Unlocking the Power of Supply Chain Resiliency with Industrial Metaverse
Technologists believe we are a long way from achieving the advanced sentient robots depicted in HBO’s science fiction series “Westworld.” Even though the Westworld isn’t our reality yet, the idea of humanoid robots doesn’t seem like science fiction anymore, especially in the supply chain world.
The world’s leading tradeshow for industrial technology, Hannover Messe, brought over 4000 companies worldwide to present their innovations and solutions for a connected and climate-neutral industry. SAP exhibited its range of tools that leverage augmented reality to connect supply chains and workforces under the theme of “Make Manufacturing More Resilient”.
The Factory of the Future
This year, SAP focused on digital transformation, interconnected processes, and fostering collaboration within one’s ecosystem. The Factory of the Future, the virtual representation of the Industry 4.0 Center, was available for visitors to experience real-world business cases live, paperless operations, human-machine collaboration, and visual inspection. The Factory was showcasing how the Industrial Metaverse is aiding in the transformation of business operations by simulating processes and manufacturing.
One example was displaying discrete production scenarios. In an automated warehouse simulation with autonomous mobile robots and collaborative robots, visitors could experience how SAP Digital Manufacturing embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can assist workers with quality checks.
By connecting both the workers and the robots with clear dynamic visuals, quality checks can be carried out consistently and accurately and minimize human errors. This collaboration and the high level of traceability help companies to identify the source of the quality issues and enable addressing them while minimizing the impact on the overall supply chain.
Creating a digital twin
Once the product assembly is completed, it is time for the digital twin of the physical product to be created. The digital twin is a comprehensive representation of the company’s assets, products, or processes in the digital world. This enables users to integrate the data that comes from customers, partners, and suppliers.
The Asset Administration Shell (AAS) plays a crucial role to form the basis for exchanging this data for cross-company processes and aligning with open industrial standards. This is a digital representation of an asset that maintains the information needed for its functionality and all the associated assets. It contains the data which makes an asset administrable and identifiable, in other words, it’s an ID of a product.
Experience production network
Another interesting showcase was highlighting how electric CNC (Computer Numerical Control) injection molding is part of a production network. With this, visitors could configure specific colors and logos for sales orders within the web shop in SAP S/4HANA. When the production order is generated to fulfill the demand, it is dispatched to the machine on the show floor. Then the order is executed on-site with the electric CNC machine, which is bi-directionally connected to SAP digital manufacturing. At the end of this process, you receive your own customized reusable cup.
Experience the process industry production scenarios
The process industry production line in The Factory in Walldorf was controlled by the production control center in Hannover. Each specific recipe was executed by the operator, and in addition, the automation layer is interconnected bidirectionally with SAP Digital Manufacturing.
Within the production network, there is also a need to create a process order for a batch, which involves weighing and dispensing a premix. This is where the worker interacts with SAP Digital Manufacturing, which is connected to an industrial scale using open industry standards.