TABLE OF CONTENTS
- IT/OT Convergence
- Our Perspective
- Integrating Systems
- Sustainable Manufacturing
- Custom Manufactory
- The Future of Making
Manufacturing playbooks typically follow a pillar (siloed) approach to solutioning – Upstream, Midstream and Downstream – to coordinate the discrete activities of product development, manufacturing and after market and sales and support.
Digital transformation has somewhat alleviated the bottlenecks for communication but is still green and IT centric in its approach. But random acts of digital has produced what are called pilot purgatory solutions – bottom up implementations of data management schemes governed by IT teams with little input or validation from Operational counterparts.
There is need to bridge the IT-OT divide and step beyond today’s green data-centric pilot purgatory approach of implementing IoT solutions. Risk and Reward based AI training is based on discrete data sets with no analog continuity and it take us away from innovation where understanding the broader context and system-level impact of IoT solutions is crucial. The challenge is to move beyond the siloed approach of IoT implementation and develop a more integrated and collaborative approach that bridges the gap between IT and OT.
To achieve this, a holistic strategy that considers the end-to-end value chain and takes into account both technical and organizational aspects is needed. This strategy should involve close collaboration between IT and OT teams, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to identify and prioritize areas for IoT implementation that deliver the most value.
Furthermore, to step beyond the current green data-centric pilot purgatory approach, it is important to embrace intelligence training that is based on a continuous flow of data and allows for feedback loops. We need to morph into a more robust and agile actionable intelligence theming that looks at end-to-end considerations holistically to enable solutions. This approach enables the system to learn from its own experiences and adapt to changing conditions in real-time.
Enabling customers and building smart and connected solutions require mass customizations and a new way of doing things. This includes adopting new technologies such as Additive Manufacturing and lifting-and-shifting current processes using brown-field, green-field, and blue-sky methodologies.
- Brown-field methodology involves upgrading existing systems,
- Green-field methodology involves building new systems from scratch, and
- Blue-sky methodology involves developing innovative solutions without any pre-existing constraints.
By appropriately maturing solutions to the new paradigm, businesses can achieve greater efficiency, agility, and competitiveness in the Industry 4.0 landscape.
In the context of manufacturing, Information Technology (IT) refers to the use of computers, software, and networks to manage and process data, facilitate communication, and support various business functions. On the other hand, Operations Technology (OT) encompasses the technologies and systems used to control and monitor physical processes, such as machinery, equipment, sensors, and industrial control systems.
Traditionally, IT and OT have operated as separate domains within manufacturing organizations, each with its own set of goals, technologies, and expertise. IT has focused on managing business processes, data analytics, and enterprise resource planning, while OT has focused on optimizing production processes, ensuring machine reliability, and maintaining operational efficiency.
However, with the emergence of Industry 4.0 and the increasing digitalization of manufacturing, there is a growing recognition of the need for convergence between IT and OT. Here are some reasons why this convergence is essential:
- Data Integration: IT systems generate valuable data about business operations, customer demands, and supply chain dynamics. OT systems collect real-time data from machines and sensors on the shop floor. By integrating IT and OT data, manufacturers can gain holistic insights into their operations, enabling better decision-making, improved efficiency, and enhanced production performance.
- Real-time Visibility: Convergence between IT and OT enables real-time visibility into the manufacturing process. IT systems can collect and analyze data from OT systems, providing up-to-date information on production status, equipment health, and quality control. This visibility enables proactive decision-making, timely problem-solving, and faster response to changing conditions.
- Process Optimization: The integration of IT and OT allows manufacturers to optimize their processes across the entire value chain. By combining data from IT systems (e.g., customer orders, inventory levels) with data from OT systems (e.g., machine performance, production schedules), organizations can identify bottlenecks, streamline workflows, reduce downtime, and achieve higher levels of productivity and efficiency.
