How A 10-Minute Conversation With A Machine Saved…

How A 10-Minute Conversation With A Machine Saved…

Jan 20, 2017

“How A 10-Minute Conversation With A Machine Saved $12 Million” By Colin Paris, Manufacturing.net A call comes through on my tablet. It’s a familiar digital voice letting me know that one of GE’s power generation turbines installed at a utility customer’s power plant was experiencing a change in its operating profile. This change was causing a critical part to wear more rapidly than usual. It would not necessarily cause a problem today, explains the caller, or even in the coming months. But further down the line, it could become an issue that would reduce the overall performance of the power plant and lead to more expensive repairs. That voice on the other end of the line is not a human operator. It is the turbine’s Digital Twin, an exact digital replica of the physical machine built with artificial intelligence algorithms that allow it to see, think and act just like human beings do. In my ten- minute conversation with this Digital Twin, we figure out a solution that would save $12 million for the customer with a simple adjustment in how the turbine operates. The drop-off in performance and higher repair costs will be avoided thanks to a few simple changes the Twin itself recommended based on its assessment of historical data, other turbines in this fleet, and its deep knowledge of the physical stress on the turbine in question. The Internet ushered in the world of connectedness on a level no one had previously imagined. Today, that connectedness has spread from human-to-human, to human-to-machine, to machine-to-machine, and we’ve given it a new name – the Internet of Things. We see the IoT in the home, when we talk to Amazon Echo’s Alexa or to Google and ask them for information or to perform a simple task. To understand those questions and requests, Alexa uses a dictionary that is gained from Wikipedia – and its capabilities are developing quickly, since much of the digital infrastructure of the consumer IoT is already in place. The industrial IoT is developing even quicker, despite exponentially higher technological and regulatory complexities. Industrial devices – like a power generation turbine, a jet engine, a locomotive, or an MRI machine...

Microservices in Manufacturing: Giving Operators the Tools…

Microservices in Manufacturing: Giving Operators the Tools…

Jun 7, 2016

“Microservices in Manufacturing: Giving Operators the Tools + Power they Need to Drive Efficiency” By Andre Wegner, Founder/CEO at Authentise, LinkedIn Full automation in production won’t be achieved in one fell swoop. Instead it’s a series of improvements that, with careful diligence and built on the right backbone, will make the long-awaited seamless art-to-part digital thread a reality. Fortunately, emergent software architecture backs this trend. We’ve got the greatest clients in the world – they’re always looking for ways to improve and teach us a lot along the way. Here are some of the things we’ve learnt from them so far: What they have: All of them have production management systems honed over years of experience, whether it’s in Additive Manufacturing (AM) or otherwise. They have processes, often encoded in software, and experienced people to make sure things run smoothly. In short: They have proven operational excellence time and time again, otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. What they want: Automation of dreary tasks so they can focus on more interesting ones. Transparency in the effort so they can seek ways to improve (and they can represent their achievements to management). What they don’t want: Something that completely disrupts the way they work or gives them multiple system/buttons to learn and use. In short: A monolithic enterprise suite that they have to learn. These goals and the way they go about them, put our clients in step with their organizations. By deploying automation, this unrelenting pursuit to improve makes their organizations as whole more agile. The piecemeal nature in which they deploy it also maintains the basic pillars of manufacturing: uptime and security. There is also a focus on action, not just insight, which we have also observed in manufacturing as a whole. Nevertheless, differences abound: Unlike organizations, individuals or small teams may lack access to the tools to fulfil their vision. Unlike individuals, organizations don’t always know what’s needed to drive efficiency at ground zero. Technology can help bridge the gap (finally, as one commentator pointed out), and its evolution towards microservices prove why (see box). Microservices enable products and processes to evolve on the spot, which is appealing in a manufacturing setting that requires incremental improvement. Building...

