The world of manufacturing is undergoing a major step change. Terms like Smart Manufacturing, Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 are top of mind for many manufacturing executives. There are many new technologies coming together to create artificial intelligence solutions, digital twins, digital threads, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), augmented and virtual reality systems, and much more. This smart technology, together with many smart people, is creating the fourth industrial revolution and driving economic growth through manufacturing.
With all this technology coming together, everyone seems to be looking at it from their own points of view. This means there is quite a bit of confusion out there with practitioners not sure how all this technology fits together or how it really achieves the benefits everyone is claiming.
MESA International, the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association, is developing a new Smart Manufacturing Model that will cut through the hype and the fluff to provide a simple, easy-to-use model for Smart Manufacturing.
There is no doubt that we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, but the size and impact of it still depends on us. That is why MESA is building this new model, to add even more power to the revolution and ensure that its impact is global, large and long-lasting.
A model is typically defined as an abstract definition of something that exists in the real world. But a model needs structures to work. MESA decided that the most advanced structure in its new model would be the life cycle.
This term was chosen because everything has a life cycle. Each lifecycle will have several functions defined within it that, when combined, will provide manufacturers with the complete solutions they need for their businesses.
To make this Smart Manufacturing model applicable to real situations, MESA also models the interactions between the various life cycles and details the technological threads that span across the life cycles. In the new model, these threads are referred to as “cross-lifecycle threads” and “enabling technologies.”
MESA intends for the model to be used by almost everyone in the industrial space. The new Smart Manufacturing model will break the landscape into manageable pieces so that everyone can understand the components and speak a common language. As such, the Smart Manufacturing model will serve as both a reference model and a prescriptive model.
By detailing the individual pieces and their interactions, it will provide everyone who uses the model with the common viewpoints needed to understand and communicate about the entire Smart Manufacturing landscape. This will help industry better evaluate technologies to ultimately determine how well they fit their own businesses.
Here is a list of the lifecycles and technologies covered by the model:
- Life cycles—production, production asset, product, supply chain, labor, order-to-cash.
- Threads inter-lifecycles—quality, compliance, energy, analytics, security, digital twin/digital thread, modeling/simulation.
- Enabling technologies—IIoT, Big Data, artificial intelligence/machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, edge to cloud, blockchain, additive manufacturing, robotics and wireless. Whether it is technology providers, manufacturers, analysts or engineering companies, everyone using the model will have a common language and understanding of the Smart Manufacturing landscape.
This really is a great time to be in manufacturing with many new technologies and business models evolving. That’s why there’s excitement about manufacturing the C-series down like we’ve never seen before.
The new MESA Smart Manufacturing model seeks to build on this excitement. It will help point the way to the future and give everyone a framework to truly understand the value of Smart Manufacturing.