During the recent award ceremony in Singapore, Mitsubishi Electric's e-F@ctory concept was the recipient of the 2015 Frost & Sullivan Southeast Asia Enabling Technology Award. The award forms part of Frost & Sullivan's respected program for recognizing best practices in a variety of different industries and application fields.
The foundation for making the award is extensive primary and secondary research through the total value chain giving a unique 360-degree view of specific technologies and products. According to David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan, "To achieve enabling technology leadership is never an easy task, but it is one made even more difficult due to today's competitive intensity, customer volatility, and economic uncertainty - not to mention the difficulty of innovating in an environment of escalating challenges to intellectual property."
Based on this background Frost & Sullivan selected Mitsubishi Electric's e-F@ctory platform through its ability to completely integrate factory automation equipment using common protocols and networks.
In recent years manufacturing is said to be entering its fourth industrial revolution combining the advances in IT technology, 3D printing, simulation and modeling with advanced automation of factory floor operations. The effect has been great discussion around IIoT, Industry 4.0 as well as spawning regional manufacturing leadership concepts such as "Made in China 2025". But the question remains how to actually achieve these laudable goals, which is where the e-F@ctory platform comes in.
At its heart are the core factory automation components such as Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), Robots, drives etc these are combined with related hardware components to connect those control systems with IT systems making it ideal for Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and enterprise applications."Mitsubishi Electric, renowned for its offerings in the electronics industry, has carved a niche for itself in the factory automation space, thanks to its global reach and vast experience. With Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gathering the attention of major automation system suppliers, Mitsubishi Electric has realized the potential such a technology will offer in the factory automation space. The company also recognizes that as IIoT becomes more relevant to manufacturing, transparency will become paramount. Its e-F@ctory is seen as the perfect solution to enable company-wide visibility" states Krishnan Ramanathan, Senior Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
The e-F@ctory platform goes further to make this reality. With its ecosystem of over 3000 direct and in-direct partners it can ease the way to integrating a gamut of sensors, machines, IT technology in to a single vibrant manufacturing entity. Examples are not limited to a specific industry or region as e-F@ctory, as recognized by Frost & Sullivan, is a scalable enabling technology with a wide application base. There are already multiple model factory installations established as well as several 100's of customer installations; for example, through working with Intel and collaborating with other e-F@ctory Alliance members a pilot application in Malaysia was realized. The result is saving many millions of dollars through waste reduction and efficiency gains in Intel's back end manufacturing plants.