In the factory of the future humans will have to come to terms with an increasingly complex world of processes, machines and components. This will require new operating concepts for optimized human-machine operations. Nimble, adaptive and intelligent manufacturing processes will be the measurement of success. The combination of “virtual” and “real” in order to get a full view of the complete value chain will allow factories to produce more rapidly, more efficiently and with greater output using fewer resources. Businesses will also be able to respond more quickly to the market, serving increased demand for individual products.
At present, the majority of manufacturing plants and production facilities around the world are putting into place systems that will make them adaptive, fully connected, analytical and more efficient. These new manufacturing systems are introducing a new industrial revolution, called factory of the future (FoF). This model marks the beginning of a new phase of manufacturing characterized by complete automation and involving an increased use of technology and field devices in and outside of the manufacturing facility. It represents the convergence of the mechanical age initiated by the industrial revolution and the digital age, in which massive amounts of information can be stored and then retrieved from data banks in the blink of an eye.
Factories of the future are oriented toward ensuring the availability of all relevant information in real time through the connectivity of all elements participating in the value chain, as well as providing the ability to deduce the optimal value chain processes from this data at the demand of the individual customer. Through the interaction of humans, objects and systems a dynamic, realtime optimized and self-organizing value chain will evolve. This value chain can be multi-vendor capable and can be adjusted for different business aims, such as costs, availability and resource consumption.
The factory of the future will increase global competitiveness and will require an unprecedented integration of systems across domains, hierarchy boundaries and life cycle phases. Many factors can contribute to establishing factories of the future, but consensus-based standards are indispensable in this process. IEC International Standards help improve plant safety, security and availability and constitute the foundation to enhance product reliability and quality. The IEC provides a platform to companies, industries and governments for meeting, discussing and developing the International Standards they require.
Manufacturers not only need to enable shorter time to market but also have to increase efficiency by reducing their operating costs, minimize the utilization of natural resources and improve the safety of their products and that of their workers. This explanation describes how factories of the future will use a system of systems (SoS) approach in which the product to be manufactured will have available all of the data necessary for its manufacturing requirements. The resulting self-organization of networked manufacturing equipment will take into account the entire value added chain, with the manufacturing sequence being determined on a flexible basis, depending on the current situation, and with the human being remaining essential as the creative planner, supervisor and decision maker of the process.
The global smart factory market is expected to total nearly USD 67 billion by 2020, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 6% from 2014 to 2020. Communication, automation, robotics and virtual simulation will change the product sector as we know it today.
The developed world is confronted with economic and monetary constraints that make it harder to maintain the production levels of recent years, while developing countries are recording a rapid increase in output. The result is that for those industrialized countries looking to remain competitive, one element, often neglected in the past but now an integral part of any bill of materials (BOM) calculation, is the cost of the energy used to produce the goods. In manufacturing, energy has always been viewed as a cost of doing business, an expense to be controlled and a large contributor to indirect costs. For example, many production lines continue to operate during holiday breaks and weekends, even in the absence of any workers. Since the industrial sector – which uses roughly 30% to 40% of total world energy – is highly sensitive to changing economic conditions, it follows that cost reduction measures introduced as the result of regulatory and consumer pressures are pushing companies to use energy more efficiently. Enhanced compatibility levels can only be achieved through the existence of consistent international standards ensuring that components from different suppliers and technologies can interact seamlessly. Continued development of common standards will ensure that data can flow between automation systems without requiring an expensive conversion or interpretation of the meaning of the data if the logic is not commonly understood.
Questions For Global Smart Factory Management:
What will the production of the future look like?
How will humans and machines communicate with each other?
Will our working worlds be adaptable to our needs?