• Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    10. Integrated model of production technology and production management (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      There is a need for a structural shift in Japanese manufacturing. The manufacturing industry, which initially consisted of simple acts of buying raw materials, processing them into products, and selling them, gradually became functionally differentiated as its mechanism increased in complexity. The making seems to have been divided. I feel that production sites that simply pursue cost and efficiency become a bit boring and dull. If a very abstract way, the unit that makes the thing has become integral, amoeba – was organically bound as, if you will not be dynamic ones making of the organization. Even when viewed from the young, cool production site, to continue to be a production site with a shine, “made” just not ” making things ” become a set, you never feel that it is necessary to have without having to leave.

      One clue to getting there is the proper use of the standpoint of making the final product and the standpoint of creating a “structure” for making the product. Manufacturing should be true to the original production site, such as making machine tools yourself and devising the production line system. The functions such as process design, production technology, and production preparation as shown by the JSME-MSD model are centered on people, and are being integrated with the production site to reconstruct a brilliant site. It seems to be an effective means.

      Another effective aspect is digitalization with ICT. The world of manufacturing is the world of Atom, and the world of information for this is said to be the world of bits. Both are based on different principles and principles. It is the world of Atom that actually processes things at the factory. The world of logistics for delivering products from factories to consumers is also the world of Atoms governed by laws of physics. On the other hand, the world of bits in the information society is not governed by physical laws. Information can be replicated indefinitely, and you can move through the space in an instant. In a cyber-physical world where Bit and Atom are fused, things that couldn’t be imagined now may become possible one after another.

      The argument here is who will take the lead in such a world, that is, who will take the initiative. Currently, Western companies are completely ahead of ICT, and Japanese companies are busy catching up. On the other hand, in the world of manufacturing, Japanese companies have a long day. In other words, who could open up the ICT and manufacturing integration area could be a Japanese company. The bit side is quicker to understand the world of the atom, or the atom side is faster than the bit side.

      For the factory side, that is, the atom side, the bit world, that is, the ICT world, is already a familiar area in terms of utilization of information systems. However, the fear of the ICT world is that it works only when it is connected to the other party. For example, a telephone does not have a conversation unless the other party is on the same protocol. Due to the nature of network externality, the more connected partners, the higher the utility value of the product. In addition, since the replication cost of digital data and programs can approach zero as much as possible, it is necessary to capture the relationship between manufacturing costs and sales prices with a completely different concept. Furthermore, intellectual property management is extremely important to maintain the asset value of the developed ICT.

      This intellectual property management technology is closely related to the formation of an “ ecosystem ” . As products are unable to function on their own and are increasingly positioned as one part in larger systems, products will not spread to the market without revealing some internal mechanisms. This trend is more pronounced as the ability to connect is gradually shifting its weight from hardware to software.

      A factory that is connected in the same way as a product can only demonstrate performance when connected to other factories. If you don’t connect, the expensive equipment and machinery in the factory won’t help you. Much of the connection between connected factories is information and software in a broad sense. In the engineering chain such as the design process and maintenance process as well as in the supply chain, digitalization will continue in the future, and further tactics regarding connected factories will intensify.

      In a world dominated by network externalities, the predecessors will gain enormous profits, and followers no longer have the power to control the market. In the world of manufacturing that drags half an atom, even if it is not so extreme, but in the future, if you focus on the follower in the process of integrating ICT and manufacturing, you will have to fight with very disadvantageous game rules There is a great chance that it will be impossible.

      In light of this situation, “lead factory” members volunteer of research subcommittee, beyond the position in each of the companies and organizations, First it is gonna pioneered in the framework of such cooperation. The Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI) is a declaration that the elite who know everything about Japanese manufacturing will take the initiative as a leader, not a follower, for a new era.

      There are various first steps for each company that agrees on what issues to deal with, what kind of issues should be dealt with, and what sort of partners to form alliances with. However, each company does not tackle the issues independently as before, but decides the direction while forming multiple clusters, and at the same time uses elemental technologies and standardization technologies that are common to each cluster. It will be shared and shared throughout the consortium. And, by making such activities open to the outside as much as possible and disseminating information overseas, we are actively taking in human resources and wisdom from overseas.

