Jun 1, 2020

GE Digital: smarter manufacturing with AI & analytics

Cobus van Heerden
3 min
Cobus van Heerden, Senior Product Manager, Analytics & Machine Learning, GE Digital, discusses the current AI and analytics trends in manufacturing...

Cobus van Heerden, Senior Product Manager, Analytics & Machine Learning, GE Digital, discusses the current AI and analytics trends in manufacturing.

What are the current trends within manufacturing when it comes to AI and analytics?

Process engineers have exceptional domain expertise to put together process models – or Process Digital Twins – and be able to interpret the models. This is the foundation for improving competitive advantage and success with analytics.

What are the benefits of AI in manufacturing relating to analytics?

With Machine Learning and analytics, industrial organizations can capitalize on the IoT opportunity, optimize operations, and generate greater profitability. Additionally, engaging in the latest analytics technologies also helps to attract and retain the best talent.

What are the challenges of AI?

All process engineers can and need to develop capabilities in analytics and machine learning to remain competitive – both at an individual professional level as well as to help their industrial organization – in our world of digital transformation.

Over time, engineers can go from small projects to pilots to multi-plant optimization with deep application of analytics. Engineers’ deep domain expertise provides a foundation for modelling processes and developing the analytics that are game changers in very specific applications. The combination of applied analytics technology with those Process Digital Twin models uncovers hidden opportunities for improvement over and over again.

What is the best strategy for driving the best business value from AI and analytics when it comes to analytics?

Fortunately, the journey to success with machine learning and analytics doesn’t mean that process engineers suddenly need to become data scientists. Proven processes and software technologies make analytics achievable for every industrial organization. To support the journey to machine learning and analytics, companies like GE Digital provide analytics technology training in the form of a self-serve product university, detailed demo videos, and application advice.

Additionally, while today’s software features enhanced ease of use and no-code implementation extensible with Python, process engineers can still lean on product experts in combination with their own domain expertise to mine data and leverage analytics to improve operations.

To drive analytics and improve processes, organizations can align domain expertise and strategically drive analytics in five areas: 

  1. Analysis - automatic root cause identification accelerates continuous improvement

  2. Monitoring – early warnings reduce downtime and waste

  3. Prediction – proactive actions improve quality, stability, and reliability

  4. Simulation – what-if simulations accelerate accurate decisions at a lower cost

  5. Optimization – optimal process setpoints improve throughput at acceptable quality by up to 10%

Looking to the future how would you like to see this technology developed within the industry?

Software solutions using advanced AI and machine learning to enable process engineers need to continue to be innovative and outcome oriented. These solutions need to focus on providing the ability to combine data across industrial data sources and rapidly identify problems, discover root causes, and automate actions to continuously improve quality, utilization, productivity, and delivery of production operations.


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May 10, 2021

Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Lion Electric |Smart Manufacturing | Sustainable Manufacturing | Electric Vehicles | Electric School Buses | Electric Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles | Sustainability | Technology | Freight | Transportation
Lion Electric announces its selection of Illinois to construct its all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicle manufacturing facility...

Who is Lion Electric?

Founded in 2008, Lion Electric is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric. 

Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility

Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.

The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers. 

It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.

“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 

“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”

Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois

Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.

Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation

As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.

“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.

“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.” 

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