The Record - Issue 19: Winter 2020

108 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E Optimisation through integration Manufacturers are turning to Microsoft and its partners to help them integrate legacy and cutting-edge technology for real competitive advantage BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS M anufacturing enterprises across the world are using cutting-edge technologies to deliver Industry 4.0 and smart manu- facturing initiatives. A seamless flow of data has become essential to achieving the agility, speed and transparency they need, and that means inte- grating operational technology (OT) with infor- mation technology (IT) across the enterprise. “Advances in connectivity, big data, and the expansion of the internet of things (IoT) have opened the door for a new breed of intelligent manufacturing technology that is impacting both IT and OT,” says Colin Masson, global industry director manufacturing solutions at Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise. “Today, data-optimised smart machines can receive input from a wide range of sources – from customer order data to production data – to enable more agile manu- facturing, improve production efficiency and provide greater visibility into operational perfor- mance. From supply chain management to the operations floor, data is now ubiquitous across the organisation, and that means IT and OT can no longer operate independently.” Microsoft and its ecosystem of partners are uniquely positioned to support the Industry 4.0 vision. In South Korea, for instance, LS Electric is using Microsoft Azure IoT Edge to provide the real-time data processing it needs to deploy machine learningmodels effectively and enhance its smart factory capabilities. Within four months of deployment, the solutions helped the com- pany to improve the test accuracy for its mag- netic contactor production line by 80 per cent. As well as improving product quality the com- pany reduced production line waste, improved customer satisfaction levels and increased prof- itability. In addition, it is now faster and easier for LS Electric’s people to do their jobs. They can develop new machine learning models for use on multiple production lines in about an hour, a process that used to take two to three days. LS Electric plans to use the same approach for other product lines, including developing deep “Modern manufacturing requires secure and intelligent operations and connected supply chains” COL I N MA S SON , M I C ROSOF T