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The fourth Industrial Revolution for manufacturers has arrived

World Wide Director, Industry Solutions, IBM

How blindly we were running our industrial machinery business in the past! As we embrace the fourth Industrial Revolution, products now tell us how they are performing in the field, indicating when they need to be serviced based on precise machine health information. Combining this information with how the machines are being used allows us to identify design improvement opportunities and provide guidance to the operators through easy-to-use mobile apps. Business is booming.

Thanks to the fourth Industrial Revolution, we are now seeing innovative capabilities in operations efficiency when monitoring cyber-systems:

  • With the data collected from a machinery fleet, we can understand how different equipment, such as excavators and hauling trucks, is being used and how they interact.
  • We can identify opportunities to improve fuel efficiency, reduce the cycle time from loading to dumping, and eliminate unsafe operations such as high-speed, risky trips to mines. This allows clients to cut operating costs, increase productivity and improve safety.
  • For operators, a mobile app provides virtual shields to protect the employee and identify areas where additional assistance may be necessary. Wearables enable the monitoring of employee alertness, hydration levels, proximity to dangerous equipment, environmental conditions and permits to work in hazardous areas. Unsafe exposures for employees and for equipment can be predicted and prevented  using this information.
  • The fourth Industrial Revolution is enabling us to bring what we learn in the field back to our product engineering teams, leading to exciting, original ideas. A new generation of intelligent machines is being designed to be remote, self-operating, self-diagnostic and self-healing. These machines are fully integrated with 3-D mining applications and can perform materials processing in situ, greatly reducing the need to move huge materials from underground mining.
  • In factories, the production lines are now much more flexible, enabling the machines to be configured more dynamically to fulfill specific client needs, such as the terrain and other environmental conditions where the machines will be deployed. Suppliers are now an integral part of the value chain, enabling tracking of the component/subassembly quality and supply in real time.
  • Employee engagement and satisfaction levels are at an all-time high. Workers are given mobile and social tools to empower and motivate them to contribute to the business, and are compensated according to contribution, which can now easily be tracked. This has created an environment with an incredible level of collaboration and speed to act.

The adoption of an open platform has eliminated all the previous constraints IT had imposed, freeing us to focus on all these factors to drive business innovation. And this is just the beginning; we are still in the early stages of discovering what the fourth Industrial Revolution can bring.

IBM has built an open platform to support clients with their fourth Industrial Revolution transformation. See how IBM is innovating your industry, or leave a comment to further the discussion.