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Fujitsu, Intel collaborate on new smart manufacturing system

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The two companies have implemented a visualization system at Intel’s factory in Penang, Malaysia

Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company Fujitsu is working with chipmaker Intel to improve the visualization system in Intel’s semiconductor factory in Penang, Malaysia, the firm’s largest factory outside the U.S., in a move toward more advanced smart manufacturing.

Fujitsu’s IoT-based system can visually capture the operational status of its semiconductor production lines and environmental data such as power and water usage. This system links the Fujitsu Business Application Intelligent Dashboard, an analysis and visualization tool that supports factory-wide optimization, with the Intel based IoT Gateway and the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 IoT platform, a cloud-based IoT data utilization platform service.

Fujitsu said that this smart system offers management the possibility to oversee the overall situation in the factory, enabling rapid tuning on policies and processes aimed to further enhancing productivity and efficiency.

In May 2015, Fujitsu and Intel began to collaborate on building IoT solutions. As the first phase of this collaboration project, the two companies launched a field trial with Shimane Fujitsu Limited, aimed at increasing efficiency by providing visibility into the manufacturing process in its factory, which produced results such as cutting shipping costs by 30%.

As part of the second phase, Fujitsu kicked off verification of a system in Intel’s Penang factory using IoT to provide visibility into the factory’s overall status, including the operational status of semiconductor production lines and energy usage.

The system uses the Intel based IoT Gateway to collect a variety of environmental data from electricity and water meters, as well as from environmental sensors that measure temperature and humidity. This is in addition to operational status data from the semiconductor production lines, which is then centralized and managed in the K5 IoT Platform service, a platform for IoT data utilization.

Based on this collected data, the system then visualizes important management indicators, such as the energy used and related costs, and the capacity utilization of manufacturing equipment through the intelligent dashboard.

Previously, at Intel’s Penang factory, environmental data inside the factory was collected monthly. However, management could not get a timely grasp on that data, which led to challenges in applying data to enhance factory-wide efficiency. By implementing this system, data such as energy usage can be checked daily, enabling the implementation of timely policies to improve factory operations, Fujitsu said.

Prior to the implementation of this new visualization system, operational data for each piece of manufacturing equipment in the semiconductor production lines was collected, aggregated and used on a case-by-case basis, such as in determining the cause of problems with manufacturing equipment. However, because management could not check the operational status of the production lines in real time, there were difficulties in connecting that data to improvements in productivity and efficiency.

The Japanese firm highlighted that this new system enables a real-time view of the operational status of equipment throughout the factory.

“The joint demonstration with Fujitsu on intelligent dashboard at Intel Penang Factory marks our commitment in driving IoT innovations. By processing massive data generated in a factory with Intel based IoT Gateway and Intel Xeon-powered servers, we will be able to visualize the factory in real-time and smart manner. Intel, in collaboration with Fujitsu, will continue to advance the capabilities, technology and the solution platform to enable the transformation of other factories among the industries worldwide,” Intel K.K’s president Makiko Eda, said.

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