• Proposal1 "Connected factories"

    2. What is “Connected factories”? (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

     Three scenarios are introduced for assumption to explain “Connected factories” in Japan as a new concept. Scenario 1 is a model of a niche top company that manufactures the final product at first.

    Scenario 1

     Hosei Kogyo (tentative name) announced an assistive device for people with disabilities in 2018 which was developed for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The manufacturing process incorporated a 3D printer and some metal parts were very complicated and planned to be produced about 10 units per month. This was introduced in Scandinavian media, and the business was gradually expanded to a production system of 2000 units per month as of 2022. By using the manufacturing community platform, they had a plan of construction of their own factory in Fukushima Prefecture in future with controlling investment costs and risks with a network-type fab method.

     Since so-called 3 D printer is oriented to non-repeating orders of small lots, it is better to go to factory equipment investment in the case of mass production and the corresponding cost of one unit will be less expensive. The problem is in between. It can be said that the niche top companies are always going through this process. “Connected factories” can be used as a manufacturing consignment mechanism for such intermediate production lots.

    On the other hand, Scenario 2 below is an example of a support industry company.

    Scenario 2

     Hosei Seimitsu (tentative name) applied for a joint development program with a major material manufacturer and established difficult processing technology for new composite materials. After getting third-party technology evaluation and intellectual property management, orders of processing were stably obtained, and new inquiries through the manufacturing community platform increased, and orders from overseas also increased dramatically. Although there were mass production or repetitive orders, the company did not expand its scale and licensed the processing, while concentrating management resources constantly on the development of new processing technologies.

     As is well known, the high processing technology of SMEs supports manufacturing process of major manufacturers. A further leap can be expected by guaranteeing the system not only for the matching between companies but also for trade and technology assessment and intellectual property management. In addition, by collaborating in the fields such as logistics and customs clearance, orders from overseas can increase.

    And the last example is the image of a completely new type of manufacturing and service company.

    Scenario 3

     Hosei (tentative name), a major contract manufacturing service company specialized in machining, has the third largest sales in Japan as of 2025. The EMS (contracted electronics manufacturing service) business was significantly reduced in 2014 and the business is shifted to machining and resin products. The process management is thoroughly standardized, and the process is streamlined by combination of relatively inexpensive press + sheet metal processing and welding robots with making from 1 to 5,000 products per month. Mainstay is the interior parts of electric cars. The line is in conjunction with the customer’s production management system and the flight digital signage are delivered 2 times per day through the cloud.

     With the advancement of electronics, mechanical elements have been increasingly replaced by electric and software ones, and these have been made into IC chips and printed circuit boards, which can be outsourced to EMS companies. However, on the other hand, there are still some mechanical elements that require manufacturing by combination technologies, and it cannot be a manufacturing service based on Western ideas. Efficient manufacturing such parts with high quality is the strength of manufacturing industries in Japan, and this is likely to become a killer content for manufacturing business in future.

     The characteristic of “Connected factories” is that the process of making products by linking each other beyond companies. Supply chains were often linked by selling and buying of products as transactions between different companies until now. On the other hand, when manufacturing processes are directly linked, not only transactions in standard units such as materials, parts, module products, and products, but also exchanges and manufacturing in units such as intermediate products and works in progress and a form of partially entrusting processes are realized more flexibly than ever.

     There is a history that SMEs and small-scale enterprises have been getting such manufacturing processes as subcontractors of outsourced manufacturing. The pricing right was on the consignment side, and the consignment side also determined and evaluated manufacturing process there. On the other hand, the supply chains are configured from equal standpoints or, in some cases, from trustees in the applications of “Connected factories”. As a result, companies with advanced processing technologies, detailed production preparations, material technologies and elemental technologies can concentrate on improving their technologies. In addition, in response to the ever-increasing variety of product needs and individual customer demands, it will be possible to realize Monozukuri (Manufacturing in industries) that integrates design and manufacturing across corporate boundaries.

  • Proposal1 "Connected factories"

    3. Manufacturing industry collaboration models and standardization issues (First published in Japanese in June, 2014)

     In order to realize “Connected factories”, it is indispensable to standardize manufacturing beyond the companies. In particular, when conducting business collaboration or manufacturing process collaboration using the Internet , It is necessary to have discussions in advance on what level and what data should be connected as ICT, and what should be connected based on a standard model.

     IEC 62264 is an international standard for models that integrate FA (factory automation), information control systems, and management systems in this field. As shown in FIG. 1, the entire manufacturing system is defined by dividing into level 1 to level 4 here. At what level does “connected factories” connect to other factories or outside ?

     Let’s divide the collaboration into three types: intra-company vertical cooperation, intra-company horizontal cooperation, and inter-companies cooperation at first. Intra-company horizontal collaboration at Level 1 and Level 2 is largely based on ICT at present, and many standards including international standards are being carried out in this area. In addition, in level 4 business management, business linkage is achieved by an information system such as ERP, and data linkage such as EDI is also realized between companies.

     With the above discussion, a new challenge with “Connected factories” will be vertical collaboration of the site management that connects the top and the bottom at level 3, enterprise horizontal cooperation, and business-to-business cooperation in the field management level. The manufacturing sites in the factory, for the manufacturing industry, can be positioned as showcases by eliminating wastes thoroughly through 5S and KAIZEN activities. However, the manufacturing sites are the most difficult objects to be standardized actually, because various information is exchanged there.

