Create value through connected manufacturing, sustainability and transformation

The world of connected manufacturing has moved quickly in the last 18 months, partly as a result of COVID-19, and the desire for more automation in manufacturing operations. However, technology changes have also played a part in how we approach connected manufacturing to ensure that the implementation is not left in silos, and thus leaving the value of the project somewhat constrained. Euan Pirie, Industrial Sector Technical Leader, and Alexandra Lynk, Associate Partner, Data & Technology Transformation, IBM, explain further.

One exciting area is the convergence of 5G, Edge and AI. 5G does not look to solve the challenges in connected manufacturing on its own, but by bringing together the three technologies we can unlock the value already in the business. 5G allows low latency, high bandwidth connectivity, and combined with support for density in terms of how many more IoT sensors we can handle today, this unlocks a huge amount of data from tracing where parts or tools are, to allow real-time data from production equipment. Edge is a technology that allows us to decide what to do with that data, from displaying real-time data, mobile applications, or through AI as we move towards predictive maintenance models.

IBM is working with the 5G Factory of the Future consortium in the UK, with the AMRC, BAE, MTT, Miralis and aql to prove out these use cases in manufacturing in an open access testbed. The company is also delivering similar projects in Singapore with Samsung, and with Verizon in Texas, all helping customers understand how these technologies can be used and supporting them on their journey to unlock the value in their business.


Connected Manufacturing IoT Stock Image


Equally, sustainability is a topic that is a key priority of a number of companies. As we embrace a new era of driving the need for change, innovation, transparency and collaboration, environmental and industrial leadership for sustainability across businesses must sit foundational to any business sustainability strategy in driving universal long-term value. IBM made the commitment to voluntarily publish out CO2 emissions back in 1995 and continue to evolve company ambitions, with the aim today to be net zero by 2030.

IBM also works with clients to deliver this new value through innovation and a solid ESG strategy. This enables customers to effectively transform their business for sustainability through industry leading solutions and services by integrating across the following areas:

Climate risk management

The 2007 Japanese tsunami is an example of the kind of disruption weather can have on supply chains across the globe. With extreme weather occurring more frequently, the integration into proprietary and third-party geospatial, weather and IoT data for prediction and planning of critical weather events is essential, closely followed with failure to adapt to climate change.

The art to sustainable development and preparing for the unexpected is in how effectively we respond with and employ advanced analytics on our assets, employees and customers, and intelligent workflows to reimagine processes to ensure business continuity for maximum impact.

Resilient infrastructure and intelligent operations

IoT data and AI are intrinsic to greener operational decisions. IBM creates resilient, sustainable IoT infrastructure and operations with intelligent asset management, transforming assets by extending the life of each, rather than a simple focus on the finite lifecycle of maintenance, refurbishment or replacement.

IBM is enabling the next generation of asset management through the incorporation of end-to-end sustainability via enterprise asset management. By adding the power of data, analytics, IoT and AI, this asset data analysed with AI will provide deep insights and increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, C02 waste generated, and resources consumed.

Sustainable supply chain

Having a transparent supply chain is key to a sustainable future. IBM can help reduce waste and lower cost-to-serve by providing greater supply-chain visibility through traceability. By tackling complex Scope 3 emission challenges by establishing product provenance across the supply chain, IBM use trusted connectivity through blockchain, hybrid-cloud integration and advanced AI to extend existing supply chain investments. The company does this by using intelligent automation and fuelling the next generation of supply chain with interconnected, intelligent and self-correcting digital transformation via real-time intelligence and actionable recommendations.

Electrification and energy and emissions management

IBM aims to ensure digital capabilities operationalise at scale. Pivotal is the acceleration of net zero decarbonisation plans through clean electrification, energy reductions and enhancement of grid efficiency, safety, reliability and resilience with intelligent asset management for energy and utilities. Data and digital transformation will play a pivotal role in the energy transition as we capitalise on AI to improve experiences for every energy and utilities customer.