      Rather than move top-down in accordance with the national policy, rather than companies or group of companies is their own behavior to say whether, many of Japan’s manufacturing industry, with gentle cooperation in the spirit of the sum, voluntarily If we can design a framework that takes action and at the same time incorporates a framework of competition and cooperation, it will become a major international trend. Industry, academia and government will cooperate in their respective positions, from the beginning, without providing a barrier, such as domestic and foreign, advanced in glare both global and local, that will expand their activities to the borderless, international of Manufacturing of Japan We can expect a great presence.

    8) Yasuyuki Nishioka, Autonomous Decentralized Platform for “Connected Factory” in the Borderless Era, System Control Information Society Journal, Vol.28, No.3 , System Control Information Society ( 2015 )  

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    11. From supply chain to engineering chain (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      Until about 10 years ago, “rehabilitation of the manufacturing industry ” and ” hollowing out ” keyword, such as had often been discussed. In the long-running deflationary economy, I haven’t heard much in the last few years whether these words no longer fit the skin, or if I’m tired of debate. In the meantime, the recent series of discussions about the future of the manufacturing industry that originated in Europe and the United States is, in some ways, very new , thanks to the effects of new keywords such as IoT and M2M . And if Japan’s manufacturing industry is also required to transform into the future, this essay will be reborn as a new type of manufacturing industry, rather than reviving the existing manufacturing industry in the conventional way. It can also be called an essay for.

      Both the German government and the US government are developing programs to increase the competitiveness of their manufacturing industries using a huge budget. In Europe, there is a European way that suits the situation in Europe, and in North America, there is a North American way. You must take the initiative in at least the East Asian region in the way of the Japanese style or a little wider range and the East Asian style.

      If you want to follow the concept of Industry 4.0 , you don’t have to be overwhelmed by its contents. If you go too far into the survey before your skeleton is completed, there is a risk that you may not be able to see what you wanted to do and what you wanted to do. There is also a method of discussing what you want to do and what you need to do on a zero basis, ascertaining the essence, then leaving the car, and detailing the course while you run each time. I think.

      How to use ICT in manufacturing has been an important issue. As a result of the rapid advancement of sensor technology and network technology, detailed data on manufacturing is now available at a low cost, and new developments using such data are expected. However, data is data, and it is not worth it if it is provided in the required form where it is needed. In other words, new innovations can be completed only by proposing new manufacturing and structure creation and using them for actual manufacturing.

      Overseas, the work to formulate international standards to further advance Industry 4.0 is also gradually progressing. International standards from the perspective of protecting the interests of each company and spreading new products are of course important, but at the same time, new values ​​and rules that serve as the basis are not limited to defense but offensive. The role of proposing and disseminating for the development of manufacturing is probably the mission of Japan as a manufacturing power.

      In this essay, based on the knowledge gained from previous activities as the “Connecting Factory” research subcommittee, the concepts necessary for Japanese manufacturing to take a new step toward the future Summarized. And one more important thing is not just thinking, but actually taking an action. The Industrial Value Chain Initiative will go beyond the framework of academic research subcommittees and support these new actions as a common philosophy of many companies and organizations that support manufacturing.


      5) IEC / TC65 / JWG5 National Committee, Introduction to Manufacturing Operation Management ISA-95 will change the manufacturing industry! , Manufacturing APS Promotion Organization (2015)   

      7) Japan Science and Technology Agency, Research and Development Center, Next-Generation Manufacturing-Basic Technology and Platform Integration Strategy-, Japan Science and Technology Agency (2014) 

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    Proposal 2 Recommendation of “Initiative” (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      This proposal was completed in March, 2015 as an interim report “Industrial Value Chain Initiative, manufacturing by “Connected factories” by Research Committee of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturing Systems Division and is re-posted here.

