Proposal1 "Connected factories"

4. Collaboration platform and ICT utilization (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

 Along with the terms, such as cyber-physical system (CPS ) and Internet of Things ( IoT ), have become common, equipment and devices send data by themselves, and the flow of people, goods, money, and information tend to be collected as data on the network. However, what should not be mistaken here is that the reality that can be grasped through the Internet as data in this way is only a part of the reality that we want to know.

 In other words, we always need to keep the relationship between the virtual world that can be realized on ICT and the real world that corresponds to the actual manufacturing sites and the corporate activities. It is necessary to make decisions in the real world with adding information taken in the real world to ICT information. ICT is a only tool that complements realistic decision making. Considering these points, the requirements for a cooperative platform to realize a “connected factories” are summarized below.

(1) On-site / actual / reality-based ICT

 As already mentioned, the collaborative platform makes it possible to handle real things and people as they are, and avoid excessive digitization and ICT. This will prevent technology outflow, foster economic effects by moving people and things, and develop craftsmanship skills and tacit knowledge.

(2) Realization of open & close strategy

 Promote thorough openness and standardization of the internal structure of the current factories and develop an ecosystem. On the other hand, the manufacturing know-how inside the production line, which is in a competitive area, is concealed by the open & close strategy, and the manufacturing process can be converted to a black box.

(3) Guarantee of fair and secure cooperation by external organizations

 Clarify the rights and responsibilities of intellectual properties of manufacturing processes, such as modification of prototype drawings and mass production drawings, and determination of manufacturing methods and processing conditions. By enabling tracking by third parties, it promotes fair competition for technology development and at the same time clarifies product liabilities.

(4) Global deployment and support for international transactions

 Corresponding to a globalized and borderless trading environment, the countries and regions of participating platforms are not limited. Reduce and support the business burden of trading companies on exchange issues, customs clearance issues, intellectual property and legal issues, etc. that occur when manufacturing process collaboration is realized across borders.