Demystifying AI & ML in Industrial Analytics

Posted by Joe Perino on Wed, Jun 17, 2020

Revisiting the Black Box

One of the questions that LNS Research often gets is how to explain Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) not only to plant personnel, but also to operating management, in such a way so that they can understand them sufficiently to place a reasonable degree of trust in them. In other words, enough to allow their adoption for predictive maintenance and other data science-based applications.

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML), Factory of the Future

Closing Factories is Hard, Re-Opening will be Harder

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Thu, Mar 19, 2020

In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, the public health response was focused on containment, and the advice for industry was supply chain resiliency and risk management. Ensure that sole sourced critical components had been eliminated or weren’t coming from affected regions. In large part, North American and European manufacturing passed the test, due to several factors, including work already done after the Fujiyama nuclear disaster and supplier shifts forced by the several year-old trade-war.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML), Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), Factory of the Future, Connected Worker

Amazon AWS: Disrupting the Industrial Technology Ecosystem

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Tue, Feb 18, 2020

In December 2019, 60k attendees descended upon Las Vegas for AWS re:Invent. Just like Amazon Web Services (AWS) generally, re:Invent is fast-growing and overwhelms with its sheer breadth of content. With dozens of announcements and multiple keynotes from senior executives, including an analyst-only session with AWS CEO Andy Jassy, re:Invent has quickly become a can’t miss tech event. Jassy clearly took pleasure in the success of AWS, as he should. Started in 2006, after just 13 years, the division has grown to $36B in revenue, is still growing at 35% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), and is Amazon’s most profitable.

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Categories: Cloud, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML), IT/OT

Why Your Factory of the Future Initiative Will Likely Fail in 2020

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Thu, Jan 16, 2020

A recent LNS Research article highlighted the need for Industrial Transformation (IX) exemplars, identified three major reasons why IX programs stall, and four major areas that companies need to focus on for ensuring a robust and scalable IX program.

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, IT/OT

6 Standout Questions from the Industrial Transformation in Aerospace and Defense Webcast

Posted by Tom Comstock on Wed, Dec 18, 2019

On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, LNS Research hosted a webcast on “Industrial Transformation (IX) in Aerospace & Defense". The presentation covered the scope, scale, strategy, budget, organization and technology choices of Industrial Transformation (IX) Programs globally and in the Aerospace & Defense (A&D) industry specifically. We also looked at another regulated industry, Life Sciences, to validate our conclusions as to why A&D companies are leading in IX. The session concluded with detailing the 5 Best Practices for driving IX. Here we will look at the 6 most common questions that came out of that session.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

IX Exemplars Needed

Posted by Matthew Littlefield on Thu, Dec 12, 2019

Industrial Transformation, or IX, is new. There is no play book. There is no proven methodology. There is no exemplar. The improvement programs of the last generation are clear – Toyota and Lean, GE and Six Sigma, Dupont and Operational Excellence, among many others. But why were these companies successful in these endeavors – and why did they share them with the world?

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

Don’t Let Your IIoT Program Succumb to Cultural Conflicts

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Mon, Dec 02, 2019

IIoT has become a primary talking point about not only Industry 4.0 (I4.0), but all of the other digitalization topics around I4.0 such as analytics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality/virtual reality and digital twins. The ability to get information from the factory floor and move it anywhere and to anyone cheaply and in real time has driven IIoT into virtually every manufacturer and asset intensive industry client and vendor community discussion lately. With so much focus, both from management and leadership and technical and engineering staff, why then, have so few industrial internet of things (IIoT) projects moved out of pilot purgatory and into full scale production. Some will argue the business case isn’t there yet, others will argue that the technology is not ready or scalable yet while others say something else is lacking like leadership support or adequate deployment and support skills. There is possibly an even more fundamental cause projects are stalling; cultural wars inside the organization are inhibiting progress.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

Don’t Let Recent Robot Failures Sour You on Automation

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Fri, Nov 22, 2019

In the last several weeks there have been two big stories about major manufacturers abandoning robots, reverting to manual labor instead. Boeing struggled with fuselage assembly robots that were supposed to drill and rivet 777 aircraft fuselage sections and will revert to using human machinists instead. Adidas announced it was closing its “Speedfactory” plants in Germany and is moving production back to Asia where it has relied on humans to assemble footwear. Adidas has said that it does plan to introduce some of the Speedfactory technology into its Asian plants in the future. With two large multinational manufacturers seemingly reducing automation, in both low volume (Boeing) and high volume (Adidas) environments it may lead other manufacturers to question whether automation investments are wise at this time. The best way to answer that question is to understand the limits of technology, the organizational readiness to accept technology and assessing how technology will support the business strategy.

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Categories: Industrial Automation, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

The Pace of Technology Change is Turning Standardization in the Industrial Automation World Upside Down

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Mon, Nov 18, 2019

Technology has almost always proven most beneficial when it operates within an ecosystem. The adage “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is especially true in the world of technology. Smartphones have changed the world because they operate within multiple technological ecosystems. If they did not allow phone calls to landlines or to subscribers of other providers, they would be of limited use. Without GPS much of the smartphones value would gone. Bluetooth makes lining the smartphone to other devices easy and provides not only wireless headsets but connectivity to vehicles and other devices. What makes all of this connectivity work? Standards. The same holds true in the industrial automation sector.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing

IX is Really, Really Hard

Posted by Dan Miklovic on Thu, Aug 29, 2019

In a previous article, Three Reasons Why Digital Transformations is So Hard, I did a deep dive into what transformation means compared to just evolutionary change. Two of the three reasons explored in that post deal with the idea that businesses have rarely approached a level of change that qualifies as transformative. The focus needs to be on the business processes and not the digital technology underlying its processes. Industrial Transformation (IX) is the path businesses need to pursue, emphasizing the results, not the technology used to drive those results. But looking back historically this raises the question “is business transformation the same as IX?”

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Asset Performance Management (APM), Digital Twin