    1. Introduction

      The environment surrounding manufacturing is changing rapidly. Industry 4.01) led by the German government was one of the triggers, and various activities beyond the boundaries of the company began on a global scale, aiming for a new era through the integration of manufacturing and ICT. By the call of the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers Manufacturing Systems Division in June, 2014 in Japan, a proposal was published by the volunteers of the industry, academia and government2), and there is a momentum to go back to the basics of manufacturing and review manufacturing in Japan, as of manufacturing powerhouse, and also direction of the advance..

      This paper is written as an interim summary of the activities of the “Research Subcommittee”of the Japan Society Mechanical Engineers , which is ” Innovation Research Subcommittee of production technology and production management in the” lead factory “that take advantage of the Internet ( P-SCD386 ) “. The results of the discussions so far have been compiled into a commentary that can be understood by as many stakeholders as possible. in response to the recommendations. The Research Subcommittee still leave some time period until the end of February, 2016 and, due to the much faster world of flow, by advancing significantly the schedule, to be going to the proposal of specific action became.

      The “Connected Factories” Research Subcommittee is responsible for developing mid- and long-term visions in the manufacturing industry that represents Japan, the strategic staff of companies that seek new developments in the information service industry and ICT, production engineering, and information Academia who is active in various fields such as engineering and business administration, and officers who are involved in policy planning at each ministry and agency are members of the government, and they are working beyond the boundaries of industry, academia and government. I hope that this precious place will not end with a simple exchange of opinions or a survey of the current situation, but as a place to combine vectors for action toward the future.

      It is often said that Japanese are not good at proposing big concepts ahead of others. If there is no precedent, it is a fact that it is difficult to move forward, and it is true that the culture that is struck is still deep-rooted. However, even if so, it may be limited to a small number of volunteer groups, so I think it would be good to show leadership in other areas and take the initiative in the new manufacturing world.

      If so, what should we do? How should Japanese manufacturing industry change? In response to this question, the paper sums up one direction that we searched for based on the activities of the research subcommittee, using the keyword “Connected factories”as a clue. In the second half of the research subcommittee, the contents described here will probably be embodied, and the emphasis will be on implementing them in society as real projects. The flow will ultimately be passed on to a new organization born from the research subcommittee ideally.

      The readers of this paper are not only production system specialists, but also factory managers, related business managers, small business owners, and managers and engineers in industries other than manufacturing (for example, ICT companies), manufacturing industry consultants, university researchers, policy makers, etc. If possible, I would like people who have never been interested in manufacturing to read it and feel that the world of manufacturing is more familiar. It may be good if the creation of various “cool” worlds derived from manufacturing through the fusion of manufacturing and ICT, and if those people can imagine this, this essay is worthy.

    1) Industrie 4.0 Working Group, Recommendations for implementing the strategic initiative INDUSTRIE 4.0 (2013)   

     2) Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, Production System Division, Proposal for Manufacturing Process Innovation to Realize Japanese “Connected Factory”, (2014)

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    2.Recognizing the current situation and issues of manufacturing (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      The situation where the Japanese manufacturing industry was placed seems to be picking up once, depending on the economic trend and exchange rate of the past one or two years. However, as you can clearly see from the trade balance, the ability to produce and export goods has declined since the 1970s and 80s. The expectation of employment is also completely replaced by the service industry after the “lost 20 years”.

      In addition, the disappearance of the semiconductor industry, which has been said to be “the rice of the industry”, and the sluggishness of the consumer electronics industry gave a shock to the confidence and pride of Japanese manufacturing. The lack of innovative product planning capabilities, such as Apple Computer, directly affects the company’s profitability and continues to tend to make products that have high technology but cannot be sold well.

      On the other hand, high-performance parts made by Japanese companies support overseas mega-hit products, and it can be said that manufacturing such invisible parts is making a big profit. In addition, to automate a plant with high quality for production, FA equipment and machine tools are often made in Japan. In addition, the progress of Japanese companies is conspicuous in the world of raw materials, such as carbon fiber.

      In this way, there are various stages of manufacturing, and considering about this, it may be safe to say that Japanese manufacturing is still healthy. However, consumer products have added-value which is the highest among products, and their economic effects are enormous, including demand for derived services. There is no reason to give up innovative products that create new categories, such as Sony Walkman and Nintendo NES.

