At the core of a Smart Factory or Industry 4.0 strategy is the ability to use groups of machines in concert, to create value greater than the sum of the parts. These are often referred to as cyber physical systems, but sometime also as closed loops, feedback, loops or even feedforward loops.
The National Science Foundation defines a cyber physical system (CPS) as follows: A mechanism that is controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with the Internet and its users. In cyber-physical systems, physical and software components are deeply intertwined, each operating on different spatial and temporal scales, exhibiting multiple and distinct behavioral modalities, and interacting with each other in a myriad of ways that change with context. Examples of CPS include smart grid, autonomous automobile systems, medical monitoring, process control systems, robotics systems, and automatic pilot avionics.
The applications in question for this debate are focused in the smart factory and rest around how groups of machines, and therefore groups of vendors and their software systems, can work together to deliver enhanced value. For example, feedback and feedforward loops that take information from one machine and use that to adjust another, as well as collecting data that can be used to prevent the fault from occurring in the future. The addition of analytics is where it becomes more compelling in terms of value, allowing process improvements to occur and even feedback to be provided to product design. Add in some form of machine learning or artificial intelligence and the value really starts to ramp up, as machines work in harmony to deliver the best outcome.
Shawn Robinson, senior product manager at Panasonic Factory Solutions; Joel Scutchfield, Americas sales manager at Koh Young; and Wayne Wang, business development manager, ITW EAE talked to me during APEX 2018 in San Diego about the projects they have worked on together and their plans for the future.
Filmed on location in San Diego at the SCOOPstudio with the sponsorship of Aegis Software, Cogiscan, Fuji America, Jabil, KIC, Koh Young and Radius Innovation.