A ‘smart factory’ is an industrial facility that uses internet-connected technology to make manufacturing more efficient. A smart factory needs the right technology for data collection and sensors which are embedded in industrial equipment to transfer this data. The industrial software analyses data to make certain that the correct decisions are made.
Here, we review our Top 10 smart factories in manufacturing.
In 2022, technology and industrial software company Emerson won the title of ‘Industrial IoT Company of the Year’, out of 4,000 nominations. The Emerson Plantweb, an ecosystem of sensors, smart devices, industrial software and analytics, won over the manufacturing industry.
“Emerson’s digital technologies, software and analytics have been delivering measurable operational improvements in manufacturing facilities for years, and now these same technologies are highly focused on sustainability”, said Mark Bulanda, Executive President of Emerson’s Automation Solutions business.
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
CEO: Toshiaki Higashihara
Hitachi was founded in 1910 and aims to support societal development with ‘superior, original technology and products’. The company focuses on mobility, smart life, industry, energy and IT.
In 2018, Hitachi’s opened Smart Factory as a Service (SFaaS), a business model to support SMEs in their manufacturing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
CEO: H. Lawrence Culp Jr.
Industrial machinery manufacturer giant GE uses Industry X to advance digital transformation and innovation in manufacturing.
Proficy Smart Factory (MES) is a suite of on-premise and cloud solutions. Transform your manufacturing business through insights and intelligence powered by data integration, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), machine learning, and predictive analytics. In manufacturing, GE unites the digital world and the physical with its Proficy Smart Factory, which can deliver ‘holistic performance management for today’s connected enterprise’.
LinkedIn: General Electric
CEO: Bjorn Rosengren
Electrification and automation company ABB is working towards a sustainable and resource-efficient future, working specifically in robotics, automation, electrification and industrial technology. Industry X is used to transform industrial robotics and assist humans in their manufacturing work, especially when competing dangerous tasks.
ABB’s ABB Ability™ Smart Melt Shop, the first smart factory digital application for the metals industry, is designed to advance melt shop productivity, save energy and make manufacturing safer for employees.
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
CEO: Darius Adamczyk
Global technology company Honeywell’s industrial automation solutions enable advanced process monitoring, control and optimisation, which can improve safety in the manufacturing industry. Information technology service provider LG has just signed a deal with Honeywell to advance its smart factory innovation, after expanding smart manufacturing sites in Eastern Europe, in Poland and the Czech Republic.
CEO: Takao Kato
Mitsubishi was founded in 1921 in Japan and manufactures a wide range of products, from automation systems to transport. As a global leader in the sale of electronic equipment, Mitsubishi recently launched one of Japan's largest decarbonisation funds with a US$1bn investment plan targeting emerging technology startups. The company also gave its Livingston ‘smart factory’ a £15.3m update to increase production of low-carbon heat pumps.
LinkedIn: Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
4. Rockwell Automation
CEO: Blake Moret
Rockwell Automation is a leader in industrial automation and digital transformation solutions. The company utilises Industry X principles to help customers enhance operational efficiency and IIoT technologies to connect machines, devices and systems.
The company recognises integration machine and sensor data as the key components of the smart factory, which both support condition monitoring, predictive maintenance or traceability. Rockwell Automation's innovative solutions uphold the smart factory concept.
LinkedIn: Rockwell Automation
3. Schneider Electric
Rueil Malmaison, Paris, France
CEO: Peter Herweck
Schneider Electric's mission is to ‘Empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all’. The company uses Industry X to drive digital transformation for manufacturers and IoT, analytics and cloud technologies to provide solutions for building automation and control systems. Across Schneider Electric’s Smart Factories and Smart Distribution Centers, energy costs have been reduced by between 10% and 30%.
LinkedIn: Schneider Electric
CEO: Roland Busch
Tech-titan Siemens works across transport, healthcare, manufacturing and infrastructure. The company is focused on building resilient supply chains, smarter buildings, sustainable transportation and a more advanced healthcare sector. Siemens uses Industry X to drive digital transformation particularly in the manufacturing sector, where the company uses advanced automation and digitalisation solutions across its manufacturing processes. Technologies include industrial IoT platforms, digital twins and advanced analytics. This allows manufacturers to optimise production, improve efficiency and enhance product quality.
At Siemens, the definition of a Smart Factory is a method which helps manufacturers to reach their goals. Siemens unites production with operational processes alongside facility management with digital technologies to address factory needs, which gives real-time insights across processes and products.
Business consulting company Deloitte recently opened The Smart Factory @ Wichita, a centre with manufacturing collaborators, including Siemens.
Gerlingen-Schillerhöhe, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
CEO: Stefan Hartung
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services, which is divided into several sectors: Building Technology, Consumer Goods and Energy, Industrial Technology and Mobility Solutions.
Bosch utilises IoT technologies to connect machines, devices and systems within industrial environments. The company provides IoT platforms and solutions that enable data collection, analysis and communication. Bosch also embraces the Industry X principles, to advance digital transformation and enhance industrial processes. Its robotic solutions are designed to collaborate with humans, performing tasks that require precision, speed and repeatability.
At Bosch, many of its manufacturing systems and logistics processes have been optimised with Industry 4.0 solutions and over 50% use Nexeed. Bosch’s manufacturers across the world are benefiting from Bosch’s smart factory transition.
Other magazines that may be of interest - Healthcare Digital.
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