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The smart factory: when artificial intelligence is at the service of humans

The essential question of the transition to Industry 4.0 is no longer the why but rather the how. It is to respond to this that ALTEN’s Smart Factory 4.0 program is proposing to accelerate innovation in a co-creativity approach adapted to customer needs to put all artificial intelligence at the service of man.

All the more so since the pandemic of Covid-19 , the industry must become flexible and agile with on-demand production for increasingly personalized products. The key ? Data, in order to adapt all possible configurations, whether in terms of resources, design, logistics, quality monitoring … in “ end to end ” mode in a integrated logic from supplier to end customer. This is the whole challenge of the smart factory or factory 4.0 which relies on technologies such as IoT, the digital twin , AI, augmented reality or robotics. However, there is no question of accumulating innovations to achieve this. The program set up by ALTEN insists precisely on the use of new technologies and the associated gains in the integration of these solutions into an existing environment, often not conducive to changes.

The fourth industrial revolution for the benefit of man

The concept of industry 4.0 appeared at the beginning of the years 2010. It corresponds to the fourth industrial revolution after that of mechanization, electrification and then automation. Today, it is therefore that of digitization with the contribution of artificial intelligence but “ which must benefit that of humans, to provide them with all the information useful for forecasting and decision-making, of which they remain in control ”, specifies François Portier, Director of the Research Program Smart Factory 4.0 for ALTEN. In 2021, it is no longer a question of choice: those who will not take this turn will lose a lot of ground on the competitors. Especially since this 4.0 revolution integrates the challenges of sustainable development for a greener factory, a green factory which optimizes its energy resources and waste generated for zero or even positive environmental impact.

The gray matter and black gold of data

ALTEN’s innovation department has therefore set up the “ Smart Factory 4.0″ program. For this, it has forged partnerships with startups, large companies, research laboratories and schools. “ Our wealth is our organic matter, nitrogenous matter, etc.
There are different families such as:

Organic matter, which constitutes living beings (animals or plants ) or gray matter and the black gold of data, the fuel of the digital economy. starts with a good analysis of the client’s needs and context. We then rely on a network of experts grouped together within Labs on innovative solutions “, explains François Portier. The approach was chosen by “Test and learn” to make co-creativity a reality thanks to proactive ideation loops on projects before validating them using POC ( Proof of Concept ), POV ( Proof of Value) and MVP ( Minium Viable Product ).

Hand of a robot

9 Smart Factory 4.0 projects

The nine projects of the program address the technological challenges of the transformation of Industry 4.0:

  • the real-time predictive maintenance (with gains of 20 to 30% on the machine lifespan );
  • intelligence management of energy ;
  • distributed intelligence of AGVs ( Autonomous Guided Vehicles );
  • the digital twin of the processes of the factory of the future;
  • the digital twin of the internal logistics of the factory of the future;
  • robotics: universal gripper ;
  • digital continuity for additive manufacturing;
  • the prediction of accidents professionals;
  • the converge nce of production and business management networks.

In prospective mode, a digital twin, a digital twin, allows for example to model projects with ramp-up to make them viable according to indicators such as OQD ( on quality delivery ) and OTD ( on time delivery ) without impact on production . Of course, the cybersecurity is omnipresent at all project levels.

The adaptation of new technologies to the existing

According to François Portier, “ the earlier it is started, the more effective the transformation will be. The hardest part is getting started and ensuring the change is carried out ”. It is for this reason that ALTEN relies on adapting new technologies to existing ones so as not to have to make excessive investments and promote gradual adoption. “ We are progressing little by little, first on a defined perimeter which makes it possible to measure the impact and the gains before gradually expanding it. ”Advice is also given on financial aid opportunities , in particular of the state when the project allows in particular to gain in energy sobriety .

The example of ‘an AI solution in edge computing

A striking example concerns a major player in the aeronautics sector. For the drill bits used on very expensive parts, the wear or the slightest failure of which can therefore have significant consequences, ALTEN called on a technology developed by the start-up Cartesiam , recently acquired by STMicroelectronics . The solution called NanoEdge AI Studio makes it possible to incorporate an AI and its machine learning functionalities directly into the C code of the microcontroller present in the device. In a few hours, it processes millions of algorithmic combinations to define the optimal one and thus be able to detect the slightest anomaly . The solution tested on a production line was won over by its efficiency to the point that it will be deployed in all of the company’s factories.

If you want to go to the moon , you have to go to Houston first!

According to Joël Rubino, director of Edge AI – STMicroelectronics, “ the artificial intelligence suffers from over-communication which can confuse some on how to use it wisely without too much investment or development time. This kind of solution has a very simple and rapid prototyping capacity, for a gradual generalization afterwards. This makes it possible to demystify AI, to evangelize teams, with limited investments and above all to be ready when all technologies reach maturity ”. A necessary and beneficial step that he likes to sum up in one sentence: “ If you want to go to the A moon with a lowercase” L “is the satellite of a planet. For example Phobos and Deimos are the two moons of the planet Mars.
The Moon
The Moon with a capital “L” is the only natural satellite of the Earth; it was probably the result of a collision 4.4 years ago Moon , you need to first go to Houston! ”

Article produced in partnership with ALTEN

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