10 factories leading the way in innovation


Monday, 05 August, 2019


10 factories leading the way in innovation

The World Economic Forum has announced the addition of 10 new factories to its global Lighthouse Network — a community of manufacturers that are showing leadership in applying Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to drive financial and operational impact.

The factories join a network of 16 existing lighthouses across multiple geographies and industries, serving as beacons to guide others to overcome challenges in upgrading systems and applying cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics and 3D printing. The factories were selected based on their success in integrating these technologies to increase efficiency and drive innovation.

“The global Lighthouse Network offers an unrivalled opportunity not only to highlight the transformational efforts of the world’s most advanced manufacturers but also, more importantly, to create a shared learning journey that will help manufacturers around the world, across value chains and of all sizes to access and capitalise on the positive potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Advanced Manufacturing Industry, World Economic Forum.

The new lighthouses are listed below.

Arçelik (Ulmi, Romania): This greenfield factory is a product of the Arçelik use-case laboratory, where it was designed twice as fast as previous-generation factories. Since coming into existence, automation of low-value tasks has reduced operational costs by 11%.

Ford Otosan (Kocaeli, Turkey): This site leverages digital manufacturing and advanced automation to move beyond lean, increasing its output by 6% and employee engagement by 45% without additional capital expenditure investment.

Nokia (Oulu, Finland): Nokia’s fully digitalised 5G factory focuses on bringing together design and production to introduce new products. Implementing a range of 4IR solutions, connected by a private wireless network, this site improved productivity by 30% and now brings products to market 50% faster than before.

Petrosea (Tabang, Indonesia): Challenged by its remote location, this mining service provider deployed multiple Fourth Industrial Revolution use cases (eg, optimised truck dispatch, real-time monitoring, drone surveys) that transformed the mine from a loss-making entity into a profitable one in just six months.

Posco (Pohang, Republic of Korea): This plant leverages artificial intelligence to drive productivity and quality improvements in the steel industry. It is building its own smart-factory platform through a collaboration with a local ecosystem of academia, SMEs and start-ups.

Groupe Renault (Cléon, France): This Renault site uses a wide range of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies (eg, cobots, virtual reality) to support operators, eliminate waste, reduce energy consumption and automate repetitive tasks.

SAIC Maxus (Nanjing, China): A challenging market environment drove this site to implement a new model for mass customisation. Digitalising the value chain end-to-end, from customers to suppliers, through an integrated digital thread resulted in improved sales and reduced costs.

Schneider Electric (Batam, Indonesia): One of Schneider Electric’s nine smart factories, this location developed a full spectrum of Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions (eg, IIoT platform) that were then shared with the wider Schneider Electric community, including customers and partners, thereby improving the operations of the entire ecosystem.

Tata Steel (Kalinganagar, India): This greenfield steel plant is helping to set a new standard for the speed at which a factory can achieve full capacity from complete nascency. It also improved time-to-market by 50% thanks to significant investments in digital and analytics solutions, as well as capability-building to develop the digital skills of a relatively junior and inexperienced team.

Zymergen (Emeryville, USA): A digital native, this bioengineering site is using robotics and artificial intelligence on processes that have traditionally been highly manual, resulting in the doubling of its innovation rate.

“The 10 new lighthouses confirm that frontrunners in the Fourth Industrial Revolution draw a competitive advantage from either innovating their production system or by innovating their entire value chains and offering new products and services that were not possible before,” said Enno de Boer, Partner and Head of McKinsey & Company’s Global Manufacturing Practice, which collaborated with the Forum on the project. “For example, Zymergen brought robotics and AI to their bioengineering labs, doubling innovation rates and allowing product innovations that were previously unthinkable.”

One of the key elements of the Lighthouse Network is its commitment to discovering and elevating solutions that can be scaled up in cost-effective ways across companies and industries. The lighthouses have also agreed to share their knowledge with other manufacturing businesses, helping them successfully adopt the technologies of the future.

“The World Economic Forum’s Fourth Industrial Revolution lighthouse program promotes collaboration, benchmarking and new ideas for the digital transformation of industries in a practical way that generates faster adoption of digital technologies and increases the efficiency of manufacturing,” said Peter Herweck, Executive Vice-President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric. “Our smart factory in Batam, Indonesia, has benefited enormously from the Forum program and we are delighted to continue to be a part of this program and share our learning and solutions with the wider industrial ecosystem.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Dmitry Pichugin

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