Elisa is a Finnish telecommunications, ICT and online service company. Kari Terho, the company’s Director, Smart Factory Management, reveals the company’s approach to Industry 4.0 and the development of smart factories.
How do you see the smart factory developing?
“A manufacturing unit commonly has machinery from different brands such as Fuji, Siemens, and so on, and also has different production lines. With a lot happening in the production cycle that employs various technologies, machinery, and equipment, it becomes challenging for the plant managers to recognize the loopholes affecting the production. Every machine works separately producing independent data that has to be analysed separately, which turns out to be a lengthy and time-consuming process. We believe in making all this easier for the manufacturers, and our Smart Factory solution simplifies the process by obtaining data from various machines, analysing it, and optimizing it to find a problem. It even performs the predictive maintenance and predictive failure detection. We also improve the management of complex manufacturing processes even further by making the insights easily available by creating a single 3D user interface so the factory will not need to have a separate monitor room in the future to scrutinize the devices used in the plant.”
What is the company vision relating to the 4th Industrial Revolution?
“We believe it is already here and we already have concrete examples of it with our customers. Real time data is allowing better and faster decisions. Machine learning can warn early enough so that problems can be prevented. The success depends on the cases, but for machines typically predictive maintenance can catch over 90% of existing machine stops. Adding to information on material and operations the unplanned down time can be reduced in most cases by 5 to 10%. This and more contributes to an OEE increase of several percent, again, of course dependent on machine and situation. In generally we are expecting to have 5-8% Improvement in productivity.”
How do you regard digitalisation and connectivity in the context of 4IR?
“My personal view is that the manufacturing plants which have not yet started to utilize the IoT/analytics tools to improve their productivity and quality in all production processes, including inbound and outbound operations, will struggle and will probably have serious competitive challenges in the future.”
How can the smart factory become both efficient and secure?
“Smart Factory is an idea to digitalize operations in the factory. The target is to connect and collect all the data and analyse and predict the “future”. All that is happening in the factory so there will not be any security risks as you do not need to open your factory data to the public internet.”
Industry 4.0 Summit and Factories of the Future Expo
“Events like the Industry 4.0 Summit and Factories of the Future Expo are a good place to share learnings and opinions. As a solution provider we are aware of the difficulties major manufacturing organizations are currently facing, and it’s a good medium to share our learnings and knowledge with others facing similar issues.”