      The reason why the German government listed Industry 4.0 as part of its policy is to strengthen the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry nationwide. The competitiveness of the manufacturing industry is declining relatively in Japan and Germany. In addition, it can be said that the industrial structure with many SMEs is very similar to Japan. There seems to be a lot in common with diligent national character. That doesn’t mean that the Industry 4.0 policy can apply to Japan. There are critical opinions such as, “From the perspective of automation, everything that has already been done in Japan” or “You are aiming for a sublime, but you wouldn’t be able to do anything.”

      However, I would like to point out that this is not a comparative analysis between Japan and Germany, which tends to flow in an optimistic or self-affirmative direction. There is a different point of view from the pessimistic perspective that the progress is already largely separated and it is not known if Japan can catch up Germany. That is exactly the difference between the attitude toward ICT and the skill of working together through standardization and frameworks.

      In general Japanese companies, the mobility of employees is low, and it is said that it takes 10 to 15 years to become full-fledged at a production site. Therefore, there was rarely an opportunity to compare manufacturing methods of their own with those outside of the company. Therefore, as soon as the connection of the systems is considered, there would be a lot of discussions in the long run. In other words, it can be said that Japanese are far behind Western countries in their ability to grasp the situations abstractly, convert them into languages, and use them as formal knowledge.

      In terms of collaboration, in Japan, the management method is basically based on the theory that humans are good-natured. On the other hand, Europe and the United States are fundamentally based on the theory that humans are bad-natured, and there is not much mind to proceed with kaizen there. If you don’t keep what you need to protect, everything will be stolen. There is a possibility that such basic stances in Japan would be a cause of negative impact as to security issues, while it have been invisible when applied in only closed Japan, it might be big obstacles when the system is globally deployed using ICT. .

      The Japanese manufacturing industry has always faced with the risk of technology leaks when it is expanding overseas. The more digitalized it is, the more serious this problems, and as a result, it may allow free-running technology by the latecomer. Even if we know the reason to close the core part that is the source of competitiveness by the open & close strategy3), it cannot be actually separated for the reasons mentioned above.

      There may be a platform strategy that opens everything, attracts competitors to your platform, and expands the market itself. However, these strategies need to be advanced by combining more advanced methods, intellectual property strategies, and marketing strategies, and appropriately combining methods such as international standardization. I have to say that Japan is the worst at its ability to form such a global scale ecosystem.

      Even those who saw the aim and efforts of Industry 4.0 as not being a major threat based on the current Japanese technological capabilities, after they see the strategy in which they are thinking about creating a system that could be beneficial to their company or their own country behind global ecosystems, Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet Consortium4) you should realize that while you are looking at them without doing anything is dangerous.

     3) Koichi Ogawa, Open & Close strategy, Shosuisha (2014)

     4) Industrial Internet Consortium, 

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    3. People, tools, machines, robots, and systems (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      Nonetheless, it is highly likely that such a scenario is just a reminder, and in fact, manufacturing in Japan will still remain at the top of the world for the time being. It may not be a situation that must be dealt with instantly tomorrow or today. First of all, it will be necessary to go back to the essence of manufacturing, rediscover the goodness of manufacturing in Japan, determine the major goals, and steadily accumulate results toward that goal.

      As a fact of the current situation of manufacturing, if it is the fact that attractive products that surpass the world have not been born in Japan over the past few years, it is not only a matter of product ideas and creativity, but also, I think that ,this is because the distance between “things” and “making ” has gone apart. In other words, in the process of production and in the process of trial and error, there are cases where new inspirations and connections are born and grow into concepts or motifs that become the core of the final product.

      If so, the product design phase and the product production phase must be inextricably linked. In fact, the production site of a local factory with advanced processing technology has no boundaries when it comes to the processing of orders, trial production of new drawings, research based on original ideas and hypotheses. The technology will be refined by spiral PDCA , which involves thinking while processing and processing based on the new idea. The production site is the source of knowledge creation.

