A New Era of Intelligent Machinery

By Alyssa
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What if we could teach machines how to learn the way humans do?

While robots are not new to production lines, they are becoming increasingly vital in manufacturing. According to the International Federation of Robots, by 2019 there will be an additional 1.4 million industrial robots in factories around the world.  While some people are concerned that robots will take away human jobs, many feel instead that robots will open up new ways of working and entirely new types of products and services.

Robots take on increased importance as we move into a ‘production of one’ environment where – to meet demands for highly customized products – production lines must become highly adaptable in order to crank out a wide range of products.

Flexibility is now more important than efficiency in a production line,” notes Philippe Bartissol, Vice President, Industrial Equipment, Dassault Systèmes.

So, how is it that industrial robots can have the necessary impact – while still protecting human jobs?  The answer: deep learning.  Deep learning algorithms are already everywhere. It’s how your email system filters spam and how those online ads target you.  In the industrial equipment industry, deep learning will fuel momentum of artificial intelligence (AI), and this allows manufacturers to be faster and more flexible – and ultimately please their demanding customers.

These futuristic robots will be able to automate more tasks, freeing humans to do other work.  They’ll also be able to learn, adapt and teach themselves new skills just as humans can do.  And importantly, new technologies will make it much simpler to program robots – any manufacturing worker will be able to program simply by mimicking the activity to be performed; no specialized or extensive technical know-how required.

Dassault Systèmes, in conjunction with CNBC Catalyst Content Studio, created an in-depth look at the future of robots, machine learning and AI and how this will transform industrial equipment.  Check out the videos and articles here.  Then come back and tell us: do you think robots and humans can live in harmony in future factories.

A digital transformation trailblazer in the High-Tech industry

By Neno
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By Olivier RIBET, VP, High-Tech Industry

Ever since the world discovered the first smartphone in 1992 (remember Simon?) the world has experienced 20 years of technology breakthroughs that have transformed the very nature of communications and exchanges. Mobile devices are proliferating at a dizzying pace enabling billions of people to interact with one other and with data in general. Machines communicate with other machines in the fast-growing age of the Internet of Things (IoT). The Cloud enables people and businesses to access shared resources, data and services on-demand, avoiding upfront IT investments, scaling up and down their information system. This hyper-connectivity is revolutionizing the way we work, play, shop, take the bus, plan a vacation, drive a car, entertain ourselves, eat, …. The implications are simply mind-boggling.

A hyper-connected world creates new opportunities to solve some of man’s biggest challenges:

  • Growing urban populations require solutions to address life quality issues such as traffic management, environmentally-friendly constructions, intelligent mobility solutions, security,
  • Provide connectivity solutions for developing countries to aid in their progress,
  • Bring globally dispersed businesses closer together through efficient networking,
  • Reduce raw material consumption, waste and obsolescence of products.

A society to reach one’s full potential

Swedish telecom giant, Ericsson, calls this the Networked Society where communication technologies create new possibilities and behaviors that empower people to reach their full potential. At the core of the Networked Society is a transformation of the way we interact with the world and the world with us. Information and communication technologies (ICT) developed by Ericsson are a driving force in this hyper-connected age. Consider some interesting facts:

  • 40% of all mobile traffic in the world uses networks supplied by Ericsson,
  • 5 billion mobile subscribers are supported by Ericsson,
  • Ericsson has 39,000 patents (it invented Bluetooth by the way).

Yet as technologies progress so do society’s needs, giving rise to newer technologies. Businesses at every level are feeling the pressure of the digital disruption brought on by 5G, IoT and the Cloud pushing them to implement the necessary transformations in their companies to satisfy the world’s rapidly changing demands.

ICT providers like Ericsson are facing stiff competition to develop and deliver products and services at such an accelerated pace. Moreover, the fact that mobile systems are governed by global standards (developed by Ericsson and the telecom industry together) forces product functionality to meet the standards. Plus, at the core of their innovation process, they need to continuously leverage the potential of their globally-dispersed teams, manage rich product portfolios, drive open innovation on a large scale, while securing Intellectual Property.

Carving the path to the telco industry’s digital transformation

After an extensive period comparing and benchmarking thoroughly major PLM and IT vendors on the market, evaluating their products and the companies themselves from all angles, Ericsson decided to take its industry’s lead with an ambitious and comprehensive digital transformation of its activities – internally and in the way it interacts with its ecosystem. Every company process will be impacted by this transformation – R&D, marketing, purchasing, sales, administration, as well as supplier and partner relationship management.

