How Is the Automotive Industry Handling the New Industrial Revolution?

Bill Gates is alleged to have once quipped that "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $ 25 cars that got 1,000 MPG." Even though the authenticity of this quote is questionable, it has been circulated throughout the internet for years because there is something about the sentiment that rings true to us. It certainly does not seem that the automotive industry has kept up with advancing technology the way that the computer industry has.

This may be due in part to the manufacturing infrastructure that has evolved over the years. Making sweeping upgrades to equipment and / or processes seems a very expensive and risky proposition. & Nbsp; When you couple this with the fact that many automobile manufacturers today struggle to find enough demand for their current supply, it is easy to understand why keeping up with the latest technology isn't always a top priority.

The problem with this reluctance, though, is that automobiles are not inexpensive consumables that people buy casually. Customers expect vehicles to come with the highest standards of safety and efficiency. Customers expect the latest technology possible. How can manufacturers keep up with this demand for innovation without changing their processes?

It seems that some manufacturers are beginning to embrace the ways of the modern industrial world, and are finding ways to align their business models with the current wave of interconnectivity and streamlined automation.

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama

Honda's largest light truck production facility in the world – a 3.7 million square foot plant – was faced with a problem all too common to large manufacturing facilities. Over the years, a number of different automation systems were introduced to help streamline production. With operations including blanking, stamping, welding, painting, injection molding, and many other processes involved in producing up to 360,000 vehicles and engines per year, it is not surprising that they found themselves struggling to integrate PLCs from multiple manufacturers, multiple MES systems, analytic systems, and database software from different vendors.

Of course, on top of these legacy systems, Honda continued to layer an array of smart devices on the plant floor and embed IT devices in plant equipment. The complexity introduced by this array of automation systems turned out to be slowing down the operations they were intended to streamline.

After reorganizing their business structure to merge IT and plant floor operations into a single department, Honda proceeded to deploy a new automation software platform that enabled them to bring together PLC data with the data coming from MES and ERP systems into a common interface that allowed the entire enterprise to be managed through a single system. This also allowed Honda to manage and analyze much larger data sets that revealed new opportunities for further optimization. While this reorganization required a significant investment of resources, they were able to realize benefits immediately, and ultimately positioned themselves to maintain a competitive edge through the next decade or more.

Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company operates a global network of manufacturing operations, and have had difficulty when trying to promote collaboration and share best practices between their various plants. They found a solution using technology based on the Google Earth infrastructure.

Ford was able to develop a cloud-based application that stores 2D and 3D representations of Ford's global manufacturing facilities, and allows users to navigate through these virtual environments, place pins, and upload video, images and documents to these pins that are shared throughout Ford's global operations. Engineers and operators can share information about current plant conditions and procedures, which can be accessed in real time from anywhere in the world. The accumulated data can be used for training or to update standard procedures. By creating a global collaborative tool, Ford has created a means of ensuring that each and every one of their employees has the latest, most accurate information on how to best perform a particular task or how to avoid a problem that was encountered elsewhere.

We will have to see in coming years whether or not these innovations will lead to improved market performance for either of these manufacturers, but in the meantime it is probably safe to expect other companies to follow suit. With the advances in manufacturing technologies and machine-to-machine communication, it is becoming very difficult to remain competitive without playing by the same rules as everyone else. Industrial technology has advanced to the point that we are experiencing what people refer to as a new industrial era – or Industry 4.0. Reluctance is no longer a viable option.

Film Radiography is Declining in Industrial Testing Applications

DODGED THE DIGITAL DILEMMA

The shift from analog to digital technology has given a new lease of life for NDT applications in the industrial radiography market, thus, broadening the scope beyond traditional applications. Digital X-ray systems are proliferating with increased acceptance across all industry verticals, including highly regulated and traditionally conservative aerospace and automotive industries. The most significant contributing factor for this paradigm shift to digital X-ray systems is the cost-saving, which is 5-6 times more (in both computed and direct radiography) when compared to film-based systems. The shift is also being fueled by the bridge of gap by digital systems when it comes to high-resolution images, which used to be a niche for film radiography. Megatrends, such as Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things, and Big Data, are expected to progressively phase out radiography on film.

ADVENT OF PORTABLE RADIOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT

The industry is experiencing significant influx of portable equipment in the recent years. With the need for inspection activities to be carried out at multiple locations and in various orientations, the industry demand for portable testing devices is increasing. The demand for compact and lightweight devices, which enable easier examination, has been a key trend in the market. Innovation in manufacturing technologies is propelling the deployment of these products. Elimination of installation costs with the use of portable devices, which helps in reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of these devices, is further helping the manufacturers strengthen their economic position in the market. The oil & gas industry, which employs testing across the industry supply chain for gauging the structural integrity and for continuous monitoring of intricate structures of various sizes, like plates, tubes and drilling machines, is expected to be among the most dominant end-users for portable radiographic equipment.

