Industry 4.0 — more than manufacturing, part 4: manufacturing

By Kevin Baker | September 8, 2022

Editor’s note: In a report on industry for Orange leadership prepared this summer, Orange Silicon Valley analyst Kevin Baker examined the technological innovations driving transformation through the interconnection of physical and digital systems. The shift, referred to in this report as the fourth industrial revolution, will shape production and distribution in the years to come in ways we are just beginning to understand. This report is now being made available for our Orange Silicon Valley website readers in a series of five weekly articles. Part 4 looks at manufacturing. Other articles in the series include part 1, introduction; part 2, strategy and planning; part 3, procurement and sourcing; and part 5, distribution. For questions or additional information, please contact Kevin Baker.

Industry 4.0 — more than manufacturing, part 4: manufacturing

Cloud-based manufacturing solutions hit milestones

According to McKinsey & Company, nearly two-thirds of manufacturers currently use cloud-based solutions. However, most manufacturing activity relies on disparate systems whose components are sourced from a variety of vendors, making the data produced incompatible and leading to standalone processing. By connecting the data produced by manufacturing assets, Amazon and Google’s offerings both significantly enhance the value of manufacturing data derived from IoT systems.

Google Cloud announced the launch of two new manufacturing solutions, Manufacturing Data Engine and Manufacturing Connect. Together, these solutions are meant to enable manufacturers to connect historically siloed assets, standardize and process data, and improve visibility into manufacturing processes. Google’s new offering will focus on three use cases — manufacturing analytics and insights, predictive maintenance, and machine-level anomaly detection. By connecting the data produced by manufacturing assets, the offering significantly enhances the value AI can add in optimizing manufacturing systems by offering a holistic analysis of their ecosystems.

Amazon announced general availability of its IoT TwinMaker. The cloud-based solution helps developers create digital twins of real-world systems that operators can use to monitor and improve operations. By replicating the state of physical objects through IoT devices, TwinMaker addresses common use cases like remotely monitoring facilities, identifying equipment alerts, and providing three-dimensional models of physical assets and manufacturing facilities. In tandem, these use cases help improve operations and reduce equipment downtime.

Amazon, Micron pump further investment into next-generation industrial technology

Amazon announced an investment of $1 billion for the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund (AIIF). Through this vehicle, Amazon will deploy capital globally to companies of all stages — with a focus on technologies disrupting fulfillment, supply chains, and logistics. Amazon’s investments point to a future in which digital solutions blend into major elements of warehouse infrastructure, reducing risks for employees while simultaneously increasing productivity by either enhancing the abilities of employees or automating them altogether.

Micron Ventures announced its second fund, a $200 billion investment vehicle for startups involved in “Deep Tech”. This announcement follows the success of Micron Ventures’ first investment vehicle, which focused on startups involved in AI. According to Micron, the add-on benefits realized in its first fund were a partial motivation for the second. The memory chip manufacturer claims its first fund accelerated the adoption of AI technologies to reduce manufacturing costs; advanced global go-to-market capabilities with Cloud Service Providers; and strengthened relationships within the global automotive value chain.