Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 59 - Page 76

MANUFACTURERS ARE EXPLORING THE USE OF MORE AUTOMATION AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES TO DELIVER EFFICIENCIES AND TACKLE THE ENERGY CRISIS HEAD-ON .
INDUSTRY WATCH

MANUFACTURERS ARE EXPLORING THE USE OF MORE AUTOMATION AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES TO DELIVER EFFICIENCIES AND TACKLE THE ENERGY CRISIS HEAD-ON .

With advancements in AI and computer vision technology , smart robotics can be integrated into informational systems . This treasure chest of data means manufacturers can be much better prepared to adjust to varying demand , as well as boost the labour workforce with better machinery and data that are integrated into the business and its supply chain .
Smarter factories
Automation also has a role to play in saving energy costs . For example , automation software can help contextualise and process extensive data , helping manufacturers determine which parts of their operations are the most energy-dependent or reliant . This helps manufacturers automatically scale operations up or down depending on areas of need .
Predictive analytics also plays a part . There are tools that can predict which machines need ( or will need ) maintenance – and in the long term this prevents equipment from draining energy .
The need to make factories smarter , more sustainable and safer is one of the reasons why Accenture acquired Eclipse Automation – to offer businesses automated production lines that leverage automation , cloud , data and AI .
The productivity promise of the metaverse ?
The metaverse is the next era of the internet . Imagine that today ’ s disparate collections of websites and apps will one day be a series of shared virtual 3D environments that exist in tandem with the physical world . Should the metaverse transform how people interact with each other and with business data , manufacturers are beginning to ponder how it will change their business .
Manufacturers are already embracing immersive technologies , like extended reality , for learning and development . By creating fully simulated environments where learners interact with the experience — it ’ s as close to the ‘ real world ’ as you can get .
Moreover , by extending digital twins of manufacturing systems into virtual spaces , companies could also have an accurate 3D representation of every plant they operate and reimagine how engineers can work on and off-site . The promise of metaverse-related technologies brings huge gains to productivity . For example , BMW is already taking steps to building digital twins of 31 different factories . The models use real-time data to recreate a 3D environment that mirrors everything from the machines on the floor to the people working at stations . The environment is used to train robots to navigate the factory , bring together designers to experiment with new line layouts and training simulations for individual tasks .
Every day the manufacturing sector is moving away from its industrial origins into a digital-first environment – and it ’ s this innovative thinking that will help the sector in the face of unprecedented challenges . The energy crisis is not going to subside soon , and as costs continue to skyrocket , firms will be looking to technology to help them deliver efficiencies , shorten their supply chains and boost production .
Manufacturers are braced for economic turbulence , but for many , it ’ ll mean a fundamentally new way of operating . p
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