Smart Factory: Smart solution for smart businesses

Panasonic aims to drive operational excellence for Indian manufacturers with its MirAIe Profactory Industrial IoT platform

(L-R): Masafumi Himeno, divisional MD, Smart Factory Solutions, Panasonic India; Manish Sharma, CEO, Panasonic India, Manish Misra, CIO, Panasonic India (IIC) and Atsushi Motoya, head, India Innovation Centre, Panasonic India.
(L-R): Masafumi Himeno, divisional MD, Smart Factory Solutions, Panasonic India; Manish Sharma, CEO, Panasonic India, Manish Misra, CIO, Panasonic India (IIC) and Atsushi Motoya, head, India Innovation Centre, Panasonic India.

Just before the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, Panasonic had introduced its IoT & AI enabled platform—Miraie. ‘Mirai’ is ‘future’ in Japanese while ‘ie’ means ‘home’. The platform meets the evolving needs of consumers to interact with all Panasonic smart devices—connected refrigerator, washing machine, Wi-Fi fan, ROMA smart digital switches and smart Wi-Fi controller plugs and switches—giving them a full range of Connected Living Solutions for a futuristic home. The platform has been conceptualised and developed at Panasonic’s India Innovation Centre in Bengaluru.

Cut to the present. The Japanese diversified technology conglomerate has introduced MirAIe Profactory platform, an Industrial IoT/ Smart Factory solution developed indigenously at the India Innovation Centre. This is a manufacturing Industrial IoT platform for machine and plant management. It is compatible with different types of machine, model and brands in the manufacturing space.

Here’s a quick glance at its unique selling point: One, it’s plug-and-play, simple to use, and easy to scale. Two, data is instantly usable as it eliminates time-consuming data tag mapping. Three, a user can drive immediate value as the platform comes with out-of-the-box apps with no initial development required. Four, the platform connects to everything and easily integrates machine data across your digital factory. Five and most important, the MirAIe Profactor platform provides necessary context to enable immediate action based on data points.

“MirAIe Profactory will enable Indian manufacturers to digitalise their factory operations, thus allowing enterprises to realise the true potential of Industry 4.0,” says Manish Sharma, CEO, Panasonic India. “The platform uses new-age technologies such as cloud, IoT, analytics, mobile app to name a few, to manage end-to-end operations resulting in enhanced production efficiency, quality, identifying issues and reduced downtime, creating economies of scale,” he told FE on the sidelines of the MirAIe Profactory launch at Panasonic Smart Factory Solutions India (PSFSIN) facility at Technopark in Jhajjar, Haryana.

MirAIe platform removes the manual intervention from the machine data acquisition and brings the entire shopfloor in the palm of your hand, explained the Panasonic India head. “Our cloud infrastructure helps our clients to analyse machine data on real-time basis, optimise machine operation, and improve overall equipment efficiency,” he said. The platform collects data from any machine by connecting the MirAIe Profactory gateway. Software on the gateway processes data from the machine in real-time and streams the data securely to the MirAIe Profactory cloud. The solution is currently available in four variants and is customisable from basic to advance depending on the requirement with value added features. It is successfully running at 20-odd customer locations all over the country.

“Smart factories are strategic business investments,” says Sharma. “They are helping manufacturers jumpstart to digital, offer competitive edge, innovate and improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) while saving major costs. In our pilot projects, we have been seeing an increase of 8-15% in manufacturing facility productivity. Panasonic’s MirAIe Profactory platform aims at empowering enterprises who are in the process of digital transformation.”

Elaborating on its underlying technology and methodology, Manish Misra, chief innovation officer, Panasonic India Innovation Centre said, “MirAIe Profactory is a one-stop solution for deployment, service and business intelligence needs. It empowers manufacturers to design paperless digitised shop floors, drive machine effectiveness, maximise plant operations, that is, monitor production efficiencies right from procurement to finished assembly.”

The IIoT solution from Panasonic enhances the capabilities through vertical integration, that is, hardware and software to converge operation technology (OT) and information technology (IT) to have one comprehensive view. Data analytics further enhances the OEE by providing real-time insights allowing firms to optimise assembly units faster and efficiently through predictive maintenance, real-time monitoring, and quality management processes. “Remote monitoring through mobile, one dashboard for all operations with a unique user interface are some of the additional features that will help automate and ensure contactless management,” he said.

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