Tomorrow’s Factories Today
Proekspert’s MEF helps manufacturers make tomorrow’s factories more like today’s mobile platforms.
Everyone involved in manufacturing knows machines can talk, but who they can talk to and what they can say is fairly limited. We are working with manufacturers to change all that.
Proekspert’s involvement in Industry 4.0 began with an observation by Terry London, Product owner, after having studied dozens of client factories: Factories were modernizing, certainly, but they needed to make their machines much smarter in order to make incredible leaps in efficiency.
The ‘What if’ moment
We noticed that many subcontracting factories were built on a high-mix/low-volume model. A single factory line could consist of ten machines from at least three different manufacturers, making machine connectivity a major headache for industry.
In a typical assembly line, every single machine needed to be integrated with the IT system one at a time on an individual basis. And replacing a machine meant recreating all the interactions from scratch.
Why not offer a plug-in based solution, one which could be shared by factories? This would not only end the massive waste of human resources required to integrate machines, but it would also enable flexibility and automation to advance by leaps and bounds.
Helping machines talk
Proekspert software engineers are leveraging their history with ingelligent machines and secure interconnections in a bold new program for factory floors. What our engineers learned for example by developing drives to ventilate car tunnels in Monaco is now being applied to electronics factories, eager to use the fastest and newest technologies available in their assembly lines.
The solution is termed the MEF, Modular Electronics Factories. It integrates data streams from machinery, software, and human interfaces with plugins that could eventually be purchased from an open electronics factory marketplace. It is, in essence, a new layer called the Modular Factory Platform, which connects everything, making the installation of a new device or application in an electronics assembly plant as easy as installing a new app on a smartphone.
Proof of concept
For its pilot Proekspert engaged two international electronics manufacturers. The pilot’s specific goal is to achieve cost- and lead time reductions, improvements in flexibility and scalability for assembly lines, increased security, as well as to generate data for predictive analysis.
GE and Oracle have formed a strategic partnership to digitally connect industrial assets. They’re forerunners in getting machines to talk to one another, but for proof of concept testing it’s a level playing field. For us, small- and medium-sized factories are ideal. You manage risk carefully, connect it piece by piece. It’s important to understand we’re not tearing anything down. We’re just letting the system talk.
Revolution through communication
We believe that if you create this kind of communication layer, the next step can be really amazing – it is a form of simplification which will enable great leaps forward in flexible supply chain models.
Although Proekspert is currently onboarding and new pilot customers on daily basis, we would still like to bring more partners into the pilot, particularly those in joint development, consulting, and technology licensing. We recognize true innovation happens when people from a variety of industries come together. Join our mission here.