Digital transformation has resulted in an array of emerging technologies and scientific breakthroughs that profoundly change the way products are designed and manufactured. Production systems have steadily evolved from standalone automated processes to highly integrated work cells that fabricate parts, assemble these into products, and move them along the production line.
The Move to Cognitive Manufacturing
The control systems and level of automation associated with these complex production systems have also become increasingly complex. Today, we are seeing these automated production systems make the next evolutionary step into cognitive manufacturing based on machine learning, adaptive controls, and analytics that can predict changes in the process, prescribe how to improve the process, and teach the system to run autonomously and heal itself.
We have already seen how cognitive computing takes Big Data analytics to a new level. It allows systems to learn, form hypotheses, and make recommendations much faster than humans. The basic characteristics of a cognitive system are understanding, reasoning, learning, and responding. Now, we see this approach being applied to manufacturing.
Cognitive machines can utilize large amounts of sensory data to form patterns, reason, and learn over time. Taking this capability to the factory floor will radically change the production process. A cognitive machine doesn’t get tired or take breaks, but works continuously to increase productivity and product quality while relentlessly “learning” how to further improve the production process.
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Keywords: Cognitive Machines, Predictive/Prescriptive Analytics, Smart Connected Factory Ecosystem, Operational Intelligence, Continuous Process Improvement, ARC Advisory Group.