Accenture, Dublin, Ireland, and 3YOURMIND, Berlin, Germany, have announced a partnership to implement a distributed manufacturing platform through machine connectivity at the Accenture Industrial Internet of Things Center in Garching, near Munich, Germany.
Distributed manufacturing as a solution in terms of supply chain disruption is at the heart of the post-pandemic debate: this model involves a digital network of decentralised manufacturing sites, spread across multiple locations and connected by digital technology.
The model leverages the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to drive digital transformation forward. Industrial IoT uses a network of apps or sensors to collect production data from machines and push it into software to turn that data into valuable information about the efficiency of manufacturing operations. When it comes to Additive Manufacturing, machine connectivity is at the forefront of IIoT, as it enables the transfer of data across globally connected manufacturing networks.
With machine connectivity, operators now have a complete view of the shop floor with live machine data, enabling production monitoring, performance analysis, and identification of predictive maintenance and machine status in real time.
Within Accenture Industry X Innovation Centers, Industry X is intended to act as a wholesale digital transformation in terms of both the things manufactured and and the way these are made. But with the rapid pace of change, transformation is impossible without innovation. To overcome this, Accenture has introduced the Industry X Innovation network, which can help companies harness, rapidly implement and scale the latest digital technologies and services.
Accenture assists companies in driving ongoing digital transformation, new growth and heightened customer experiences. Whether the goal is transforming operations, reinventing products, improving customer and worker experiences, or realising new business models, IX Innovation Centres are built as ideal places to explore new business opportunities and bring them to fruition.
Accenture has various industry centres worldwide to experiment new technologies and new processes; one of their centres in Munich is the seat of an experimental project to draw the future shop floor of Industry 4.0. The goal of this project is to implement the basis of a successful distributed manufacturing model and spread the business model on all the centres.
The main focusses in fully realising this distributed manufacturing goal are:
- Collecting and analysing all part requirements and data from different machines and different locations
- The ability to incorporate varied manufacturing technologies and machines in one central platform
- The ability to prioritise, track and schedule parts for production in real time from different locations
- Monitoring and analysing the results locally and globally
3YOURMIND intends to leverage its experience in software and machine connectivity to overcome this these challenges to connect the entire IoT center shop floor, thereby optimising production flow.
In order to collect and analyse the data from different sources and locations, the Agile MES (Manufacturing Execution System) platform will be used to optimise scheduling, transparency and quality assurance tracking along the AM production chain from manufacturing to post-processing. Agile MES can process multiple machine ‘languages’ in a standardised way, allowing the data to be collated for easier analytics. The platform will not only pull data from AM machines, but is intended to be used to reflect real-time production information from engineers and designers.
This real-time machine data also allows engineers to track production progress, regardless of the technology or physical location, with specific data points is captured to provide documentation for an audit trail of a successful production. The machine manufacturers that opt to be part of this network will make it easier for their customers to use a smaller subset of software systems and increase production by streamlining processes. With this more transparent AM environment, management and operators may be able to improve analytics through the entire process, from customer management to production, and make more informed decisions.