European manufacturing has a window of opportunity right now. Since the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic laid bare the industry’s vulnerability to supply chain interruptions, there is a new awareness about reducing dependencies on international subcontractors and logistics.
Even politicians are now pushing this agenda, with French President Emmanuel Macron - a champion of globalisation - saying that supply chains will “need to become more French.”
It is hard to compete with highly scaled Asian manufacturing operations that run series with hundreds of thousands of commodity items without variation. Nor is it easy to compete with low-wage producers if production is labor intensive.
But if the process is capital intensive, if batches are small and customisation is required and, ideally, if raw materials and markets are nearby so that the cost of logistics can be managed, it is possible to compete through flexible automation.
In recent years, an important enabler of flexible automation has been the Internet of Things (IoT), whereby connected devices in the logistics and manufacturing chain collect and analyse data from equipment, locations and people in order to manage and improve processes.
Machines and sensors emit data about throughput, performance, condition, maintenance, but also electrical power, temperature, humidity, sound, altitude, position, speed, weight, strength, radiation, chemical composition… any data that can help us understand what affects what.
In Industry 4.0, computing moves to the edges
IoT has brought process-centric operational technology (OT) and data-centric information technology (IT) closer together, with the goal of enabling manufacturing lines to swiftly adjust to different product specifications.
Together, these concepts and technologies are part of a broader evolution that is the ongoing modernisation and automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, often referred to as Industry 4.0.
Edge computing is playing an important role in this evolution, as it can make existing manufacturing processes more intelligent and autonomous for greater responsiveness and agility. Gartner has predicted that in 2025, 70 percent of data processing will happen outside of the cloud or traditional data centers.
In the first generation of IoT, the data infrastructure has leaned heavily on centralised servers and cloud computing but now, by moving computing closer to the edge, close to the production equipment, these automated manufacturing systems can react and make decisions based on changes in circumstances.
And this is where Advian comes in. With our Smart Factory offering, we bring real-time data analysis to the evolution of Industry 4.0, powered by Edge AI. The combination of location analytics, edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) allows us to analyse vast amounts of data in real time in order to make ever better decisions.
Advian's Smart Factory is ready for a big leap
Because of the complexity, and especially if we add data streams from multiple video cameras as well, analysis in the cloud or on a centralised server would simply be too slow for real-time responses and both the data communication and central computing capacity would be prohibitively expensive.
At one client we have implemented a video-assisted Edge AI solution for quality assurance. The servo-controlled, self-positioning cameras scan the product while it is being manufactured for its surface quality and any visual anomalies.
The data feeds are analysed by our artificial intelligence software close to the production line. The software learns from feedback given by factory workers who have the option to view all detected anomalies in real time.
Use cases supported by Advian Smart Factory with Edge AI include production optimisation, quality control, predictive maintenance, distributed learning, real-time positioning, automated inventory management, automated volume counting, and warehouse or yard optimisation.
Edge AI data analytics is about to take a huge leap. For those interested in finding out more we’ve put together an eBook, ‘It’s Time to Enable Your Smart Factory with Real-Time Edge AI. This Is How You Can Start Today’.
Download it here and learn:
💡 Why the evolution of Industry 4.0 with artificial intelligence at the edges is
a matter of survival for manufacturers
💡 How Edge AI revolutionizes quality inspection by allowing you to reduce quality control efforts and operational costs on exponential levels
💡 Which Smart Factory use cases may benefit your operation
💡 How to start your Edge AI journey by taking your first steps today
Wonder what your business could achieve
with Edge AI?
Book a meeting to discuss with Advian experts. 👇
Learn more about our Smart Factory solutions