- Automation and Control: Industry 4.0 envisions the use of advanced automation and control systems to achieve intelligent and autonomous manufacturing. Convergence between IT and OT enables the seamless integration of digital technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT), with operational processes. This integration enhances automation capabilities, facilitates remote monitoring and control, and enables predictive maintenance and condition-based operations.
- End-to-end Connectivity: Convergence between IT and OT establishes end-to-end connectivity across the manufacturing enterprise. This connectivity facilitates the flow of information, collaboration between departments, and coordination of activities from product design to production, supply chain management, and customer service. It breaks down information silos and enables a unified view of the entire value chain, leading to improved coordination, faster innovation, and better customer experiences.
The convergence of IT and OT is crucial for achieving true Industry 4.0 in manufacturing. It enables data integration, real-time visibility, process optimization, automation, and end-to-end connectivity. By bringing together the strengths of IT and OT, organizations can unlock new levels of efficiency, agility, and competitiveness in the digital age.
Raw notes from the Smart Manufacturing mindset LinkedIn webinar for IT/OT Convergence CESMII SME event. Us vs Them mentality – who owns what SI vs shop floor. Existing infrastructure integration. Controls OT. Groundhog day same thing over again since Industry 3.0 (2.9). Traditional IT has not employed the OT mentality. Disparity in these technologies. Impedence mismatch. Masters degree from the university of youtube. I want this industry 4.0 tool. More organized contexual approach to data. Technology cancel culture. Well modeled data. Clients are very interested in the tech. Risk of stitching, interoperability, vendor agnostic – locked in. Vendor generally provide complete ecosystems. In manufacturing we need to be areligious because there is no one vendor – Unified Namespace of trash does not fix the problem. Two sides of IT and OT. MQTT. Industry 4.0 is all about quantity and not quality. Younger workforce is more IT centric. Industry 4.0 is not a product, its a mindset. You can’t skip the homework. Information modeling problem. What technology vendor is after. Info model layer. Modernize in manageable chunks. Don’t do technology for Technolgy’s sake. It should provide a solution.
It is necessary to adopt a Smart Manufacturing mindset to achieve such transformations that coordinates the top floor with the shop floor, the digital information center with the physical operating assets.
In a series of use case blueprints, we have utilized our Digital Twine reference architecture to showcase possible implementations of brown-field, green-field and blue-sky initiatives to connect the dots between enterprise systems and enable the staged transformation and maturity of implementations to Industry 4.0. These included reviewing past projects to enable concerted cyber-physical interactions up-stream, mid-stream and down-stream.
We will briefly discuss three of them in this article:
1. The Operational Digital Twine – This pertains to enabling remote manufacturing utilizing Additive solutions for Point of Need challenges particularly to those faced by the military to mitigate issues with supply chain and immediacy of part need in austere conditions in the front line.
2. The Interoperable Digital Twine Framework (IDTF) – This pertains to the analysis and manufacture by reverse engineering parts and enabling their production using composite materials and new approaches to manufacturing parts to retrofit existing equipment.
3. The Connected Factory Digital Twine (CFDT) – An end-to-end process management framework for smart manufacturing that encompasses all activities in the value chain from procurement, linear process optimization, robotic activities, logistics and warehousing.
These use cases demonstrate the versatility of the Digital Twine reference architecture in enabling smart manufacturing transformations. By leveraging technology solutions like Additive Manufacturing, composite materials, and data integration, organizations can improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance agility.
The CFDT, in particular, represents a holistic approach to digital transformation that promotes seamless collaboration and orchestration across all stages of the value chain. This not only enables organizations to respond more effectively to disruptions, but also facilitates the creation of new business models and revenue streams.
When integrating enterprise systems for manufacturing, the grid is composed of the following components:
- NORTH – The User Interface/Customer Experience orchestration layer: This component focuses on the user interface and customer experience aspects of the system. It includes elements such as front-end applications, user interfaces, portals, and customer engagement tools. Its goal is to provide a seamless and intuitive experience for users, including customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
- EAST – The Marketing and Sell systems: This component encompasses systems related to marketing, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM). It includes tools and platforms for managing marketing campaigns, lead generation, customer acquisition, sales processes, order management, and customer support. The purpose is to streamline marketing and sales activities, track customer interactions, and enhance the overall sales effectiveness.
