IBM: optimising factory operations with smart Manufacturing
Manufacturing Global takes a look at how smart manufacturing is reimagining the industry and the ways in which IBM can help factories optimise their operations.
“The focus of every industrial revolution has been increasing the productivity of production systems. The fourth industrial revolution is here, and it’s seeking to improve both production and management systems,” commented IBM in a recent white paper.
To achieve these improvements within manufacturing digital transformation is being driven by smart manufacturing to create new opportunities and achieve new levels of productivity and specialisation.
By harnessing the power of data, industrial internet of things (IoT) and analytics, manufacturers are achieving new capabilities including predictive maintenance and quality. As a result smart manufacturing is reimagining the way in which organisations do business.
IBM explains that most factories are composed of operation technology assets, these include machines, equipment lines and robotic devices, however these devices are not always connected.
Current trends are focusing on building a more IT-based factory to save time, labour, cost and maintenance. As a result industrial IoT platforms are on the rise as new innovative concepts harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, big data and cognitive manufacturing emerge.
Targeting pain points
IBM further explains that in order to understand the impact of Industry 4.0 solutions, the industry must examine the key people involved in all aspects of factory operations.
True transformation can only happen when all unique challenges and pain points are targeted.
Three tiered architecture solutions
By harnessing IBM’s three tiered architecture solutions, organisations can keep the needs of different workers in mind to implement an efficient smart manufacturing strategy.
IBM’s three tiered architecture addresses autonomy and self-sufficiency requirements of each production sire and balances the workload.
Edge level - the predominantly physical area of a factory for product related activities
Plant/factory level - plant and local activities are orchestrated and connected
Enterprise level - analysis of all information and information storage
Deploying industry 4.0
Harnessing smart manufacturing solutions can drive flexibility, speed and resilience within a manufacturing ecosystem, by collecting data, optimising performance and improving agility within an organisation.
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Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility
Who is Lion Electric?
Founded in 2008, 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.”