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The Factory of Tomorrow Will Be Smart

The Factory of Tomorrow Will Be Smart: White Paper

The factory of tomorrow will be smart

The automated meshing of production and business processes is becoming a competitive factor for companies in economically uncertain times. Together with the Institute for Automation and Industrial IT at Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Intel and Computacenter are developing pioneering solutions for the creation of an appropriate, smart IT infrastructure.

The current economic crisis is making new demands on manufacturing industry, in particular, in terms of the flexibility and efficiency of production processes. This requires production and administrative processes to mesh with each other by means of IT systems to optimize the use and capacity of machines and lines, and also respond rapidly to errant developments in production, minimizing adverse affects on the business.

The future scenario of the “smart factory” represents the zenith of this development. The factory can be modified and expanded at will, combines all components from different manufacturers, and enables them to take on context­related tasks autonomously. Integrated user interfaces still will be required at most for basic functionalities. The complex control operations will run wirelessly and ad hoc via mobile terminals, such as PDAs or smartphones.

In many manufacturing companies, however, the reality looks different. Every machine generally still operates in isolation without any interfaces to vertical or horizontal communication with the other systems in the classic automation pyramid. As a result, companies have had scarcely any capability to date to respond rapidly to changes in demand or supply, or quality and service problems.

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