“Connected Factories” Interview 2 (First published in Japanese in April, 2015)

[2]What kind of merits can be expected and innovation in production sites by promoting IoT and realizing a “connected factory”? What are the major differences when compared to conventional “Japanese manufacturing”?

  The goal of “connected factories” is not only the connection between factories, but also the production lines and the technicians who have skills on-site, and the various management tasks, technologies, and ideas. It is a figure connected beyond the constraints of the target or place. In addition, the “connected factory” connects the final consumer who uses the parts and products made in the factory with the production site, connecting the feelings of the creator and the user.

  In order to realize such a “connected factory”, it is important to actively incorporate new technologies such as IoT . However, as a prerequisite, it is essential to open the production process and open the factory. By opening the chest collar and touching the other party, you can build a new relationship of trust. For example, the top-to-bottom competition for small and medium-sized manufacturers has been very exciting in recent years. Under the same rules, each town factory will challenge cutting, surface treatment, and material improvement. Opening the process creates good competition, advances technology, and stimulates demand for it.

  In Industry 4.0, it is true that production line automation and machine intelligence are often taken up symbolically, but automation and intelligence are merely human replacements. From the standpoint of managing a factory, the resulting high costs will limit the areas where it can survive. Perhaps the essence of Industry 4.0 is that the role of data will revolutionize in the coordination of autonomous work including people in the manufacturing organization, and the effective generation and utilization of manufacturing knowledge and wisdom. I am thinking.

  In other words, as manufacturing becomes more and more complex in the future, data has been a supporting factor for decision making, but it is no longer possible to make decisions without data. For example, a high school student who always carries a smartphone should think that the same thing is happening in the world of manufacturing, as it is no longer possible to make friends without a smartphone.

  However, there is no need to change Japanese manufacturing, and there is no reason to change it. However, many responsible people realize and respond as quickly as possible when the data they need is not available when they need it, that is, companies and sites that are well connected are likely to struggle. It seems necessary to keep.