May 16, 2020

McKinsey: artificial intelligence in heavy asset production

Artificial intelligence
Georgia Wilson
3 min
artificial intelligence
Dating back to the mid-1950s, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) wasahead of its time for many years, being shelved as an ‘interesting idea...

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.


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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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