      So are automation and efforts to reduce human operation incompatible with these human-centric approaches? It’s not. It is very paradoxical, but in order to automate and unmanned factories, we need people who can do it. Unmanned factories are the object of making them, and the place where they make and run unmanned factories is their production site. Unmanned factories can only be realized with so many people who design, build, operate and maintain them.

      In this way, to avoid being fooled by Mobius’s circular rhetoric, it is a good idea to reconfirm the concept of a system here. In general, a system is a “structure that consists of multiple elements and that behaves together as a whole by being involved in complex relationships with each other.” Automobiles, mobile phones, and robots are all systems.

    What you should pay attention to here is the relationship between the system and “myself”, or about the inner and outer boundaries of the system. When driving a car or talking on a mobile phone, one is a user of the system and is outside the system. On the other hand, for “myself”, who works in the production system, I am part of the production system and inside the system. Let’s call the second kind of system that the person is inside the system and is a component of it, like the latter.

      In the engineering world, we have dealt with a lot of systems where people are outside, such as cars and mobile phones (let’s call this the first type of system). On the other hand, the behavior of the second type of system does not depend only on the laws of nature and cannot be theorized, because people don’t move as designers think. Moreover, if the production system itself is remade by Kaizen, it is no longer possible to push it into a theoretical model.

      No matter how smart a robot is made by artificial intelligence, it is only an autonomous machine made by humans. On the other hand, production systems that include people can be transformed into any production system. The importance of cooperation between people and robots, or production systems centered on people, is because of their ability to deal with such unknown situations.

      When discussing Japanese manufacturing, or Japanese identity in manufacturing, you will be able to see things that you couldn’t see in various ways based on this system theory viewpoint or the positional relationship between people and systems. In the following chapters, I would like to discuss new forms of Japanese manufacturing that can be seen through these glasses.

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    4. Japanese factory paradigm shift (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      In assembly-type manufacturing, the common use of parts is very important for cost reduction and quality stability. In order to maintain the stable operation in a factory while responding to diversification and individualization of market needs, it need to be oriented that mass customization that can respond to product variations only by combining parts or replacing some parts.

      In addition, standardization of operation is required at individual workplaces (work centers). By standardizing working, quality variations among workers are eliminated, and at the same time, the speed of proficiency for each worker is increased, making multi-skilled operation easier. If individual operations are standardized, it will be possible to balance the capabilities of the entire line, optimize process design, and develop or line up on automated lines.

      Thus, within the manufacturing industry, efforts to standardize parts and standardize operation have been actively carried out as a company-wide activity. The technical capabilities and high productivity of Japanese manufacturing industry can be said to be the result of these efforts. These activities have been promoted as part of in-house KAIZEN activities (Tuning  processes by engineers at the site), with collaboration between different departments such as design, production, and sales.

      However, such commonization and standardization efforts are not progressing at all among companies. Except for the case of cooperation within the so-called Kyrez company (one of a group companies governed a big company), which has a strong influence on the manufacturer side, there are not many questions about standardization and standardization in the supply chain and engineering chain. This is natural in a sense. In other words, if the two organizations are in a relationship of competition rather than cooperation, it is difficult to establish a win-win relationship that seeks to increase the sum of their mutual benefits.

      However, this situation will change if the competitive environment changes and the game rules change. When the market has expanded globally and many of its competitors have become supply chains that include overseas global companies, it has become necessary to fight in a global environment while cooperating with competitors. This is why the word supply chain management has been attracting attention since the late 1990s.

      However, that is not to say that sharing and standardization has progressed between companies. There are a number of reasons, and the biggest factor among them is the overly closed nature of individual companies and factories, and self-sufficiency.

      Basically, a lot of know-how is built into the factory as tacit knowledge. Therefore, it is a natural act to conceal such unique technology from the viewpoint of corporate competition. However, many factories cannot distinguish what is unique know-how and what is common, and as a result hide everything. Coupled with the low liquidity of human resources, the result was that Mini-Galapagos was born everywhere and evolved individually.

