Survey Finds Manufacturers are Leading the Charge in AI Adoption

61% Predicting to Achieve AI Goals in Just 11 months, Fluke Reliability Survey Finds

Everyone is in the survey business these days. Fluke Reliability conducted this one and of course capitalized on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) meme. The focus was on our traditional understanding of AI in manufacturing, not on Generative AI that is capturing headlines but not use cases.

Why are business leaders (over 600 senior decision-makers and maintenance professionals in this survey) considering AI? Business growth, addressing the skills gap and need for greater efficiency are driving plans for AI, machine learning, cloud computing and other digital technology adoption.

Censuswide conducted the research, which surveyed over 600 senior decision-makers and maintenance professionals in the U.S., the UK, and Germany. The findings confirm that manufacturers are at the forefront of implementing AI technologies into day-to-day operations.

AI will be a high business priority for companies over the next 12 months according to 93% of survey respondents. This sentiment is echoed at an organizational level, with 9 in 10 senior decision makers agreeing AI is the priority and over 4 in 5 maintenance managers saying the same.

Regarding the role of AI in predictive maintenance, only 8% of those surveyed are currently operating a predictive maintenance strategy. However, a massive 76.5% want to shift to predictive/proactive maintenance in the future, and AI implementation is viewed as a tool to achieve that goal.

Manufacturers are already turning their intentions into action, on average respondents said they intend to invest 44% of their technology budgets on AI in 2024 alone. In fact, (30%) of those surveyed plan to invest 51-75% of their technology budget on AI this year.

While only 9% of manufacturers agree that they have completed their Industry 5.0 goals to date, the majority (61%) expect to achieve their AI goals in just 11 months.

Anticipated benefits include:

  • the ability to develop new products and services (35%)
  • provide a new way to address data processing and analysis requirements (35%)
  • a means to address the call for improvements to customer service (35%)
  • the demand for improved efficiency and productivity (34%)
  • ways to compensate for the skilled labor shortage (31%).

FieldComm Group Acquires FDT/DTM Technology

Ah, so go markets. Bitter enemies at the start many years ago. A gradual coming together. And now one big happy organization. FieldComm Group completes acquisition of FDT Group technologies. It all had to happen. I’m sure the member companies did not want to continue paying dues to multiple organizations. It’s a win all the way around. As well, they kept Steve Biegacki on to head up Strategic Integration—something for which he should be good.

From the press release. FieldComm Group, a leading figure in global industrial automation standards, today (June 10, 2024) announces that is has completed the acquisition of FDT Group’s assets including the FDT/DTM technology standards. This significant transaction underscores FieldComm Group’s dedication to addressing industrial device management challenges across the entire industrial automation market, ultimately enhancing operational efficiency for vendors and end users.

With a comprehensive suite of technologies including Information Models, the Field Device Integration (FDI) standard, and well-established communication protocols like HART, HART-IP, WirelessHART, and Foundation Fieldbus, FieldComm Group’s market offerings serve the entire process automation sector. The addition of FDT/DTM technology, a widely deployed device integration standard across process and factory automation markets, adds new technologies to the portfolio, completely addressing the industrial automation hierarchy.

The obligatory comment by the CEO:

“As digitalization transforms the automation industry by breaking down barriers between operation technology and information technology, the integration of factory and process automation devices becomes both more important and more difficult. Our aim as a standards organization is to add intelligence to the device integration process, with an ultimate goal of making it simpler,” stated Ted Masters, President and CEO of FIeldComm Group. “Ends users and suppliers will benefit greatly from this acquisition by having a single standards development organization responsible for the full spectrum of device integration from the simplest sensor to the most complex field instrument.”

Strategic Integration:

As part of the acquisition, FieldComm Group announces the formation of a Strategic Integration Committee (SIC), under the leadership of industry expert Steve Biegacki, former Managing Director of the FDT Group. The SIC will drive advancement of integration standards, including FDT/DTM and FDI, ensuring proactive management and maintenance of these technologies. The committee will initially be composed of FieldComm Group Board-level company representatives, with planned expansion to include representatives from other Standards Development Organizations (SDOs). The SIC aims to collaboratively work to preserve the existing installed base and chart a standardization roadmap for a unified device management platform, ensuring interoperability across existing protocols as well as future technology evolution, including OPC UA FX.

Our focus is on unified device configuration and a migration path to the future,” said Steve Biegacki. “At FieldComm Group, we are committed to seamless integration and enhanced operational efficiency for the entire automation industry.”

Generative AI for Project Estimation and Digital Engineering

My last post concerned using new technologies for specification development. Extending use cases of technology into other realms of administrative work, this release from Galorath announces their new product, SEERai, an advanced chat-based generative artificial intelligence (AI) built specifically to assist digital engineers and engineering professionals plan and estimate projects. (Something else I could have gladly used in my earlier career.)

Use cases for this GenerativeAI technology include information technology (IT), software, hardware, manufacturing, aerospace, military, space, and more.

SEER enables businesses to streamline cost and cost estimation and project planning with real-time insights into cost drivers, risk factors, and the potential impact of hundreds of project variables. With SEER, digital engineers are empowered with industry-leading methodologies in digital engineering and keen, unprecedented insight into actionable data. With the availability of SEERai, cost estimation professionals have easy, generative access to Galorath’s proprietary knowledge base assembled and validated over its forty-year legacy, allowing users to engage in chat-based strategic conversations with SEERai and gain action-oriented insights for their projects and initiatives.

SEERai is built upon the existing industry-leading capabilities of the SEER Cost Estimation Platform. 

