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Transform Manufacturing with Innovation

Since the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing has been centered around growth and innovation. While factories and products have changed, so have the technology and inventions used to power the sector. Modern manufacturing has transcended the physical form to use the industrial metaverse and digital simulations to replicate production and work across the product line. 

Manufacturing is no longer confined to the physical policies of the world; its digital world allows for expanded use cases and explorations. 

Digital Twin and Digital Thread

Manufacturers exist in a continually competitive landscape. Talent, inflation, and supply chain constraints continue to shift manufacturing expectations and force innovation and cost optimization to succeed. One way to do so? Optimize digital simulations to refine products, processes, and decisions to transform business operational plans. 

Digital twins are the digital simulation and replication of products and assets. They unlock the possibility to virtually test products and processes under simulated environments through Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. Digital threads are the means of connecting and processing data through its lifecycle, providing real-time information on the product’s lifecycle. By utilizing the readily available feedback, businesses can accelerate the introduction and evolution of connected products and simulate the outcomes using digital twins. Essentially, predicting things before they happen. Twenty-eight percent of manufacturers have already rolled out digital twins, and 4% have them across entire factories. 

With the implementation of digital twins, partners of Microsoft have experienced up to 30% reduction in new product development time, up to a 40% improvement in product performance, and up to 16% improvement in on-time and complete shipments. Bosch has implemented digital twins of their plants to predict maintenance of heavy machinery. With data trigger alerts to symptoms of wear appeal, the feedback loop operates as a ‘brain,’ directing technicians to operate at the most efficient times. 

Transforming Business Operations with Digital Engineering

The next level of manufacturing innovation takes us from the simulated universe to the clouds. Cloud-based platforms offer the ability to ensure accurate product definition and increase operational agility with cloud-based engineering workstations, including Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), and Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) applications. This secure infrastructure removes the necessity of physical applications, reducing R&D costs, new product development lead times, and design iteration cycle times. Without the physical devices needed in traditional settings, companies consume less power and therefore reduce carbon emissions at the plant level, increasing the benefits towards greater business functionality and sustainability.

Increasing IT performance with high-performance computing (HPC) maximizes applications with the capacity to include complex calculations, increased operational agility, and the higher quality utilization of IT resources. Ninety-six percent of manufacturing decision makers that have already implemented HPC say that it’s a game changer for product and process innovation. HPC drives business value with operational cost and time savings.

Increased innovation within factories creates the opportunity for the manufacturing workforce to evolve. Greater technical applications open the path for an increase in remote or hybrid engineers – widening the constrained talent pool, as engineering programs are not confined to a physical space at the office. 

Rolls-Royce leveraged Microsoft’s Azure cloud to deliver a collaborate environment supporting an extended supply chain and decrease the necessity of physical prototyping. Through the cloud-based simulations of scale, they gained increased agility, reduction costs, and faster responses to regulatory and compliance needs.

Delivering New Value

Cloud-based platforms, HPC, and IoT can be applied to product development and engineering processes, which also allow manufacturers to gain insights from how their customers are using products. This results in deeper customer relationships, insights for product innovations, and the potential to unlock new sources of revenue through offering services with your connected products. 

Lexmark utilizes their cloud computing platform to help solve customers’ problems and uses data from their printers that impact design, manufacturing, distribution, and customer support. 

Johnson Controls OpenBlue Enterprise Manager collects, analyzes, and visualizes building data so you can seamlessly translate insights in action. JCI OpenBlue and Microsoft’s goal is to provide connected solutions across the building environment for both people and systems. It’s like a partnership, really; your building becomes not just a resource, but an ally in helping produce better and more productive outcomes for you and for your employees.

While many of these digital technologies are not new to the market, they have evolved and grown to provide clear value and fast ROI to manufacturers. Where will the digital future take you next?

Learn how partnering with Microsoft to build secure connections throughout the product lifecycle can deliver new value, insights, and innovations to your customers and organization. Thank you to Microsoft for being an underwriting partner of Manufacturers Alliance.