Toyota and Hitachi are collaborating to create a high-efficiency production model using an IoT platform.
Two of Japan’s largest companies are joining forces to take smart manufacturing to the next level. Starting this month, Toyota and Hitachi intend to establish a platform that will be applicable across the manufacturing sector. It will lean heavily on Hitachi’s existing ‘Lumada’ technology and apply artificial intelligence and big data analysis on the factory floor.
Fortunately for the partnership, car manufacturer Toyota has a number of plants to act as test beds for the new partnership. Beginning in October, the two companies will conduct verification at Toyota’s model plants and establish a platform using Hitachi’s Lumada technology.
Combining big data with AI
Hitachi’s Lumada is all about turning mountains of data into insight its partners can act on. That’s where predictive analytics, real-time optimization and AI enter the picture. According to Hitachi, “using this platform to solve various issues at manufacturing sites allows the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle to be accelerated.”
Central to Hitachi’s Lumada is the notion that an efficient production system needs to be circular. By incorporating feedback and real-time information, new issues can be identified and actedupon to boost quality and productivity.
According to a joint statement from Hitachi and Toyota, their collaboration is a response to an advancing manufacturing industry in need of smarter systems: “The operating environment surrounding the manufacturing industry has been changing rapidly in recent years due to diversified customer needs and advanced digitalization; thus, there has been increasing demand to establish a high-efficiency production system using IoT that can immediately respond to such situations.”
Preventing unexpected failures
Toyota brings something to the table other than test beds for the new IoT services. The car giant has improved productivity over the course of many years through automation and its Just-in-Time philosophy, which improves productivity by focusing on “what is needed, when it is needed, and the amount that is needed to eliminate waste, inconsistencies and unreasonable requirements.”
Taking advantage of both companies’ respective technologies and experience, a plant IoT platform will be set up in each of Toyota’s model plants. Once established, both companies will apply IoT technology across manufacturing processes and share data to further improve production efficiency.
One of the priorities is to develop a system that prevents unexpected facility failures, which can put factories offline for hours or days at a time and hit profits hard. Toyota and Hitachi hope that the data gathered and analyzed will help to improve overall reliability and the efficiency of maintenance work.
In a joint statement, Toyota and Hitachi says that together they “intend to make further use of the data, new technologies, and know-how that will be obtained in this verification, and strive to cultivate human resources in the IoT field, and create new value to offer business solutions for manufacturing sites and business operations.”