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Industry 4.0 Product Lifecycle Management

Publication Date: 
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The move to Industry 4.0 is underpinned by the digitalisation of all areas of product generation and lifecycle management in almost all industrial sectors. To remain competitive, companies in most industrial sectors will need to digitalise their processes. This will lead to huge efficiency gains, particularly in the manufacturing environment.

Contact Person

Martin Sanne

+12 841 4997

msanne@csir.co.za

The move to Industry 4.0 is underpinned by the digitalisation of all areas of product generation and lifecycle management in almost all industrial sectors. To remain competitive, companies in most industrial sectors will need to digitalise their processes. This will lead to huge efficiency gains, particularly in the manufacturing environment.

Digitalisation changes everything, from our daily lives to the business world. Business models are changing from product-centric development and manufacturing to creating opportunities for extended value throughout the lifecycle; all the way to recycling and reuse. This increases pressure on product development but, at the same time, it opens up new business opportunities in the latter stages of a product lifecycle. New successful companies are seizing the opportunities offered by digitalisation to increase their competitiveness in the digital world. According to C-Suite executives, digital disruption will facilitate many new opportunities within South Africa and in the rest of world.

Digital disruption is leading to a new level of business transformation and enables new levels of innovation for successful manufacturers by using end-to-end software suites, more commonly known as product lifecycle management (PLM) software, for innovation and growth. In the growing digitalised world, all companies face potential disruption from existing companies, as well as new entrants into the market. To remain competitive, companies must transform all phases of their businesses through digitalisation and the adoption of PLM processes.
 

Thus, digital transformation is enabling new smart products and smart manufacturing. Next-generation smart products are complex systems of systems that make current development processes inadequate. Smart factories with new cyber-physical integration, smarter, faster and cheaper robotics solutions, which work alongside humans, new additive manufacturing processes, new materials, including nano materials and advanced metals, will transform the manufacturing industry. This transformation requires a new approach to development using new model-based design and manufacturing approaches by creating a digital twin of products and factories and then connecting that detailed digital information with people throughout an organisation through a digital thread. This digital twin (smart virtual models) allows area wide and even global teams across all disciplines to access detailed information needed to develop and evaluate opportunities and even predict performance.

Digitalisation is leading to a comprehensive digital enterprise and is the natural evolution in integrating building blocks, such as product application lifecycle management, electronic design automation and manufacturing operations management all the way to simulation software portfolios. A platform framework supporting new areas, such as collaboration, open Internet of Things (IoT), 3D modelling and manufacturing operations which then, for example, integrate mechanical design, electronic design automation, software delivery, simulation and test, manufacturing planning, production automation, manufacturing operations management and analytics is implemented.

Through these applications, digital enterprises can create precise products, as well as production and performance predictions in digital twins integrated through the digital thread across numerous value chain participants forming a closed-loop, sense-and-react system of communication throughout the product lifecycle. Integrated solutions stretch over the complete value chain and connect the virtual and real worlds seamlessly, resulting in precise and holistic digital twins. The PLM software portfolio weaves the digital thread that creates a tapestry of information connecting people with data and applications for real-time informed decision-making. This digital thread intelligently connects digital twins and real-time production information – across lifecycle phases of ideation, realisation and utilisation and across value chain participants to form the smart innovation environment. This makes it possible to digitalise an entire ecosystem of products and plants and to realise the enormous benefits of digitalisation, including dramatically shorter time-to-market, much greater production flexibility and significantly reduced costs.

In essence, digitalisation is affecting every industry, disrupting current leaders and creating new business opportunities. To survive disruption, manufacturers must rethink every aspect of their business, become a digital enterprise and take advantage of the new and disruptive technology drivers across each phase of their operation to reduce cycle time, increase yield and create new business opportunities. This is the only feasible way of dealing with constantly increasing complexity in products and manufacturing enterprises. The primary reason that a company’s digital endeavours struggle to deliver the greatest benefits is its inability to develop a digital strategy that crosses all parts of their product processes.

Successful transformation requires an end-to-end digital innovation strategy to create comprehensive and precise digital models of products and production operations as a means of managing the complexity of smart products and smart production operations. These digital twins provide detailed insight into all aspects of decision-making for product development and production operations to the IoT performance insight gained from products and plants in operation. It is only by connecting these digital twins with a consistent digital thread that companies can realise the power and flexibility to speed up development, optimise manufacturing and use the insight gained from product and plant operations to improve future performance.

The impact of digitalisation on employment, skills and society is important. Thus, although some jobs and skills will be decreased, many exciting new ones will be created and overall, the Industry 4.0 community is predicting a net job growth in most industries. An example of this is the motor industry where jobs lost to robots have been carried over to the fields of logistics and quality assurance or maintenance.