      Another is policy of independence. It is valuable from the viewpoint of value making by manufacturing by themselves and not making a black box, but it is disadvantageous from the viewpoint of dynamic supply chain, standardization of parts, and standardization of elemental technology. Even though people who say that it is differentiating that they do not follow external standards and make them with their own internal standards, Isn’t it “additional value-added ” rampant with recreated manufacturing in their own way in many places, even though there are no functional differences?

      In this way, it can be said that the current situation is that Japanese companies that have a very high level of commonization and standardization within their companies, however, they are extremely poor at strengthening collaboration and platform development centered on standardization among companies. And without overcoming this situation and resolving the problems that cause it, it is also true that individual manufacturers cannot survive in global competition.

      The key to solving this is the proper use of strict standards and “loose standards”. Strict standards are standards that are indispensable in terms of product functions and quality, as well as product marketing strategies, including safety standards and standards set by law. On the other hand, a loose standard is a standard that may or may not be followed. Or, within a certain range, it can be said that it is a standard that can be changed independently according to each situation.

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    5. Reference model as a loose standard (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      Let’s explain about the loose standards with specific examples. Small chef is a master of fried egg. His restaurant’s fried egg set is exquisite and there is always a waiting line. The competing set meal restaurant managed to find out the secret of the delicious fried egg he made and asked for it, but he never told about it. Not only that, but the small chef’s kitchen is inaccessible to anyone.

      One day, the gas stove broke. The small chef disassembled the stove and repaired everything. One day, he realized that the egg shape was different. The small chef went to the poultry farm and checked the chicken’s fertilizer and the breeding situation. The small chef believed that this was natural, and was delighted to do so. In fact, the store was thriving and there was always a waiting line. From a certain time, the small chef became unwell, the store tended to close, and the disease worsened and finally he closed the restaurant.

      Now there are no people in the world who know the recipes for fried eggs by small chefs. The small chef should have told the people around him at the time of his peak. “My fried egg is made with a gas stove using eggs as ingredients.” Or he could go further and say, “The frying pan is special, but it is important to use oil, adjust the firepower, and use the lid.” Because, in a sense, this is common knowledge in making fried eggs.

      In this example, fried egg is made with a gas stove using egg as a material, and in fried egg, how to grind oil, how to adjust the thermal power, how to use the lid determines the quality is not a strict standard but a loose standard. Only chefs who agree with this idea need to follow it, and there is no guarantee that the fried egg will be delicious with the standard. In order to be able to form a line at a fried egg shop, it will be necessary to study the technology to the point where it is further distant from the level disclosed here.

      Strict standards guarantee a certain quality. On the other hand, loose standards do not guarantee quality. If you dare to say, for those who are studying how to make fried eggs from scratch, there is an effect that reduces the labor a little. So what does a loose standard mean? Loose standards do not guarantee quality, but instead have tremendous power. It is the power that forms the ecosystem described below.

      Let’s explain with an example of a small chef. By defining materials and utensils as a loose standard for fried eggs, and further defining one level deep step on how to bake, and an evaluation index there, we have created a model of how to make fried eggs. This is called the fried egg reference model. This has led to the entry into a new fried egg business, and companies that provide equipment such as gas stoves have also improved their technologies, and egg producers have become more careful about quality, resulting in an increase in the fried egg population.

      For small chef, even if there are many competing fried egg shops, customers will not decrease. Since the core technology is not open, its position is not threatened. Conversely, it can be said that the number of visitors will increase as the fried egg population increases. Loose standards play a very important role in building a cooperative relationship in a competitive environment. And as a standard, we can establish a common framework with our competitors, and then add individual technologies to differentiate them.

      Based on the concept of loose standards, it is necessary to define a reference model in order for the ecosystem to function as a concrete mechanism. The reference model is the core of a loose standard that defines the components and structure of the problem in question. The content to be expressed cannot be too detailed, or too rough. The reference model separates the common part that can be said in the subject problem from the part that is individual for each party. The reference model has the power to design the boundary between the competitive area and the cooperative area according to its content, granularity and accuracy, and to guide the whole in a more effective direction.

