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Development Status and Technology of Smart Manufacturing


1.  Industry Awareness of Smart Manufacturing

At present, the definition of Smart Manufacturing in the industry is very confused, which may be due to the current situation. German version of the Industry 1.0, 2.0,3.0 and 4.0 may cover mechanized manufacturing, automatic manufacturing, digital manufacturing, and intelligent manufacturing. We realized that most people uses the term "Smart Manufacturing", whether or not it means that "Smart Manufacturing" has not yet reach the technical level of "Intelligent Manufacturing"? If so, Smart Manufacturing may cover the smart portion of mechanization, basic automation, digitization and so on.

Since China has the largest manufacturing industry, the discussion can take China as example. Other countries can make their visions based on its technical level on manufacturing industry.

In recent years, with the development of technology, the industry has entered the discussion of "what to do". Therefore, many experts proposed to engage in automation, digitization, intelligence, networking and so on. We think this is just asking for "what to do"? However, the issue of "how to do" has not been discussed enough so far! It may also be that the development of technology has not come to this step! So after drawing the flow chart, the people engaged in engineering transferred it to the people engaged in software and thought it was their task; The people who engage in software think: your flowchart has a lot of Engineering logic, but we don't understand engineering! Therefore, we cannot develop. Who will develop it? Can't let people who don't understand software build large-scale software?

So someone in the industry just asked what to do? But in many low-developed countries, no one can really do it, and there will even be the problem of shouting slogans and no one taking action. This may be the biggest crisis in China's Smart Manufacturing industry. There are not enough qualified people to deal with this piece. Everyone is watching the fire from the shore!

Even due to the limited understanding of what is Smart Manufacturing, the problem of ignoring intelligent system in the construction of intelligent factory appears. Therefore, it is said that it has built an intelligent production line only by establishing high-level mechanized equipment, automation system, digital system, manufacturing execution system and ERP. Such a production line is difficult for operators to operate; Although engineers can handle it, they can't always be operators! As a result, the operation of the production line is poor, resulting in the problem that the enterprise will die quickly if it invests (it is difficult to return), and will die slowly if it does not invest (it will be out slowly)! This problem is more serious in the process industry than in the discrete industry.

2.  "How to do"

We believe that the problem of "how to do" should return to the three fields of engineering modeling, machine learning and intelligent system architecture development. To complete engineering modeling, you must have some working experience in the main engineering fields. It seems that it is not enough to just read books without working experience. Therefore, I hope to have working experience in the fields of technology, products, equipment, automation and so on. At the same time, in addition to the engineering field, the other half of Smart Manufacturing is the computer field. We should be able to construct large-scale software systems in the way of software engineering, carry out model development and machine learning, deal with big data often encountered in engineering, deal with a series of problems related to data acquisition, and so on. Therefore, in the non engineering field, we also need to have enough work experience.

Especially the third point mentioned above, the development of intelligent system architecture needs to deal with many problems. For example, it is necessary to collect all the scenarios and use cases of the factory. For example, there are 50 engineers on the production line. What problems each person solves and how to solve them should be written into the intelligent system in the way of software engineering: no omission and no repetition. Then the engineer does not have to go to the site, but just optimizes the intelligent system in the background (at the same time, the operators run the intelligent system, the experienced personnel observe the intelligent system, and everyone works together to continuously optimize the production). The scene use cases may be collected for many years, which is mainly the task of engineers.

Therefore, in terms of Smart Manufacturing, we need to have working experience in seven or eight professional fields; If you have three years of working experience in each field, it takes 20 years of preparation if you can lead everything in these fields! Of course, many companies can set up a team to deal with relevant affairs, but it is inevitable that there will be disagreement or duplication of skills, resulting in waste!

This is the current problem faced by Smart Manufacturing. First, many people have a narrow professional field (the professional setting of universities is very narrow) and lack of corresponding work experience in relevant fields; On the other hand, it seems that Chinese people need to spend most of their energy to establish interpersonal relationships. Few people can devote themselves to professional technology for 20 years and don't care about interpersonal relationships! Most of these people are also difficult to mix well in China's social environment!

3.  Current Situation of Smart Manufacturing

We believe that China's mechanization has been completed and automation is being promoted, so the research and development of machine generation is in a booming stage. The automation stage in Europe and America has been completed, so there are few people on the production line. All countries in China are promoting digitization, although the level of digitization is much lower than that in the West. Small and medium-sized companies in the West are still in the digital stage. Therefore, the translation of Smart Manufacturing in English is smart manufacturing, not Smart Manufacturing.

Big western companies are trying to promote Smart Manufacturing, but no one says they have completed Smart Manufacturing! Small and medium-sized companies in the West are also making efforts, which does not mean that they have no Smart Manufacturing at all!

If you want to know the current situation of Smart Manufacturing at home and abroad, you should investigate that Smart Manufacturing is called Smart Manufacturing. Therefore, engineering modeling is the first necessary step. Of course, the model here refers to not only mathematical model, but also digital model. For example, if you can describe the whole enterprise with numbers, it is also a mathematical model. According to the recent statistics of our team, 90% of Chinese enterprises have not yet entered the stage of model development that can be manufactured.

4.   Smart Manufacturing Technology

We believe that the key technologies of Smart Manufacturing are engineering modeling, machine learning and intelligent system architecture development. What should be done and the time required for each link have been described above.

To realize Smart Manufacturing in China, we need to deal with four major fields: the mechanized system should have the function of automatic control; There should be enough data acquisition system, for example, many data can be collected to avoid data island; At the same time, the instrument using data acquisition should be accurate enough and so on. At the same time, an intelligent system or Level 2 with sufficient technical level should be established. At the industrial 4.0 level, engineering modeling, machine learning and intelligent system architecture development should be taken as the technical methods. In the development of intelligent system architecture, various scenarios and use cases of the production line should be collected completely. For example, when there are 50 engineers on site, The intelligent system should be developed in the above way. To organize the use cases in a systematic way, we usually need to develop various models first, and then call the model to complete the solution of each scenario use case. Thus, in an intelligent system, usually 1 / 3 is the model and 2 / 3 is the solution to various scenarios and use cases.

Finally, we should integrate the relevant systems, including mechanical system, automation system, manufacturing execution system and ERP, with the intelligent system developed above, so as to form a real Smart Manufacturing!

The sign of digitization is data board. With good data board, knowledgeable people can see many problems of mechanization and automation; However, people who are not knowledgeable or not high enough, such as operators, may not be able to find solutions to slightly complex problems from the data board. This is the limitation of digital manufacturing. For example, between MES and basic automation, if there is no intelligent system, there will be the problem of "MES can't go down and automation can't go up" in the industry!


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