The coronavirus pandemic has “exposed industry’s need to modernize operations”, according to Hitachi.
The industrial giant made the assertion as it launched an expanded set of digital services through its Hitachi Vantara subsidiary to help manufacturers accelerate “Manufacturing 4.0 initiatives” and to assist with safely restarting production in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For many manufacturers, the pandemic has not only affected worker health and safety, it has impacted demand, interrupted production, exposed vulnerabilities in supply chains, and driven an urgent need to modernize operations.
Dramatic variations in production capacity and demand illustrate the new stresses being placed on manufacturing supply chains and production planning: after the onset of Covid-19, industrial production in the United States experienced the steepest decline since 1946, yet daily US e-commerce sales jumped 49 percent.
Hitachi Vantara’s new manufacturing practice and its expanded portfolio of digital manufacturing solutions, services and consulting services aims to help manufacturers adapt to these immediate challenges.
It also promises to help manufacturers lay the foundations for the digitalization of health, safety and environment, asset insights, predictive quality, and operations optimization.
James Destro, general manager, manufacturing practice, Hitachi Vantara, says: “The Covid-19 pandemic is exposing a litany of challenges for manufacturers that highlight how important unlocking data and digital industrial innovation is to the industry’s future.
“With our powerful IT (information technology) and OT (operations technology) experience, Hitachi Vantara can uniquely inspire, envision, architect and accelerate digital transformation that solves today’s challenges and prepares manufacturers for the challenges of tomorrow.”
Solutions for Smart Spaces ‘a top priority’
Worker health and safety are primary concerns for manufacturers restarting their operations during Covid-19.
The expanded portfolio of digital solutions for manufacturing from Hitachi Vantara includes health, safety and environment solutions leveraging Lumada Video Insights technologies which can be configured for applications such as elevated body temperature identification and hand-washing detection.
Thermal cameras and lidar technology can detect the temperature of a person from a distance, so that workers can be screened non-intrusively for symptoms of COVID-19 and workspaces can be monitored for compliance with distancing recommendations.
‘Practice helps manufacturers with digital transformation’
Covid-19 has revealed many manufacturers’ over-reliance on manual processes and operations, and the lack of visibility that many manufacturing line managers and executives have into their supply chains. Both hinder manufacturers’ ability to respond dynamically during times of uncertain demand.
Modernizing and digitalizing such capabilities will be essential for manufacturers to recover from the pandemic quickly, and to create the more agile and resilient manufacturing operations needed in the future. This is another focus of Hitachi Vantara’s new manufacturing practice.
Hitachi’s manufacturing innovations, enterprise-class information technology, and intellectual property – coupled with deep, industry-specific consulting expertise and proven methods to accelerate time to value – enable customers to operationalize digital innovation in a protected, deployment-agnostic and end-to-end approach.
Hitachi Vantara’s outcome-focused consulting process breaks down barriers between OT and IT teams to craft comprehensive solutions that deliver transformative outcomes.
Hitachi Vantara expands Lumada Manufacturing Insights portfolio
Hitachi Vantara also announced the expansion of Lumada Manufacturing Insights solutions with new domains that help manufacturers address health, safety and environment, supply chain optimization, asset insights, predictive quality, and operations optimization.
Lumada Manufacturing Insights is a portfolio of industrial internet-of-things solutions that empowers manufacturers to improve operations through data-driven insights.
The portfolio delivers benefits such as improved overall equipment effectiveness superior operations efficiency, and product quality optimization through predictive and prescriptive insights.
The new solutions introduced today, coupled to Hitachi Vantara’s advisory and consulting services, enable manufacturers to connect production floor manufacturing execution systems to enterprise resource planning systems to create a “digital thread” that provides complete visibility into the data of the organization.
Fabio Raffo, associate director for industrial software research at Omdia Research, says: “The Covid-19 pandemic presents a number of significant challenges for global manufacturers, from ensuring safety for their workers, to supporting new regulatory compliance, to managing and maintaining a strong supply chain and solving for logistics.
“As they grapple with operating in the new normal, transformative digital solutions can help to provide significant return on investment and play an integral role in helping them to not only solve for and overcome these challenges – but thrive – while providing a foundation for future innovation.”