PwC: digital factories shaping the future of manufacturing
Digitalisation - a constant trend drivin...
Manufacturing Global gains further insight into how digital factories are shaping the future of manufacturing.
Digitalisation - a constant trend driving change within the manufacturing industry. The concept of a digital factory is challenging companies to implement innovative technology, and look for employees with different fundamental skills required in a traditional company.
Within the region leading manufacturers are deploying a number of key emerging technologies including:
Big data analytics solutions
End-to-end, real time planning and connectivity
These technologies are providing significant value within the industry in terms of efficiency and customisation. However PwC states that the full effect of digitalisation can only be realised when companies are connected in real-time to suppliers and critical customers.
PwC recent research shows that leading industrial companies are moving beyond the pilot stage and are now ready to invest in rolling out these digital solutions.
Key finds from the PwC report:
Digital factories at the top of the Agenda
PwC’s survey reports that 91% of industrial companies are investing in digital factories, however only 6% rate their factories as ‘fully digitised’.
Digital supports customer centricity and regional manufacturing
75% of industrial company participants highlighted regional manufacturing for better customer proximity, individualisation and flexibility as the main reason for further investing in their digital factories.
Digital factories on the rise
93% of respondents plan to further invest in digital factories which will be located in Germany over the next five years. While 75% are planning to set up new or expand their existing digital factories in Germany and Western Europe.
Digital factories are a strategic investment
Almost 50% expect a return on investment (ROI) from their digital operations within the next five years, while only 3% expect a ROI within one year.
Expected efficiency gains in the next five years
98% of participants named efficiency as the main reason for investing in digital factories, with an expectation to see an efficiency gain of 12% over the next five years.
Connecting factories internally and externally, through an integrated manufacturing execution system (MES) is the first step to digitalisations. In order to see the most benefits these systems need to be integrated with an ERP infrastructure to digitise across the entire supply chain.
Leaner and more productive operations
Digital technologies such as cobots, digital twins and augmented reality are helping organisations get more done, faster, and improving processes and product quality. PwC predicts that implementations of these technologies will double in the next five years.
Smart decision making
Driving digital factories forward is the use of artificial intelligence and data analytics, over 50% of companies are using smart algorithms to make better operational decisions. This form of technology will be a ‘must-have’ among future digital factories in order to stay competitive.
A digital workforce
With innovation comes new ways of working, as a result workforces will need to change and companies will need to recruit and retain employees accordingly.
Leaders of digital transformation
In order to implement a successful digital transformation, top management must lead and provide guidance.
For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.
Image source: PwC
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.