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    6. International standard for reference models (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      It seems difficult to tell Monogoto (story) to a third party even if it looks easy. If there is a last resort, such as bringing things up or showing them down, but if there is not such a way, we need to create a model. If it is fashion models, CAD models, and mathematical models, all of models represent some kind of object. The contents are communicated to a third party, and new information and actions are triggered by operations such as analysis and you can take a trigger out of it.

      In this sense, the reference model can be said to show the structure of the problem and the rules of the game to the business parties or various stakeholders. If there are already many players and their categories are known, such as fried eggs, it is possible to determine the reference model inductively. However, if the content is innovative or categorical, you can become a game maker by taking the lead and presenting the reference model as pioneers.

      In Europe and the United States, reference models in the world of manufacturing have already been proposed. ISA-95 defines a model that aims to integrate manufacturing operations management with the entire management system, such as production management, inventory management, quality management, and maintenance management. In this reference model, as shown in Fig. 1, we have a bird’s-eye view of the entire manufacturing in the manufacturing industry, and model it in the form of functional elements that compose it and the information flow that connects them 5).

      In terms of manufacturing, the model becomes complex in this way, and in order to bring it down to the level of activity, it is necessary to examine a huge variety of reality one by one. This is a distracting task.

      In the small chef example, the reference model was relatively easy to define. However, when it comes to the entire manufacturing industry, it is not so easy. What is different? This is because the small chef example is a bottom-up approach, but this time it is top-down. In the Western countries, it is good to decide on a monogoto framework from the top down.

      No matter how effective the bottom-up model is created, it will eventually reach an area where it must follow the rules of the world defined in the top-down, and the top-down will dominate the whole in the sense of total optimization. It is. It is not a denial of the bottom-up approach, but bottom-up lacking a top-down perspective is dangerous.

      How can you successfully incorporate a top-down approach? There are various techniques used to model complex reality. One of them is level division. ISA-95 uses four levels to organize the whole manufacturing process. In other words, the level of business management, the level of the manufacturing floor, and the level of control are clearly separated, and the interface between them is defined to reduce the complexity of the model within each level. Similarly, it is possible to classify from the viewpoint of life cycle such as planning and design level, production preparation level, production execution level, and maintenance and disposal level.

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    7.Latest trends around factory models (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      Another noteworthy overseas trend is the digital factory standard (IEC 62832). This specification is still in the draft stage and is not an international standard yet, but it is extremely innovative to digitize the whole factory and manage the virtual and real worlds in an integrated manner.

    Table 1 Digital factory layer structure





    Metamodel world

    Conversion rules, authentication methods, identification codes, naming rules, security, etc.


    The world of reference models

    Term dictionary, item list, evaluation model, activity model, object model, etc.


    Digital world

    Data, schema, relations, procedures, contexts, objects, etc.


    Real World

    Things, things, people, money, etc.

      Table 1 summarizes the various mechanisms of factories using the concept of layers. First of all, the layers of the real world correspond to what is happening here and there and the reality that exists. People’s conversations and analog processing are events in this real world layer. On the other hand, computers can handle the digital world. Here, a part of the real world is copied as data or signals (bits), and at the same time, it is integrated with the real world to change the reality itself.

      The aim of the digital factory is to integrate this digital world with the real world as much as possible to create a cyber-physical system. The entire life cycle of a factory, such as design phase and maintenance phase, such as monitoring and control of production equipment and lines, as well as production phase, is the target, and by connecting them in cyberspace, the real world is linked.

      Of course, it is not easy to actually build such a mechanism. This is because the real world is connected everywhere, beyond corporate boundaries. Therefore, in order to enable such efforts, a reference model that goes beyond the framework of a company is required. As shown in Layer 2 in Table 1, in the world of reference models, it is necessary to define an object model that represents the target object and an activity model that corresponds to the activity one by one.

      In the international standard, instead of defining individual reference models, there are cases in which a model that is one layer higher than the reference model itself is defined, such as rules for creating reference models and rules for managing them. These are defined in Table 1 as the metamodel world. This allows each company to create its own reference model.