SEER’s features include:

  • Predictive Analytics: Accurately forecast project costs, schedules, and potential risks.
  • Machine Learning Algorithms: Improves predictions over time as project data is shared and easily adapts to new information and changing conditions.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Provides insights into cost drivers, risk factors, and the impact of different variables on project outcomes to make informed decisions.
  • Risk Analysis and Mitigation: Evaluates the probability/impact of various risk factors on a project, identifying potential issues before they occur and developing mitigation strategies, and planning for program uncertainty.
  • Customization and Scalability: Adapts to projects of different sizes and complexities across various industries with a high degree of AI algorithm customization and scalability.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: Integrates seamlessly with other project management and engineering software tools to facilitate the exchange of data and enhance analysis.

Platform Streamlining Specification Development Process

There exist many varieties of software platforms. Schneider Electric has introduced a new one on me—a “Specification Development Process” platform. I can think of many times in my career I could have used a tool such as this.

In brief:

  • Industry’s first platform for Specifiers that provides complete, up-to-date information to increase accuracy for architectural, engineering, and construction specifications
  • Developed in partnership with RIB Software, next-generation platform provides new levels of simplicity, transparency, and version control for modern design and engineering firms
  • Intuitive, cloud-based workspace to easily manage project specifications, track progress, and seamlessly download data
  • SpecLive Collaborate platform provides real time collaboration with Schneider Electric Experts and access to up-to-date specification content to increase accuracy and manage version control.

Schneider Electric launched SpecLive Collaborate May 22, 2024, a first-of-its-kind platform, to modernize and streamline product specification and content integration for professionals. SpecLive Collaborate provides specifiers and engineers with a simple, streamlined experience for evaluating Schneider Electric’s cutting-edge solutions. This platform keeps essential technical product data intact by providing real time access to cloud-hosted specification content, reducing coordination gaps for the duration of the specification process. By improving upon static document-based processes, SpecLive Collaborate empowers teams with a shared, cloud-based workspace to develop more accurate specifications more collaboratively and more efficiently.

SpecLive Collaborate is part of Schneider Electric’s Specifier toolkit, made available via the MySchneider portal and your local consulting application engineers to provide users with the information to easily generate accurate and comprehensive specifications. SpecLive Collaborate does not require new workflows, and if the specifier has questions about a product or other information in the tool, they can request help directly through the platform.

A New “Ops” Simulation Operations Automation Hits the Market

The IT world has many technologies called “ops” today. Simr, formerly called UberCloud, unveils “SimOps” hoping to “revolutionize product development by accelerating computer-based simulations. It also announced $20M in Series A funding from BMW i Ventures, Uncorrelated Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital.

Simr gives engineers a single platform for using any compute resources with any leading simulation tool. The company is closely partnered with leading simulation platform providers including Ansys, Siemens, and Dassault Systèmes.

With the close of the new funding, Salil Deshpande, General Partner at Uncorrelated Ventures, and Baris Guzel, Partner at BMW i Ventures, join Ali Kutay, CEO and Chairman of Striim, and Roland Manger, Co-founder and Partner at Earlybird Venture Capital, on the Simr board of directors.

Benefits: 

  • Increased Product Innovation and Reduced Time-to-Market: Utilizing cloud HPC enables engineers to work with large models and detailed simulations that would be too complex and time-consuming for standard workstations. This leads to the rapid development of more accurate and effective designs, increasing innovation and helping speed the delivery of products to market. 
  • Uninterrupted Productivity: Simr ensures a no-compromise user experience by enabling engineers to use any and all of their existing simulation platforms and workflows – including those from Ansys, Dassault, and Siemens – without any additional onboarding or configuration. This eliminates reskilling and ensures that productivity is not only uninterrupted but accelerated. 
  • Unmatched Security: The Simr platform’s implementation in the customer’s own cloud account enables IT teams to keep all proprietary data behind their corporate firewall – under their complete and exclusive control – while maintaining direct access to their cloud provider’s full range of security and compliance mechanisms. 
  • Increased Cost-Efficiency: Unlike consumption-based pricing models, Simr’s fixed, per-user pricing promotes simulation use by enabling customers to maintain direct relationships with the engineering software vendors and cloud providers of their choice. This enables them to leverage their own negotiated pricing and enables these resources to be accessed on an as-needed basis. 

Universal Robots and MiR Open Robotics Hub in Denmark

More news emanating from the collaborative robotic sector in Denmark. The news uses a word I thought was outlawed after the excesses of corporatism in the 70s—synergies. But, yes, Teredyne strives to create those nebulous things with a new building in Odense, Denmark bringing Universal Robots and Mobile Industrial Robots together into one 215,000 sq. ft. headquarters.

“The launch of this new headquarters marks a significant milestone for Teradyne Robotics as we bring together two leading companies in robotics innovation,” says Ujjwal Kumar, Group President of Teradyne Robotics. “We will now have the optimal environment to evolve our technological capabilities, which are already in high demand.”

On the new robotics hub, Jean-Pierre Hathout, President of MiR, said:

“Our new headquarters is designed to foster innovation, providing the perfect setting for our teams to develop leading-edge solutions that will revolutionize automation. MiR is committed to being a one-stop-shop for material handling, continuously advancing our technology to meet the evolving needs of our large, global customers. Our recently launched AI-powered MiR1200 Pallet Jack exemplifies this dedication. I’m thrilled to witness the transformative impact of our endeavors and to showcase MiR’s and UR’s offerings to our customers and partners at this state-of-the-art facility.”

Kim Povlsen, President of Universal Robots, added:

“Since our foundation, UR has become a platform of choice for thousands of customers and hundreds of ecosystem partners. This beautiful building reflects our strong design philosophy and provides the perfect location for us to continue our mission to deliver automation for anyone, anywhere.”

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