DIRECT RADIOGRAPHY TO BE THE GROWTH ENGINE

What's leading the pack in digital radiography? Direct radiography is the fastest growing type of radiography with near double-digit growth rate as compared to the overall market. This segment is aided by advancements in hardware, such as tubes, sources, and detectors, as well as software improvements facilitating better user-friendliness and efficiency. The advantages of direct radiography, including shorter exposure times, real-time applications, use of recognition software, reduced inspection time, environmental concerns, portability, and increased dynamic range (enabling multiple thicknesses to be inspected in one shot), are driving their adoption across all industry verticals. Direct radiography equipment is offering guaranteed high ROI to customers, which is the biggest contributing factor for their growth. Significant market opportunity for direct radiography (includes real-time) exists in automotive and aerospace segments, which are witnessing very high growth rates, even exceeding that of the overall direct radiography market.

During Industrial Revolution 4.0 Era, Palm Oil Plantation Have to Implement Digital Technology

At this time the world is in the era of the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) which is characterized by the implementation of artificial intelligence, super computer, big data, cloud computation, and digital innovation that occurs in the exponential velocity that will directly impact to the economy, industry, government, and even global politics.

The Industrial Revolution 4.0 is characterized by a smart industrialization process that refers to improved automation, machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence (AI), and the development of sustainable digital technology.

Industrial Revolution 4.0 is also interpreted as an effort to transform the process of improvement by integrating the production line (production line) with the world of cyber, where all production processes run online through internet connection as the main support.

Road Map to Industrial 4.0 in Palm Oil Industry

In Indonesia the application of industry 4.0 is expected to increase productivity and innovation, reduce operational costs, and efficiency that led to increase the export of domestic products. In order to accelerate the implementation of Industry 4.0, Indonesia has developed a roadmap for industry 4.0 by establishing five manufacturing sectors that will be a top priority in its development, including food and beverage industry, automotive, electronics, textiles and chemicals.

The five industry sectors are favored considering that they have shown their great contribution to the national economic growth. For example, the food and beverage industry, especially the palm oil industry, has a market share with growth reaching 9.23% in 2017. In addition, the industry also became the largest foreign exchange contributor from the non-oil sector which reached up to 34.33% in year 2017.

The magnitude of the contribution of the food and beverage industry sector can also be seen from the value of exports reaching 31.7 billion US dollars in 2017, even having a trade balance surplus when compared with the import value of only US $ 9.6 billion. This figure also places the palm oil industry as the largest foreign exchange contributor to the country.

In order to increase productivity and efficiency optimally, the technology supporting the industrial revolution 4.0 is imperative to implement, including the implementation of Internet of Things (IOT), Advance Robotic (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digitalized Infrastructure (DI).

The structural transformation from the agricultural sector to the industrial sector has also increased per capita income and driven Indonesians from agrarian to economies that rely on an industry-driven value-added process accelerated by the development of digital technology.

In the context of this industrial revolution 4.0, the palm oil industry sector needs to immediately clean up, especially in the aspect of digital technology. This is considering the mastery of digital technology will be the key that determines the competitiveness of Indonesia.

Because if not, then the Indonesian palm oil industry will be increasingly left behind from other countries. If we do not improve our capabilities and competitiveness in priority sectors, we will not only be able to reach the target but will be overridden by other countries that are better prepared in the global and domestic markets.

Digitalization Era in Palm Oil Industry

As a major player in the global palm oil industry, Indonesia needs to clean up soon. Absolute process and operational efficiency is immediately undertaken especially concerning activities involving many manpower such as field work (infield activity) such as crop maintenance, land treatment, fertilizing activity, weeding, harvesting and transporting fruit to weighing and sorting. This is because in this sector there is often time and cost inefficiency.

Digital technology has facilitated a lot of work in the palm oil industry. Now no longer need to make statistical data collected from a number of palm plantations manually. Ease and other advantages of digital technology is able to capture images or photos of fresh fruit bunches, as well as precise location of the garden using a tablet that can access the GPS.

That way, field managers can not only easily track and monitor real-time activity in the garden, but they can also see for themselves the quality of the palm fruit and know exactly which areas are experiencing the problem. And incredibly, it does not need their presence on the field.

In addition to the ease of transferring data from the field to the Excel sheet on the computer and also making reports on the quality of the palm fruit, digitization also facilitates in recording the presence of employees and field workers to then process the data for the purposes of remuneration and incentives.