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We live in a new era where technology is driving significant business transformation. In this new era, we believe every industry will be transformed, every business will be transformed, and every enterprise will become a data and a software company.

Data is key. Here is a recommended approach to competing in this new era: focus on the business outcomes you are looking to drive and understand where the relevant, critical data resides. Adopt a data culture, connect your enterprise to get rid of silos and ensure seamless data flow, get to new insights from the connected enterprise, take actions on those quickly and achieve outcomes that you are set out to achieve. Then, start again. I know this is easy to say, but hard to do. Yet, this may be the only way to thrive, if not survive, in this era.

Delivering digital excellence in manufacturing

Partnering with Microsoft, our customers and partners—the disrupting, leading enterprises of today—are making this digital transformation real. We displayed many exciting examples of their success in our booth at this year’s Hannover Messe 2017.

These impressive use cases were not simply demonstrations, but real-life scenarios from leading brands such as Bosch Rexroth, Comau, Daimler, DMG Mori, Ecolab, Jabil, Rockwell Automation, Sandvik Coromant, Sarcos Robotics, Siemens, Tetra Pak, thyssenkrupp, Volkswagen and others—all companies realizing true value today.

Feedback from industry analysts and our customers was that no other vendor was showcasing the level of innovation as we were, further establishing our leadership position in terms of delivering true digital transformation in the manufacturing industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living Industry 4.0: Progress and proof

I’d like to highlight a few examples that show how Industry 4.0 is real from both a horizontal and vertical integration perspective.

Tetra Pak is a stellar example of a company that is predicting and avoiding equipment breakdowns through the power of Microsoft’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, bringing unprecedented levels of quality and predictability into their service business. Tetra Pak does not stop there. They have deployed Microsoft HoloLens devices that allow Tetra Pak engineers to tap into any technical manual or 3D drawing while they are working on the machine with two free hands. You can imagine how hard, if not impossible, it is for a person—regardless of how experienced that person may be—to know all the different machine makes, models, and configurations and deal with those expertly and timely at customers’ sites. It gets better. Skype for Business also allows for seamless integration with experts back at headquarters for more complex situations. With that, Tetra Pak can multiply expertise and knowledge in a very cost-effective way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockwell Automation demonstrated Industry 4.0 end-to-end, from edge security, to edge analytics and compute, to advanced analytics and machine learning. This was all integrated into their manufacturing environment and then executed both on the plant floor and with customer-facing employees in the field.

Microsoft’s use of our own technology in our manufacturing operation was the proof-point that hit home in terms of how we maximize the impact of data on both the shop floor and at an executive-level decision making level. We showed how, at Microsoft Manufacturing, we have complete visibility across customers, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, parts, components, plants and performance levels—all the way down to the machine or person. Microsoft digital plants give everyone one version of the truth—and in real-time. We demonstrated how liberating this is for the leadership, for cash flow, and for customer satisfaction.

The next step was to get to “being predictive,” and this is where we are today. We are able to predict and take action on suppliers, batches, components, lines, people, etc. This simply empowers every employee to make intelligent decisions on the spot. The next step allows for decisions to make themselves, so to speak. This is the cognitive phase. This is where we are headed. This is about self-healing processes and automated execution. At this stage, the leadership team and senior experts are able to focus on making strategic decisions, not fire-fighting or problem solving. This is a sophisticated story that blew everyone away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Re-defining the digital twin

Another key highlight at the event was how Microsoft, along with our partners and customers, were re-defining a new class of digital twin through the use of HoloLens and mixed reality technology.

Volkswagen and Jabil, with its consulting arm Radius, showed how they are using digital twin technology to design next generation products and user experiences—all without the need to build prototypes or conduct focus groups. Mixed reality capabilities are saving these manufacturers months of design time and hundreds of thousands of dollars to deliver the right solution the first time.

ICONICS and Comau showed how to create a digital twin for an entire process that included a digital twin of a robot and a digital twin of a manufacturing line with asset, quality and production information as well as KPIs and dashboards. Using the digital twin, you can interact with all components, robots, slow down or change the process or even train the robots for future improvements.

Deschutes Brewery presented an entire brewery leveraging digital twin and mixed reality technology that enables a direct view inside the tanks to check things like fermentation and temperature, as well as monitor inventory levels, customer information, and supply chain data in order to take any action needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Act today!

These are just a few of the very powerful examples of Industry 4.0 in production today.

Our visitors were quick to reach a conclusion that when we say we are delivering excellence in digital manufacturing today, this is real. Our customers were not talking about technology.  They were talking to business outcomes they have achieved already by partnering with Microsoft.  They were talking about how they change the way they run their businesses, how they compete, how they make decisions or how they innovate.

There is no right or wrong way to get started, but you must take action today regardless of your size or industry. Microsoft is here to help. Be sure to download our free resource pack of Industry 4.0 videos, eBooks, whitepapers, and other materials that will help you get started in driving your own excellence in digital manufacturing today.

I look forward to hearing about your success!

Twitter: @Caglayan_Arkan