- SOUTH – The Backoffice systems: This component involves the core operational systems and processes that support the day-to-day operations of the organization. It includes functions such as finance, accounting, procurement, human resources, inventory management, and supply chain management. These systems ensure the smooth functioning of the business operations, handle financial transactions, manage resources, and optimize the supply chain.
- WEST – The Product Development Systems: This component focuses on systems and tools used in product development, engineering, and design processes. It includes computer-aided design (CAD) software, product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, simulation and testing tools, and collaboration platforms for cross-functional teams. The aim is to support efficient and collaborative product development, ensure design integrity, manage product data, and accelerate time-to-market.
By visualizing the integration of enterprise systems in this grid format, organizations can have a comprehensive view of the different components involved and their interdependencies. It helps in understanding the flow of data, processes, and information across the various aspects of the business, ensuring effective coordination and collaboration between different functional areas. This integrated approach enables seamless connectivity, data exchange, and alignment between the different systems, resulting in improved operational efficiency, enhanced customer experience, and better decision-making throughout the manufacturing process.
Our Tendril Connector enables the appropriate API gateways, microservices and other restful protocols to manage the integration of the composable architecture that we are building for smart manufacturing.
Sustainable manufacturing refers to the practice of producing goods and conducting manufacturing processes in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient manner. It aims to minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and resources, reduce waste generation, and promote social and economic well-being.
Sustainable manufacturing connects with the topic of smart manufacturing in several ways:
- Resource Efficiency: Smart manufacturing leverages technologies such as IoT, automation, and data analytics to optimize resource utilization and minimize waste. By integrating sustainability principles into smart manufacturing processes, organizations can further enhance resource efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
- Energy Management: Smart manufacturing systems enable real-time monitoring and control of energy consumption, allowing manufacturers to identify energy-intensive processes and implement energy-saving measures. Sustainable manufacturing practices emphasize energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, and carbon footprint reduction, aligning with the goals of smart manufacturing.
- Life Cycle Assessment: Sustainable manufacturing considers the entire life cycle of a product, from raw material extraction to disposal. Smart manufacturing technologies can provide valuable data and insights for conducting life cycle assessments, evaluating environmental impacts at each stage, and identifying opportunities for improvement.
- Circular Economy: Smart manufacturing can facilitate the transition to a circular economy by enabling better product design, remanufacturing, recycling, and waste management practices. Sustainable manufacturing principles promote the reduction of waste through resource recovery, closed-loop systems, and the incorporation of recycled materials.
- Environmental Compliance: Smart manufacturing systems can help manufacturers monitor and ensure compliance with environmental regulations and standards. By integrating sustainability requirements into smart manufacturing processes, organizations can proactively manage environmental risks and improve their overall environmental performance.
Sustainable manufacturing aligns with the goals of smart manufacturing by incorporating environmental considerations, resource efficiency, energy management, life cycle assessment, circular economy principles, and compliance with environmental regulations. By integrating sustainability practices into smart manufacturing initiatives, organizations can achieve both environmental stewardship and operational excellence.
We define custom manufactory as the ability to build custom products initially in small batches and eventually in mass quantities.
Smart and sustainable manufacturing tenets can be effectively employed in custom manufactory to enhance its efficiency, flexibility, and environmental performance. Here are some ways in which these principles can be applied:
- Smart Production Planning: Utilize data analytics and advanced planning systems to optimize production scheduling, minimize lead times, and reduce material waste. Smart production planning systems can analyze historical data and customer preferences to anticipate demand and streamline production processes accordingly, ensuring efficient utilization of resources.
- Agile Manufacturing: Implement flexible manufacturing processes and technologies that can adapt to changing customer requirements and accommodate customization. Smart manufacturing technologies such as robotics, additive manufacturing, and digital simulation can enable efficient customization by reducing setup times, enabling rapid prototyping, and facilitating design iterations.
