Mitsubishi and Intel collaborate on IoT automation
Mitsubishi Electric and the chip-maker Intel have revealed that they have been collaborating to develop next-generation factory automation (FA) systems using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. They have established a pilot plant in Malaysia to demonstrate the benefits of IoT in a factory setting, with a focus on improving productivity by using innovative functions such as predictive failure
The pilot plant, which combines Intel’s IoT expertise with Mitsubishi’s e-F@ctory automation technologies, has already achieved savings worth $9m through cost avoidance and improved decision-making. Following a demonstration of their technologies at the IoT Japan 2014 trade show in October, the partners plan to launch commercial products next year in the form of next-generation factory automation systems with predictive analytic capabilities.
In the pilot, located at Intel’s backend manufacturing facility in Malaysia, the partners have implemented a system that combines end-to-end IoT connections with big data analytics. Using a Mitsubishi C Controller IoT gateway (which is based on Intel Atom processors), they gathered and aggregated data securely for an analytics server. The data was then processed using analytical software from Revolution Analytics that uses the open-source R statistics language, which was hosted on Cloudera Enterprise, the foundation of an enterprise data hub.
The partners say that the pilot installation improved equipment uptime, increased yield and productivity by minimising the mis-classification of good items as bad, enabled predictive maintenance, and reduced component failures.
“The collaboration between Mitsubishi Electric and Intel on this IoT project has enabled field data from semiconductor manufacturing lines to be collected and analysed to improve operational performance, yet also contribute energy savings for a more sustainable society,” explains Masayuki Yamamoto, group senior vice-president, in Mitsubishi’s Factory Automation Systems division. “We believe that other manufacturers can benefit from this joint Intel-Mitsubishi Electric solution, which combines big data analysis, optimised data capture and processing to deliver improved performance and optimised maintenance.”
“The data mining and analytics pilots done in Malaysia have demonstrated great value and benefits for Intel manufacturing using Intel-based IoT products and technology,” adds Robin Martin, vice-president and general manager of Intel’s Assembly and Test Group. “Through this collaboration and pilot with Mitsubishi Electric, we will bring the know-how, assets and technology of both companies to develop next-generation factory automation systems with predictive analytic capabilities. This will allow other companies to reap the benefits of the Internet of Things for factory operations.”