To drive this transformation, Ericsson is intensifying its partnership with Dassault Systèmes by adopting the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and the Business Operation Excellence industry solution experience as the company’s product data foundation. This will replace its existing mainframe environment and disparate legacy solutions. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will deliver and manage end-to-end digital continuity across all functions at Ericsson.

“We are talking about a business transformation,” said Joakim Cerwall, PLM sponsor and head of PLCM operations at Ericsson. “What we are trying to do is create an end-to-end digital thread and the choice of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform on the PLM side is a reflection of this.”

“We’re dealing with a core process of Ericsson,” Johan Torstensson, Ericsson CIO added. “We can’t bet on new technology that doesn’t work. We looked at many cases where companies are using this platform; references have been essential.”

30 min video, featuring Johan Torstensson outlines the strategic choice for the strong partnership. This breakthrough decision will deliver numerous benefits for both sides:

  • Ericsson reduces its costs as legacy software is more expensive to maintain and upgrade,
  • Ericsson gains in efficiency and data continuity since everyone works with the same tools,
  • Ericsson benefits from a unified, digital environment that enables easy and secure access to hardware, software, and service information from anywhere and at any time improving transparency, traceability, reporting, and collaborative innovation,
  • Dassault Systèmes wins a major service reference in the telco industry that will showcase the power of its 3DEXPERIENCE platform to deliver ambitious and sustainable change.

Big bang

Ericsson’s transformation will be a phased process with an initial milestone slated for July 2017. This is when 25,000 R&D employees will switch from the old system to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Following what Ericsson calls this “big bang”, the company will progressively give access to a large part of its employees -technical and non-technical people – for a total of nearly 60 000 employees worldwide. Ericsson expects to profit primarily from IT savings in the first year with big business savings and improved efficiencies down the line in year two, three and four. This is when the telco giant expects to obtain the most value from its investment thanks to a more streamlined development process.

Dassault Systèmes will take the lead in implementing Ericsson’s transformation, supported by IBM as services integrator. We are proud to accompany Ericsson in this journey and to partner with the company in its digital transformation, which will allow it to leverage the surge in the world’s IoT data traffic and machine-to-machine communications. It’s all about providing the world with more compelling and engaging experiences. With Dassault Systèmes’ technologies, new solutions can be invented to make our cities and devices smarter, manufacturing more efficient and social networking more fluid. It is inspirational to see companies like Ericsson question the old way of doing things by digitally transforming its processes to face the challenges that lie ahead in this age of experience.

Watch the full story!

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Next-Generation Factories Need Next-Generation Engineers

By Alyssa
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As manufacturers prioritize the search for new ways to eliminate waste and raise productivity, technology is a critical piece of the puzzle.  The Industrial Internet of Things, robotics and additive manufacturing – to name just a few – are increasingly vital to the success of both products and the bottom line.  Factories of the future – also known as Smart Factories or Industry 4.0 – are marked by humans and technology working together in a way that seamlessly combines the virtual and physical worlds.  But…are the humans in this equation up to the task?

Many experts argue that answer is not yet, and that engineering education needs a fresh approach in order to meet the skills demanded by this new environment.  Entirely new business models are emerging as the virtual world becomes more tightly integrated with the physical world.  The next generation of engineers must be taught in an interdisciplinary way, so that they understand not just their specific area of expertise, but how it fits into the other disciplines it takes to bring a product to market in the fastest and most effective way.  They also benefit from an approach that mimics that virtual collaboration and cross-cultural teams that are found in the working model of most organizations today.  If students are not educated in a way that considers the global, interdisciplinary teams that are a hallmark of the modern factory, they’ll have to learn on the job which drags down productivity.

Compass magazine recently explored these challenges in an article entitled, Factory of the Future.  Check it out to read about innovative programs being established at educational institutions around the world – specifically Germany, France, India and the US – in order to turn out next-generation engineers.  It takes a look at how more school programs are bringing in current manufacturing practitioners to learn more about what is needed in their businesses, and help design learning environments that can best prepare students for the high-level technical skills as well as the collaboration mindset needed to excel in today’s factory model.

Dassault Systèmes is proudly partnering with some of these institutions to help them train future engineers on the digital technologies and business processes that they’ll need to work in these future factories.  Check out a recent program with l’Université de Lorraine.

What do you think tomorrow’s engineers most need to learn before entering the workforce?  Are there some specific skills that should be taught that would benefit your organization or your country’s manufacturing goals?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Images © Ute Grabowsky /Getty Images) and ©iStock



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