- Digitized Supply Chain: Employ IoT sensors and real-time data exchange to create a transparent and interconnected supply chain network. This allows for better coordination and visibility across the supply chain, enabling timely sourcing of materials and components, reducing inventory levels, and minimizing waste.
- Sustainable Material Selection: Focus on selecting environmentally friendly and sustainable materials for custom products. This involves considering factors such as material recyclability, biodegradability, and reduced environmental impact throughout the product’s life cycle.
- Energy Efficiency: Implement energy-efficient technologies and practices in the manufacturing process. This includes optimizing equipment performance, implementing energy management systems, and integrating renewable energy sources to reduce carbon emissions and minimize energy consumption.
- Waste Reduction and Recycling: Implement waste management strategies to minimize material waste. This includes implementing recycling programs, designing products for disassembly and recyclability, and promoting a circular economy approach where materials are reused or recycled.
- Life Cycle Assessment: Conduct life cycle assessments to evaluate the environmental impact of custom products from raw material extraction to disposal. This assessment helps identify areas of improvement, prioritize sustainable practices, and make informed decisions about the selection of materials, processes, and packaging.
By integrating smart and sustainable manufacturing tenets into custom manufactory, organizations can achieve greater efficiency, reduce waste, meet customer demands for customization, and contribute to environmental sustainability. These practices can also enhance brand reputation and provide a competitive advantage in the market.
“You don’t need a ruler (scale) to make you, the geometry comes in the assembling of the parts.” Neil Gershenfeld in Self-Replicating Robots and the Future of Fabrication.
In a fascinating discourse on digital and analog aspects of computing and manufacturing, Neil sets the groundwork on the future of making. He explains how a computation describes its own construction – on how it can store the information to build itself. But how do you give birth to a thing that builds itself? This is the hard problem. In describing self-reproducing automata, he states that is the intersection where communication and computation meet fabrication. “The reason why cellular automata is important is that’s how you scale things – that’s how you make an elephant from a ribosome….. the description does not describe the thing, the description becomes the thing.” This is where Moore’s Law meets the IR (Industrial Revolution) to redefine manufacturing and provide the basis for the next generation of machines and products that make itself.
At Numorpho Cybernetic Systems (NUMO), we are defining a new paradigm called Adaptive Engineering that will build tomorrow’s smart and connected products utilizing this technique where it is an encoded evolution of a program that generates the thing, the product and provides the solution.
We are reviewing the progression of Generative AI. Our variation of it called Actionable Intelligence will provide for a context-based outcome for mechanisms of the future. We are also reviewing Stephen Wolfram (Mathematica)’ Wolfram Language plugin into ChatGPT to create a basis for engineering design based on the tenets of physmatics that we are proposing.
Transforming to digital should have people, process and technology in mind where hand-shakes, hand-offs and the handi-works are facilitated with an innate awareness of what is possible. This will be the essence for our progression to Industry and Services 5.0 that will be the basis for human-centric enablement between man and machine.
The Digital Twine reference architecture provides a comprehensive framework for organizations to achieve a Smart Manufacturing mindset that enables continuous improvement, transformation, and innovation through the use of digital technologies. Embracing smart manufacturing is critical for organizations looking to thrive in the digital era, as it enables a long-term outlook on the art of the possible and drives ongoing improvement and innovation. By adopting the Digital Twine reference architecture, organizations can develop a robust strategy for transforming their manufacturing operations and achieving their goals in the digital era.
At Numorpho, we believe that our expertise in developing connected systems validates our theme of “Everything Connected,” and we are committed to providing comprehensive solutions that help our clients achieve their manufacturing goals in the digital era.
At the end of the day, smart manufacturing is an “and story” of continuous improvement, transformation and innovation enabled by digital, and a long term outlook on the art of the possible.
NI+IN UCHIL – Founder, CEO & Technical Evangelist