     The strengths of manufacturing sites in Japan include engineering skills such as production technology and production preparation. In Europe and the United States, such engineering and manufacturing operations are completely divided by engineers, and so-called balancing technology at the manufacturing site cannot be established. On the other hand, there is a culture in Japan with which process design and production technology are tailored to the characteristics of each site and are built together with the site. It is highly likely that a new leap will be triggered by using ICT effectively on manufacturing sites as functional centers to link processes in the engineering chain such as design, manufacturing, and maintenance.

  • 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.

  • e-news

    CIOF for Industry 4.0 has launched

    IVI published a specification document of Connected Industries Open Framework (CIOF) which deals with valuable data transportation between smart manufacturing units (SMUs).

    The CIOF contains hyper communication server (HCS), hyper communication terminal (HCT), hyper dictionary server (HDS), and hyper connection manager (HCM).

    The project launched in July 2018 with FANUC, Mitsubishi Electronics, DMG MORI, and Hitachi supported by Japan Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) has developed a testbed prototype system for PoC.

    The results will be presented at Hannover Messe on 1st of April at 14:00 at Hall 8, Stand D17.



  • e-news

    Public review draft of Manufacturing open framework for IVI ecosystem.

    IVI starts a public review of the implementation requirements of manufacturing data translation between different platforms. The document aims that individual platforms can become a user of valuable data provided by the other individual platform without huge effort of particular integration.
    This document is a basic specification document followed by four implementation sub-system specifications including Hyper Connection Server (HCS), Hyper Connection Terminal (HCT), Hyper Connection Manager (HCM), and Hyper Dictionary Manager (HDM), all of which will be also published later.
    The project is funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan. Finalizing the project by the end of this February, the resulted use case documents and implementation specifications as well as the developed software will be published and provided as open source so as to develop this data sharing approach more and more open bases.

    The public review document is available here.

  • Announcements

    The 2nd IIC & IVI joint use cases sharing seminar was held.

    IIC(The Industrial Internet Consortium) and IVI(Industrial Value Chain Initiative) established for the realization of Industrial IoT (IIoT) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Hannover City in Germany in 2017. Based on this agreementthe second IIC & IVI joint use case sharing seminar was held in Japan.

    WHEN: Friday, June 1, 2018 13: 15 ~ 17: 00
    WHERE: Tokyo Big Site 1st Floor / Reception Hall A (held at the site of Smart Factory Japan 2018)

    The event attracted over 300 attendees not only members of IIC and IVI, but also non-members.

    We shared activity contents of the testbed and use cases from IIC and IVI.

    Continue reading “The 2nd IIC & IVI joint use cases sharing seminar was held.”

  • Announcements

    The 2nd IIC & IVI joint workshop – sharing use case information

    On April 26, 2017, Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Industrial Valuechain Initiative (IVI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Hannover City in Germany. Based on this agreement, we have decided to hold a 2nd time joint workshop to share use case information with IIC and IVI. Not only IIC & IVI members also non-members can participate in this event.

    <Date and time>
    Friday, June 1st, 2018 13:15 ~ 17:20 (reception start 13:00)

    <Seminar Venue>
    Tokyo Big Sight Conference Building / Reception Hall A

    <Capacity> 420

    <Application(IIC member)>
    Please send us your name, affiliation, name, e-mail address by e-mail to the following e-mail address.
    [E-mail address]


    Please contact us for details.

  • Announcements

    Meet IVI at Hannover Messe – Exhibition (Hall 7, Stand A31) and Presentations (April 23-27, 2018)

    IVI is going to participate in the Hannover Messe 2018. Please visit our booth at Hall 7, Stand A31. In addition to IVI activities, contents of the newly published reference architecture, IVRA-Next, will be also exhibited. You can download IVRA-Next from here.

    Please also visit presentations by Prof. Nishioka (IVI President) at two events in Hannover Messe.

    Continue reading “Meet IVI at Hannover Messe – Exhibition (Hall 7, Stand A31) and Presentations (April 23-27, 2018)”

  • Announcements

    Industrial Value Chain Reference Architecture (IVRA)-Next is published

    The second version of IVI’s reference architecture, IVRA-Next, has been published.

    You can download it from here.


    At Hannover Messe 2018, you can hear a presentation by Prof. Nishioka (IVI President) on IVRA-Next.

    Presentation “Strategic Implementation of Smart Manufacturing Ecosystem by IVRA-Next Framework”

    Event: Forum Industrie 4.0 meets the Industrial Internet, Hannover Messe

    Date and time: April, 23  11:30-12:00

    Venue: Hall 8, Stand D17

  • Announcements

    The Allianz Industrie 4.0 Baden-Württemberg and the Industrial Value Chain Initiative Sign MoU

    Tokyo – March 1, 2018 Allianz Industrie 4.0 Baden-Württemberg (Allianz I4.0), a network designed to promote digital transformation in manufacturing industry based in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and the Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI), a forum of smart manufacturing for connected industries based in Japan, announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Under the memorandum, Allianz I4.0 and IVI will make a variety of efforts to promote Industrie 4.0/smart manufacturing in international economies.

    Continue reading “The Allianz Industrie 4.0 Baden-Württemberg and the Industrial Value Chain Initiative Sign MoU”

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