The Digital Transformation is Improving Productivity and Agility

Digitizing the process from order entry and design, to manufacturing the product relies on standards-based information models that provide the framework for data exchange and the integration of IT and OT systems.

Thought leaders in digital manufacturing transformation, from PARC, ITAMCO, MTConnect Institute, and VIMANA, worked together on a project for DMDII called ‘Standards-based Platform for Enterprise Communication enabling Optimal Production and Self-awareness’ (SPEC-OPS) in response to project call 15-03-02 ‘Communications Standards for Intelligent Manufacturing’. Using a standards based information models they created an agile, smart manufacturing technology platform with pluggable components.

No single vendor of information technology (IT) or operation technology (OT) systems can solve the digital transformation challenge alone, all these systems need to be integrated and interoperable. The IDC states that 35% of large global manufacturers with smart manufacturing initiatives will integrate IT and OT systems to achieve advantages in efficiency and response time by 2019.

While MES and ERP systems do a great job in capturing orders and scheduling delivery, they offer no support in process planning, dynamic scheduling, equipment utilization, or ways to integrate agile design to meet a wide range of customer requirements. Manufacturers need to update their operational models to increase productivity and agility. When integrating systems and leveraging the best-of-breed technology and processes, manufactures can attain the ultimate gains in their factories. The IDC states that 75% of large manufactures will update their operations and operational models with IoT and analytics based situational awareness to mitigate risk and speed time to market.

The IDC also states that by the end of 2020, 50% of manufacturers will derive business value from the integration of supply chain, plant operations, and product and service life-cycle management. The standards used in this project enable sharing of vital manufacturing information from order entry in ERP systems with digital design in CAD, to automated planning and CAM for the manufacturing process and engineering, which generate machine programs, routing, scheduling and maintenance with real-time feedback from the shop floor to adapt to issues and make decisions to ensure on-time delivery. This end-to-end digital transformation and integration of IT and OT systems will enable a closed-loop, fully agile process.