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December 2015 • SMT Magazine 65 and applications to plan and design manufac- turing facilities and processes. This is aided by specific software that optimizes the interoper- ability of various process components or to de- velop virtual products for example. Digitization trends are bringing new effi- ciencies to the industries. Big data analytics and advanced prognosis solutions will help opti- mize the operational flows and improve the rev- enue margins in companies. For example, big data analytics and predictive intelligence plat- forms can make the production lines in manu- facturing facilities faster by 30% (by eliminating redundant activities), according to Frost & Sul- livan. Although the prevalence of digital factories is low at the moment, analysts predict that its basis of operation—seamless data integration— will increase in importance in the near future. For instance, global automotive companies such as General Motors, Ford and Toyota, see the potential of this digital system and have taken steps in its direction. The Power of Simulation When a digital factory is set up, simulation of a virtual production line is made possible. The required type, volume and placement of machines for a new production process can be determined. More importantly, the actual pro- duction process can be simulated and tested for errors and issues that may be overlooked in the planning phase. Overall, three key areas can be enhanced using simulation: productivity, effi- ciency and flexibility. Simulations of a new production line will be built on real-time data to closely resemble the physical world. For example, to prepare for a sudden surge in demand, increasing the out- put setting can be used to test the viability of the production line. This can create bottlenecks along the line due to insufficient robots or man- power deployed at a specific station. Resolving such problems through tweaking the produc- tion line design will improve productivity when it is implemented. Simulation also results in efficiency optimi- zation as well as bigger cost savings. Proceeding straight to physically testing the actual produc- tion process would put a strain on the compa- ny's finances if issues were to occur. When the simulation predicts high success, the particular production design would have a potentially higher chance of swift implementation with minimal downtime. The ability to simulate allows for flexibility in changing production lines. In a time of ev- er-changing consumer demands and govern- mental policies, the factory's ability to switch accordingly is vital to its survival. Addition- ally, software that enables the transfer of digi- tal data after simulation into real production speeds up and allows for faster production changes. Anticipating a Virtual Future After analyzing the current trends and sta- tistics, it is clear that digital factories are set to transform the manufacturing landscape in the near future. With simulation elevating and optimizing new manufacturing designs, the concept of digital factories would be especially helpful for factories in the Asia to expand or change their production lines. SmT DIGITALIZATIon on THe HorIZon ArTiCle Jorey Guzman heads the product management for factory and process automation of Siemens industry in the ASEAn Region. " Digitization trends are bringing new efficiencies to the industries. big data analytics and advanced prognosis solutions will help optimize the operational flows and improve the revenue margins in companies. "

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