Factory of the future

Factory of the future

Realize your factory’s potential

Technology has transcended the factory floor. Today, we can connect employees, processes, machines, data, and customers far beyond what was ever imagined—and change is happening now. 76 percent of manufacturers already have smart factory strategy or are actively formulating one, speeding up production and enabling customer-centric processes with artificial intelligence (AI), industrial internet of things (IIoT), and digital twin simulations.

Empower your people with smart factory solutions

Manufacturers with smart factories see productivity grow an average of 17–20%.  85% of manufacturing executives expect human-to-machine environments to be common by 2020. The human-to-machine collaboration will enable specialists to construct prototypes faster, incorporate customer feedback during production and build more useful products within budget.

95% of business leaders expect to use IIoT in their factories in the next three years. With IIoT, companies allow for smooth processes and boosting customer satisfaction. They are able to visualize real-time usage, performance, and asset health data to optimize performance securely via a centralized hub with Remote Monitoring.

Digital twins will help improve training and test full-scale models. Create safe holographic training scenarios, give clients 3D prototypes, and address problems before work starts in immersive mixed reality with Microsoft HoloLens.

Transforming manufacturing beyond Industry 4.0

Far from just a concept based on longstanding aspirations of Industry 4.0, the factory of the future means going beyond the walls of production to transform the entire connected manufacturing ecosystem. Where we once imagined a factory focused on the digital, robot-driven production floor, reality has transcended the factory floor to include the entire manufacturing ecosystem—connecting employees, processes, machines, data, and customers—far beyond what was once envisioned. Instead of automation and robots replacing people, the “factory of the future” is actually empowering people, including:

  • Manufacturing business leaders using data from hyperconnected networks to develop customized, meaningful products and services.
  • Factory workers using continuous insights to predict and prevent machine failures and improve operational effectiveness.
  • Customers providing real-time usage data and experiential sentiment to inform how manufacturers innovate to support valuable experiences.

Empowering digital leaders in manufacturing

Connected intelligent machines and IT systems provide continuous insights, enabling manufacturing leaders to make better-informed decisions with objective, up-to-date market data; manage inventory in near-real-time, and revise processes and drive new innovations to meet demand. Such hyperconnected networks of free-flowing data will enable manufacturers to work with shorter lead times, forge a tighter link between supply and demand, develop new business models as market demand and opportunities arise, and accelerate new product introductions to the market.

Empowering manufacturing leaders hinges on supporting real-time insights, and one way Microsoft enables this is Remote Monitoring. Developed for the Microsoft Azure platform, Remote Monitoring enables manufacturers to make targeted improvements to business processes by getting real-time use, performance, and asset health updates from nearly anywhere, and use that data to optimize performance securely, anticipate problems and solutions, and boost customer satisfaction.

The result? Improved visibility to support proactive response across the business; the ability to make targeted improvements to business processes to save time, money, and resources; and new business insights to spot trends and opportunities to advance the business.

Connecting specialists in news ways across the organization

Today, immersive human-to-machine collaboration and advanced analytics are enabling specialists—from R&D,
to the production floor, to logistics and supply chain management—to prototype new designs faster and more affordable, build more useful products faster, and continually support meaningful customer experiences.

One technology at the heart of this vision is the digital twin, enabling manufacturers to simulate and iterate
through the end-to-end stages of design, production, and service with a digital representation of the plant floor, supply chain, and product lifecycle. What used to be considered technologically abstract or out of reach is now tangible and available, supporting advanced problem solving and reasoning with machines, simultaneous work across virtual and physical models, and effective cross-team collaboration on a global scale.

Microsoft is redefining the digital twin through HoloLens, which allows users to interact with and improve full-scale
models in immersive mixed reality. Now, manufacturing teams can create flexible, safe holographic training scenarios in the real world, give clients 3D prototypes to visualize and inspect, and identify and address problems before work starts. Processes that once took weeks can now take days through this reduction in physical prototyping.

Developing a truly customer-centric manufacturing process

While factory workers, machines, processes, data, and other elements of production support smart factories, empowering transformative customer experiences is truly at the heart of the factory of the future. The desire to
adapt to quickly-evolving customer demands is nothing new, except now technology trends such as AI and IoT
are being adopted and integrated into ways that finally deliver on this real-time, customer-centric vision.

One example of how the customer experience is being completely transformed is Predictive Maintenance, in which manufacturers boost equipment reliability and stay ahead of the unexpected issues that can easily derail production. By capturing customer sentiment, usage, and other data and analyzing it with machine learning algorithms, manufacturers can gain insight to fine-tune processes and make modifications that improve product quality and increase customer satisfaction. Going forward, IoT-driven data and AI will bring new levels of performance insight directly from customers for customer-driven product design and faster innovation cycles.

From our factory to your factory of the future

Through a robust technology platform, preconfigured solutions, and longstanding experience as both a services provider and manufacturer, Microsoft is empowering humans to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunities of the factory of the future in three fundamental ways.

First, empowering organizations to achieve breakthrough productivity with intelligent, mixed reality, and cognitive
services by bringing together humans, machines, and AI. Second, building broader ecosystems through partnerships
that include telecommunications, network, hardware, and software partners. And third, delivering a highly-flexible,
robust software platform that allows the hyperconnected world to operate in hybrid models, supporting IoT, people,
and services working together.

Find out more about our manufacturing solutions on our website. Contact allonline365 if you are looking to digitally transform your business. Email us on info@allonline365.com or call us on   +27 (21) 205 3650.


Resource Credit | @MSFTDynamics365

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