Since 2014 and based on numerous real-world deployments of Smart Factories (aka 4.0 Industry, Industrial IoT, Industry of the future), it appears as an obvious evidence how challenging it is to explain to many Execs the concepts of the 4.0 Industry.
While at first sight the overall factory and principles look alike, the 4.0 Industry core principles underneath go way over the first impression. It usually strongly challenges more than 20 years of operation experience of Execs.
As a result, the misunderstanding of that disruption leads to both a lack of investment and a delay in decisions. In turn, impacting competitivity.
We tried for years to highlight the leap and the disruptions of those technologies, but nothing was fully satisfying:
- Enumerating exhaustively the endless list of new technologies, and what problem it solves
- But due to the length of the items, they end-up being scared !
- Trying to convince with facts & figures on how to perform better
- But it’s not tangible. Besides, Execs don’t need help to read the same facts and figures they could find on their own in newsletters, Gartner and Forrester
- Deploying onto their factory free started kit in 4 weeks
- But it’s necessarily a small and limited use case, and they don’t see the global picture
- Sending Execs to visit multimillion showrooms
- They have the WAOUW-effect, but the presented use cases are different from their factory
ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS
And what if we were wrong for the last 7 years, by adopting an incorrect approach? Before trying to create a revolutionary new training material, let’s consider the existing ecosystem.
On one hand, we have Lego bricks that mimic a factory, but we cannot transpose to a reality Legos; on the other hand, we have a heavy-duty and expensive showrooms ; something is missing in the middle.
It is where FactoVia comes into play to reinvent the education methods in this field. We had the chance and the opportunity to visit a few years ago a Montessori school, where 5-year-old kids manipulate sophisticated concepts such as:
- Division by 12
- Counting until 1000
- Performing additions such as 3743 + 2532
- … This was like an electroshock and the question we had was “how can they understand and do so much maths at their young age ?”
Back in the 1900, Maria Montessori gathered some tools and created new ones with key concepts :
- Attractive and pedagogical tools
- Fun and inspiring learning techniques
- Self-learning and self-discovery, where failures are opportunities to learn rather than actions to be blamed
- Encapsulate complexities to make those concepts available through various manipulations, and via various angles
The results are kids with self-motivation and creativity.
Let's consider the Cube-Root of 1000. For example, adults solve that the with numerous abstract calculation and demonstrations (source cube-root-of-1000).
Whereas a 5-year-old kids finds the result of 10 easily via gaming and concret manipulations : They feel and understand that the answer is 10, because it is precisely the number of beads that touches a table.
25-seconds video : Kid learning Cube-root of 1000 the Montessori way
And what if the Smart Factory topic could be as easy ?
Let us consider the philosophy of the Raspberry PI. It aims to democratize the usage of computers by miniaturing and lowering the price. Yet it is a fully functional computer with a lot more use cases than regular PCs. Besides, by Open Sourcing it, knowledge is spread largely worldwide, providing benefits to kids, adults and industries. This is exactly the aim of FactoVia One : it is a combination of hardware, software and new kind of user experience to widespread Industry 4.0.
It is based on :
- Three pedagogical pillars :
- Teacher and researcher
- Escape game designer
- And psychologists specialized in User Experience in industry
- One industrial requirement : have a true and working mini-factory, accredited by leading industries such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Advantech, B&R ABB group, OPC foundation, Microsoft, …
- Three type of publics :
- adults (from operators to C-levels)
At FactoVia, we invested a large amount of time and money to create FactoVia One. We had the help of hundreds of people worldwide, from the US to Australia because our product is Open Source. FactoVia One has already been sold and it has already helped students and professionals to grasp Industry 4.0 quickly, thanks to the following true use cases :
- Security: Cyber security with brute-force attacks
- Savings : Performance monitoring with real-time alerts and real-time actions back to the factory
- Agility : Based on no-code we replace a broken robot by another one from another vendor without the need of asking an expert in recoding everything for this new make of robots
- Remote Assistance : due to COVID-19, few experts are helping a remote site on the other side of the planet
- Maintain a large number of factories : using “Digital Twins” perform updates, real-time monitoring and querying any assets A marketplace offers other use cases ; some of them are free and open sourced ; some of them are closed source and available at a fee.
It is important to remember that the inside of FactoVia One is made of real factory devices, so real industrial equipment could be connected to it, such as a robot arm. Also, the connection to the cloud allows sophisticated real-time use cases.
The wooden shell has been designed by various specialized architects. And it accommodates real industrial apparatus that uses true industrial protocols such as OPC UA to learn and demonstrate today’s challenges (security, cyberattacks, digital Twins, productivity, …). It interacts bi-directionally with either a public cloud or a private cloud, and optionally it has the ability to connect to any real industrial robot arms or co-bot or AGV or CNC.
(Image credits : Image Kids by White77 from Pixabay)