Intel and partners accelerating the promise of intelligent factories
Intel and its ecosystem partners are showcasing a wide range of interconnected and intelligent technologies to enable Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions at Hannover Messe.
This includes innovative ways to leverage legacy equipment and boost automation, plus research on the challenges and complexities of today’s factories.
“In this age of rapid digital transformation, we need to reimagine manufacturing and factories as we know them. Intel, with a strong partner ecosystem, is supporting manufacturers on their journey to the intelligent factory. By providing products transforming the computing technology from the factory floor to the cloud at the edge to drive industrial process automation, Intel is empowering manufacturers to deliver on the promise of intelligent factories now,” said Christine Boles, vice president of the Internet of Things Group and general manager for the Industrial Solutions Division at Intel
Fueled by the IIoT, new factories are interconnected and data-driven. They are becoming more intelligent and responsive, with greater machine automation, increased machine-to-human interaction, and the ability to nimbly adjust and control all aspects of operations in near real-time with advanced edge compute. These factories support collaboration among humans, machines and production systems throughout the manufacturing ecosystem.
Beckhoff Automation’s* TwinCAT Vision for quality assurance (QA) brings near real-time image processing to the factory floor to proactively detect mechanical anomalies along the production line. QA processes are streamlined, minimising downtime and defects and increasing production. Powering the solution are high-performance Intel® Xeon® processors, which bring the requisite server-grade compute to the edge. Hikvision’s computer vision-guided robots, powered by Intel® Movidius™ Myriad™ 2 VPUs, are currently being used by both JD.com in its unmanned sorting centres and Mattel in its smart factory. These robots increase efficiencies and safety as they move products across the production line through final staging and warehouse areas.
As factories become more digitally connected, the question arises what to do with legacy equipment, which is often custom-built and expensive and wasn’t built with IoT in mind. At Hannover, Intel and its partners are demonstrating how to evolve condition and performance monitoring of legacy machines from hands-on human intervention to an automated process. IoT solutions can optimise legacy assets and access fresh data insights. Connectivity is just the first step. Utilising advanced software and analytics tools unlocks opportunities and enables more compute by consolidating systems at the edge and drive software-defined process automation. The EXOR* Smart Factory solution relies on this data-driven approach, utilising scalable compute, reconfigurable hardware and workload acceleration to ensure deterministic connectivity from edge to cloud. This provides reliable remote monitoring and orchestration for industrial machines.
Intelligent factories are only as effective as the collaboration between humans and machines. Workers hunger for change and “intelligent” solutions for labour-intensive jobs, but many distrust new technology. To better understand the challenges and complexities of today’s factories, Intel’s Dr Irene Petrick with Dr Faith McCreary surveyed workers and leaders from manufacturing plants and factories for the report “Industry 4.0 demands the co-evolution of workers and manufacturing operations.” Petrick will discuss this research at Hannover Messe on 27th April.