      There is a PSLX platform specification6) as a reference model for manufacturing in Japan. By associating the object model and activity model defined here with digital data that is actually moving in an actual factory, it will be possible to link ICTs individually implemented on a business unit basis. For example, in the “Plant Whole Collaboration” demo held at Tokyo Big Sight in November, 2014 , software with unique data structures such as production planning systems, inventory management systems, schedulers, and MESs are flexibly linked on the PSLX platform. It has been proven that it can collaborate.

      In addition to ISA-95 and PSLX, manufacturing reference models may exist in various regions and fields. It can be said that there is no single reference model in the world. However, even if there are various reference models in the same field, they are naturally deceived by the digital world that selects them, and as an ecosystem is formed, reference models naturally converge into several mainstreams.

      Therefore, for example, by pouring a large amount of Japanese manufacturing genes into the PSLX reference model, the gene will be inherited by some of the globally winning reference models.

       6) PSLX Platform Specification, APS Promotion Organization ( 2014 )

  • Proposal2 Recommendation of " Initiative"

    8. What are the benefits of collaboration? (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

      The concept of “Connected factories” does not aim to connect factories to factories. Many of these factories have already taken this common course, regardless of whether ICT is used efficiently or not. In the “Connected factories”, the inside of a factory is flexibly connected between processes and responsible work, and beyond the framework of the factory, each process and responsible work is the process of other factories and other companies and we aim to offer flexible connections.

      In fact, in the case of manufacturing in Japan, it can be said that this kind of process unit linkage has already been realized among some companies. For example, the Kanban method is a great way to connect manufacturers and suppliers directly on a process-by-process basis. There are also many examples where manufacturers and suppliers have worked closely together from the part design stage to optimize the manufacturing process.

      Therefore, “Connected factories” refers to the manufacturing process of Japan as a whole by using the ICT tools to expand the structure seen in these advanced manufacturing in Japan to various fields of manufacturing industries. It can be said that it is an effort to further enhance global competitiveness by improving productivity, flexibility, and robustness.

      However, in any case, I would like to be able to do what I have done so far, not just as it is, but also to make new ones using ICT, including things I couldn’t do. Otherwise, in the near future, it will be completely caught up by Western powers that make full use of ICT, and it may lose its position. So what kinds of new mechanisms are possible?

      First of all, in the supply chain so far, factories and factories, or processes and processes are connected via things. After the parts shipped from a supplier’s factory are delivered to a manufacturer, they are received and inspected, and the accepted products are sent to the manufacturer’s process. However, since inspection takes time, the possibility of missing a defective product cannot be denied.

      Many manufacturers audit their production and management processes to ensure the quality of parts produced by suppliers. Or entrust audits to a certification organization based on international standards such as the ISO 9000 series. The idea is to inspect the quality of the products sent from suppliers one by one and to ensure the quality of the processes that produce those products.

      What happens if IoT (Internet of Things) technology is added here? Even if there is no problem at the time of the audit of the production facility or process, it may happen that something has changed when the part is produced. Such individual situations can be detected by monitoring constantly the data. In other words, even if it is a relationship that transcends companies such as suppliers, it is possible to guarantee the quality with the prescribed process and the goods delivered, and at the same time use the data obtained when carrying out that process to make individual lots and then, you will be able to guarantee quality at the level of lots.

      This is also beneficial for suppliers or small and medium-sized manufacturers. If the customer’s production process at the customer’s destination and the company’s production process are connected directly, for example, in scheduling, it is not necessary to have more stock than necessary. In addition, there will be no uncertainties related to quality, and traceability will be improved, which should lead to stable orders from the ordering side. In addition, when order-made production with small lots, etc., by digitizing process information in advance and managing the results with data, the estimated man-hour and accuracy are greatly improved, resulting in a business model with a higher profit margin and it will be possible to shift there.

      Even if it is possible to connect production processes beyond factories and companies, it is not always necessary to keep all of your production processes open. The person who has each production process decides which part and to whom how much it is open. How to use production data obtained from time to time to strengthen the supply chain, strengthen sales and profitability is just part of a company’s management strategy. Depending on how this data is used, it can be a source of added value that leads to the competitiveness of the company.

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