics products are today used in several of these applications and will continue to play a major part in all motion and moving energy demand. We accelerated product development, we managed to change our way of working, we adapted quickly to changing needs, and we never stopped investing in growth, be it space or technology.

Our online tools are readily available and our products can be completely configured via our homepage and delivered within 24 hours. Our virtual booth, showcasing our latest 2020 innovations is online and the team is ready to welcome you. Any crisis generates opportunities—we are convinced to manage this for our customers!

Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

Ben Mund
Senior Market Analyst
Mastercam/CNC Software Inc.

As developers of Mastercam CAD/CAM software, we talked with shops directly as the impact of COVID-19 began taking hold. Our global manufacturing community generally sees the post-pandemic process in three stages: assessment, refinement, and expansion.

The ‘assessment’ stage moved very quickly. Shops stopped most major (and even minor) expenditures, evaluated what business they could maintain, and worked with their partners as things started to go on hold.

Many shops we speak with have moved past assessment into the ‘refinement’ phase. This is where shops say they expect many lasting changes as they aggressively re-evaluate their processes. Examples include deeper looks into their machine and software capabilities to maximize existing investments, training up staff, and refining jobs they maintain during the crisis to ensure they are as efficient as possible when new work starts coming in.

When the ‘expansion’ phase begins, it is likely the efficiency and creativity shops built up during the crisis will mean smarter capital expenditures, broader skillsets, boosted productivity and more business flexibility. These are certainly lessons we as a company have also learned as we work with our manufacturing community to help prepare shops for the next steps.

Siemens ASEAN

Dr. Thai-Lai Pham
CEO
Siemens ASEAN

COVID-19 has given Industry 4.0 a booster jab—proving the necessity of innovation and digitalization. It has also brought down the resistance to change and collaborate, reduced the fear of new technologies, and accelerated the adoption of digital technologies.

For Siemens, our investment in digitalization in the last few years have allowed us to be in a position to contribute to the community during this crisis:

  1. In March, Siemens opened the Siemens Additive Manufacturing Network for hospitals and health organizations worldwide. This digital platform brings together suppliers and customers in the field of additive manufacturing to help print spare parts for medical devices.
  2. In Singapore, we helped a hotel group to build isolation rooms for guests tested positive for COVID-19. Our team supported with HVAC optimization, ensuring proper circulation of air to avoid any risks of virus-spread.

Both of these instances would probably have taken more time to plan and execute in the past. But the COVID-19 situation forced us to expedite the process.

Moving forward, I’d expect more businesses to examine their operational set-up, explore areas that urgently require improvement, and embrace digitalization to reshape their manufacturing and supply chains to be more productive, competitive, resilient and sustainable.

VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association)

Dr Wilfried Schäfer
Managing Director 
VDW

In 2019, the ten-year boom phase in the global machine tool industry had already come to an end. That was long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expectations for the development of the machine tool industry were characterized by a sharp drop in international demand for 2020. A decrease in production of 18 percent was forecast for Germany. 

From today’s perspective, this will not be sufficient. However, due to the uniqueness of the crisis, it is currently not possible to foresee which result the industry will obtain at the end of the current year. The companies are now working intensively to learn their lessons from the crisis and prepare for a new start.

The machine tool manufacturers, for example, are systematically pushing ahead with digitization internally in their own production and in cooperation with their customers. Now that travel has been restricted nationwide, it has proven to be very advantageous for a company to access its installed machine base online. That could be necessary, for example, to ensure service and maintenance or to install software updates. With the universal interface umati, manufacturers can also offer their customers added value in order to optimize their production. umati now stands for machine communication in the entire mechanical and plant engineering sector and is meeting with great interest worldwide.

COVID-19 has also shown that the organisation of a resilient production is important in order to ensure the company’s own ability to deliver. After supply chains were interrupted worldwide when more and more countries went into lockdown, the establishment of robust supply structures is becoming increasingly important. This applies both to the supply of intermediate products and components and the ability to manufacture certain core components in-house.