Two Ways IoT is Disrupting (and Helping) the Manufacturing…

Two Ways IoT is Disrupting (and Helping) the Manufacturing…

May 23, 2016

“Two Ways IoT is Disrupting (and Helping) the Manufacturing Process” By Cameron Beattie, Zachary Segundo and Austin Locke, Viewpoints The internet of things, also known as (IoT), is an emerging technology that has the potential to disrupt the manufacturing industry. It’s about allowing a device with a switch to connect to the internet. For example, a thermostat in your house that is controlled by your phone or a sensor on a CNC machine connecting it to the factory. According to Gartner, approximately 3.9 billion things were connected in 2014 and it is expected to rise to 25 billion by 2020, equating to a 35% annual growth rate.  Factories that are connected to the internet are far more productive and efficient than those that are not. IoT helps manufacturers drive down costs, eliminate inefficiencies, manage workforce skills/gaps and develop new areas to generate business, yet only 10% of industrial operations use IoT, leaving a tremendous growth opportunity for IoT in manufacturing. In A Look Ahead: An Interview from the Future on the Birth of Digital Manufacturing, we imagine what the near future can be for a manufacturing company building on a core strategy that relies on IoT, business intelligence (BI), and cloud-based applications. But how can this strategy usher in a new digital age of innovation? How is IoT Disrupting the Manufacturing Process? There are endless possibilities on how IoT can be used in both discrete and process manufacturing. Two primary areas are Machine to Machine Communication and Product Development Processes. Machine to Machine Communication Manufacturing floors produce huge amounts of valuable data that can be used for many purposes, but companies must capture it to put the data to work. Machine to Machine Communication is a term used to describe technology that allows networked devices to exchange information directly to each other, and it is set to disrupt the manufacturing industry. For example, rather than staff maintaining and monitoring machines on the factory floor, sensors can monitor the equipment and the factory’s performance. Machine to Machine Communication can: Reduce unnecessary downtime due to unwarranted maintenance or unexpected repairs Increase ability to maintain a precise inventory of spare parts Enable machines to share analytics about factory...

Technological Innovation Seen as Essential to Spur Growth in…

Technological Innovation Seen as Essential to Spur Growth in…

May 19, 2016

“Technological Innovation Seen as Essential to Spur Growth in U.S. Manufacturing” By Peter Buxbaum, Global Trade Investments in technology are “essential” for the growth of the U.S. manufacturing sector. According to the 2016 Industrial Manufacturing Trends Report, published by PwC, making strategic investments is one key to growth, particularly in fast-evolving industries. Innovation is building a “data-driven factory of the future with robotics, augmented reality, 3D printing, the internet of things, and other technologies, creating an environment of higher productivity and reduced costs,” the report said. Many of the technological innovations used in manufacturing today will be commonplace within the next five to 10 years, the report added, meaning that manufacturing executives “must lead with an eye toward that reality, and not merely the current bottom line.” The digital age has disrupted many different aspects of manufacturing, noted Nitin Rakesh, CEO of the digital modernization firm Syntel. “From research and development to marketing and sales, businesses cannot afford to put production on hold in order to modernize, but must transform their manufacturing processes in order to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment,” he said. “Financial pressures in the manufacturing sector are prompting organizations to reassess how they use technology in their manufacturing operations, to determine how they can best modernize their systems in order to maintain a competitive edge.” Modernizing and automating back-end support systems enable manufacturers to cut costs and improve efficiency, Rakesh asserted. “Cost-conscious businesses need to realize that their long-term run-the-business costs will be higher without a proper technology infrastructure in place,” he said. “The digital revolution has reached the factory floor. Investments in IoT-enabled machinery and connected devices now enable manufacturers to harness data from these assets to optimize factory operations. The insights available allow organizations to monitor the input, boost their output and maintain a high level of quality control. Through integrated sensors and automation technology, organizations are positioned to make more effective decisions in other areas such as finance, product design, and...

IoT and Manufacturing: You’ve Got the Data…

IoT and Manufacturing: You’ve Got the Data…

May 5, 2016

“IoT and Manufacturing: You’ve Got the Data…Now What Do You Do with it?” By Shawn Kaul, Lean Synergy International I doubt there’s a manufacturer in the industrialized world who hasn’t heard about the Internet of Things and how it’s going to drive the next industrial revolution. And it certainly could. But whether the IoT actually delivers on its promised value has little to do with how well the various sensors collect and transmit data; it has everything to do with how we use that data. And it starts with deciding which data to use. Machinery that is equipped with sensors and connected to the IoT generates mountains of data. One GE wind turbine, for example, is equipped with 20,000 sensors that generate 400 data points per second. That works out to more than one million data points per hour – just for one piece of machinery. If you think about that happening all day long, all across your factory floor, it’s easy to see how the sheer volume of data being collected could render the whole thing useless if you’re not careful. Nobody can work with and act on that much data, and a lot of people simply don’t know where to start. But it’s critically important to give careful thought to which data you’re going to pay attention to. To get the most benefit out of the IoT, ignore any data (for now, at least) that doesn’t meet these three criteria: relevant, actionable, and strategic. Relevant If you took logic or statistics courses in college, you might remember having discussions about “correlation vs. causation”. In a nutshell, it means that just because two data points are related, that doesn’t mean either one causes the other. Here are a couple of examples: The divorce rate in Maine has a 99.26% correlation with per capita consumption of margarine. And there’s a 94.7% correlation between per capita cheese consumption and the number of people who die by getting tangled in their bed sheets. Obviously, it would be absurd to suggest that there’s a causative relationship in either of those scenarios – despite the fact that, when graphed, the trends match each other almost perfectly. Your factory...