McKinsey: artificial intelligence in heavy asset production
Dating back to the mid-1950s, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) was ahead of its time for many years, being shelved as an ‘interesting idea’.
Today, the concept of AI has become commonplace in the business world, even manufacturers with heavy assets are launching projects to determine if and how AI can benefit their operations.
However, McKinsey highlights that “while AI technologies have made tangible improvements to supply chains and administrative functions, they have so far had scant presence in production—which is interesting, given that cement plants were early adopters of automation and control systems and have used digitized sensors and signals for decades.”
The benefits of AI for heavy asset production
For many years, companies have been ‘digitalising’ their systems to improve visualisation for operators, however most with heavy assets “have not kept up with the latest advances in analytics and in decision-support solutions that apply AI,” says McKinsey, with operators still relying on their experience, intuition, and judgment. “As a result, many operators take shortcuts and prioritise urgent activities that don’t necessarily add value.”
Benefits of AI include:
The ability to preserve, improve, and standardise knowledge
The ability to make complex operational set-point decisions on its own
Deliver predictable and consistent output
The ability to cost-effectively create and maintain algorithms and intellectual property in-house which is cheaper, versatile and adaptive
The ability to fully automate complex tasks and provide consistent and precise optimum set points
“With respect to operational improvement and dynamic adaptability, artificial intelligence can outperform conventional decision-support technologies.”
What heavy asset manufacturers need to adopt AI
“It’s important to realise that, for all their embedded artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, the success or failure of real-time asset optimisers springs from the people who create, use, and maintain them. A people-oriented, holistic, forward-looking approach can unleash tremendous power when individuals, digital technologies, and advanced analytics work together,” comments Mckinsey.
In order to successfully create and maintain AI organisations need to assemble the right people. “Designing, building, connecting, improving, and maintaining an AI solution requires people with solid skills and experience, a big-picture perspective, and the interpersonal skills to work collaboratively toward a common goal.” However due to this kind of talent being in high demand and limited, companies need to consider upskilling current employees, such as data-savvy engineers, or hiring experts from outside.
- C3.ai: delivering leading enterprise AI software
- C3.ai: optimising inventory levels
- 3M: Driving business value with C3.ai’s innovative tech
- Read the latest issue of Manufacturing Global here
For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.