We started putting modelling in there but not behaviour modelling. And then progressively we covered most of the aspects of what manufacturing is all about.
On the sidelines of a recent annual event, ‘Manufacturing in the Age of Experience’, hosted by French software company Dassault Systemes in Shanghai, the company’s DELMIA CEO Guillaume Vendroux talked to Rajesh Ravi about sustainable manufacturing and the effect that digital transformation can have on a company. Edited excerpts:
What is the significance of this forum in terms of the market and sustainability? When you mention sustainability vis-à-vis smart manufacturing , what would be the steps to get into that?
The focus here is on sustainability because sustainability is a natural consequence of industrialisation. So, for us sustainability is not just in protecting the environment but also in establishing a sustainable relationship in perspective with another company in the ecosystem with strong focus on the process in the future. The prerequisite to sustainable transformation is digital transformation. So, I would say smart factory is a prerequisite to sustainability. Smart manufacturing addressed the problem of autonomy of the team and agility and support decision-making. Smart factory was a lot about IoT, automation and the likes. The part that sustainability brings is optimisation. So, smart factory will allow you to have good visibility on data. Good ability to place in IOs and see various options. So, we are going a step further as we are leveraging not only the ability to place an IO but the ability to optimise. I would say if I had to find one word, it would be systemwise optimisation.
The current thinking is that sustainability is both a society and a business imperative. Why is this?
The first thing to consider is that in 1950, the global population was 2.5 billion. Now, it’s 7 billion and rising. This means we cannot produce and consume the same way that we did in the 20th century. At the same time, today’s consumers want to buy and consume sustainable products and feel good about the businesses they support. People are expecting companies to evolve how they produce and do business, with greater consideration on their impact on the environment and society. They also want to know that the workforce of these firms are treated well. Sustainability is a “must be” and “must behave.” But it is also a tremendous opportunity ,the green
marketplace is worth trillions, and it’s clearly a business and innovation driver.
What, do you think, would the factory of the future look like?
For me, it will be cloud and 5G just because it is simpler. Cloud, because you click it and you have it, and 5G because it is fast and efficient. And obviously, with the level of data you are going to have, if you want the bandwidth and ease of usage, 5G is certainly the answer and you see that. You see that all the big actors of 5G are looking at manufacturing as one of the first applications because it will simplify things. Now, factory of the future is highly flexible, highly agile and very fast. Very fast in the adaptation it can make or in the production rate and the flexibility is also about speed and the speed of adaptation to the changing market. When I say the changing market, I mean the changing market every month, every day. A set of solutions to flexibility with autonomous self which can basically assemble whatever they want. So the products are on an automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) and the product stays on the AGV and the AGV goes from station to station to progressively get the product done. So, the notion of assembly line disappears. Any type of solution that will provide flexibility and agility is probably mostly based on automation and autonomy in decision-making.
What are your plans on digital prints?
We have models, CAD, then pure geometric. Then we started putting something more. We started putting modelling in there but not behaviour modelling. And then progressively we covered most of the aspects of what manufacturing is all about. And that was the digital twin. Now, if we hear a stock, we don’t talk about digital, we talk about 3D experience. And the difference is for us to be fully valuable, that model needs to be executable, that is, I need to be able to drive execution from the model.
Singapore-based provider of ground handling and catering services SATS has also taken to the digital twin. SAT has a digital twin kitchen. But I would like to say that SAT gets the 3D experience that is from modernisation of the kitchen by deciding so they can execute the recipe on the shop floor and drive the execution. They just have a digital dream now, but they are not using it as a smart factory. They have a model and they just use it to simulate and understand and take decisions. But they don’t execute. They don’t produce based on digital twin.
Travel for this interview was sponsored
by Dassault Systemes