The Importance of IIoT in a Smart Factory
In the manufacturing sector, the rise of Industry 4.0 is evolving at a rapid pace and technological advancements are the backbone of this evolution. Key technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Automation and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) are essential. As part of connected and adaptive manufacturing, Smart Factories are a new opportunity to adopt exciting technology in order to achieve demanding production goals.
Smart Factories rely heavily on smart manufacturing, with the use of data, they are a highly digitalised and connected production facility. They are designed to drive the adoption of digital manufacturing processes and create better outcomes for productivity, delivery, reduced labor and energy costs.
As part of Industry 4.0, new technologies will be introduced as part of intelligent manufacturing and they can also be found in Smart Factories, for example:
- Adopting robotics at a deeper level such as drones that would replace current human workloads.
- Use of machine learning to analyse data gathered by sensors and monitoring devices in order to make real-time decisions to improve the efficiency of production.
- Utilising IIoT to create a system of connected devices with predictive capabilities to make autonomous decisions based in an intelligent, decision-making environment.
IoT focuses a lot more on connectivity, data analytics and automation as part of a huge digital ecosystem. “In IIoT technology, sensors are attached to physical assets,” says Robert Schmid, Deloitte Digital IoT Chief Technologist. “Those sensors gather data, store it wirelessly, and use analytics and machine learning to take some kind of action.”
IIoT can transform linear manufacturing supply chains into interconnected digital supply networks (DSN), making factories more efficient, saving on costs and reducing risk for human operators.
The most notable feature of IIoT systems is the use of sensors to detect, for example, if a machine goes down or reaches a temperature that’s too high, sensors then track the source of the issue and trigger a service request. This is known as ‘Predictive Manufacturing’, a fascinating system that converts data into information and make intelligent decisions about the machine or process.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.