Finally, customer contact has been interrupted by the cancellation or postponement of many trade fairs worldwide. Trade fair organizers, trade journal publishers from our industry and individual companies quickly made an effort to offer alternatives. The VDW was one of them. With the METAV Web Sessions in mid-June, we succeeded in offering exhibitors a platform that, at least, allowed them to make virtual contact with their customers. These formats will be further developed in the future.

These are just three examples of several areas that will change. They have not to be reinvented but, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, they are increasingly gaining momentum. 

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

 

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Industry 5.0: The Future Of Manufacturing In 2035

Industry 5.0: The Future Of Manufacturing In 2035

The Factory of 2035 will look vastly different than the factory of today. Ever since the first Industrial Revolution when mechanisation, water, and steam power started to automate work previously carried out manually, more work has been taken on by machines. Each technological advancement – from computers and robotics to the Internet – has brought about additional automation. Advancement in technologies will remain significant, but the trend of “human touch” will also be in demand in Factory of 2035.

People, machines and fear

Today, internet-enabled “Industry 4.0” – including the robots that form a growing part of its connected technologies – has given rise to new fears that technology is replacing human workers. Representing Industry 4.0 as they do, robots are also bearing the brunt of the latest “technology is replacing us” myths. People have misconceptions that automation technologies and robots threaten people’s livelihoods. Automation does not replace jobs, in fact, it creates new jobs.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article on automated tasks, 20 percent and 80 percent of a given job can involve automatable tasks, but no jobs are 100 percent automatable. This means that even with all the advancements, robots will not replace humans entirely. The fact is that robots help to increase productivity and companies are in the position to employ more people. Hence, robots will create jobs instead of eliminating them.

A new type of factory

The promise of the latest industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is not just complete factory automation. Manufacturers move towards “light out factory” setups where they can produce goods people demand quickly, with consistently high quality, at unprecedented low cost, and with little human intervention. However, when the ‘lights out factory’ has started to gain traction in actual manufacturing setups, different global consumer trend has emerged – The return of human touch in Industry 5.0.

Mass demand for the human touch, or what is often described as “mass personalisation,” will never be met by large scale lights-out type manufacturing nor by traditional craftspeople working in their own small shops. Today, people want to experience the human touch in mass-manufactured goods. The type of factory needed to produce such goods at a scale and cost that makes production economically feasible will depend on technology. It is not the technology operating without human involvement in a lights-out factory. It will be the technology that collaborates with workers and, where the human touch is involved, serves as a tool that enables the workers to contribute the value they add to the product.

A new type of worker

The workers who will be needed in these new setups are workers who have particular value to add to the product. They must have expertise in an area that is required to give the product the degree of human touch the market demands of it. They may practice a craft or use a discerning eye or other senses to assess work and make adjustments. They may have a special understanding of materials and manufacturing processes. They may be experts in the practice of creativity. What will not be needed are workers who spend their days performing boring, repetitive tasks, or dangerous work. Robots and other machinery can and will do this work better. The days of the old-school line worker will be over.

The factory job in 2035

In 2035, Industry 4.0 and lights-out factories will be a vital part of product manufacturing. The world needs millions of products that do not require any human touch in order to be valuable. There will also be many more Industry 5.0 factories in 2035, and these factories will employ workers, with uniquely human skills. Requiring uniquely human talents like creativity, artistry, materials and process understanding, discerning tastes, understanding of various customs, and complex judgement, these jobs will be nothing like the factory jobs we think of today. It will be jobs that defy the definition of work as “doing things I don’t like to do”, instead, people will love their jobs. These jobs and trends will help humanise labour and make the world a better place to work.

In the current global age, Industry 4.0 is a marriage of IT and manufacturing operations. We have seen the maturation of digital technologies in the manufacturing industry. The smart factories of 2035 will accommodate the new collaborative model. The collaboration between man and machines, in which robots do the strenuous and repetitive work while humans act as the “creative architects”. Human creativity and smart technologies will become a decisive force in 2035.

By: Darrell Adams, Head of Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots

 

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