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Safeguarding your company knowledge in the long term with AI

Published on
02 December 2019
Topics: Articles

With estimates that up to 50% of engineers could retire within a decade, fewer engineers starting careers in the industry sector, and tensions from increased global competition, retaining the knowledge and know-how of the production processes in the future is a real challenge for manufacturing industry. Artificial intelligence (AI), combined with big data storage capabilities, can help you starting today.

During their training and experience on the factory floor and in labs, engineers continuously test and perfect the methods of production, and they intuitively assimilate and build knowledge that cannot easily be verbalized or transmitted. An example could be hearing a slight variation of frequency of a machine and knowing intuitively that it needs maintenance soon in order to avoid a future stoppage.

Building wisdom in an exponential manner

With its exceptional pattern recognition abilities, AI can assimilate this kind of knowledge by learning though past and live data, across silos of information even when the sharing of information isn’t optimal between individuals or departments, and, through machine learning algorithms, can build knowledge without rule-based programming. Information, knowledge and experience, coming from engineers and machines, can now be digitized as data. Said data can then be centralized and improved over time, building wisdom in an exponential manner.

Solving problems isn’t an exclusive capacity of humans anymore, and it’s a good news: this reasoning capability allows to unleash extraordinary continuous improvement through the analysis of hundreds or thousands of values and dimensions at the same time, whereas humans are limited to 4 or 5 at the same time. With a full view of the production in time and its multiple processes and equipment’s behavior, AI makes it easier to optimize by an order of magnitude. To unleash this power, AI must still be guided by engineers that can focus the data analysis through their business expertise.

Human + AI

Without the knowledge of engineers, AI algorithms would calculate endlessly and aimlessly. For this human & AI collaboration to work, engineers must reinvent themselves once more, as they did through each of the previous industrial revolutions. That’s why linking the virtual and the physical world is one of the core new role of the engineer 4.0, and why we encourage companies just starting to take a couple of days to organize exploratory workshops, to find out the projects combining AI and human expertise for maximum company impact.

With human & AI collaboration, AI models can help current and future generations of engineers and operators in their daily tasks, and push productivity to new levels, for example through AI-assistants that can advise and act fast to live condition of the production lines.

Concretely, an AI platform like Wizata can become a one-stop-shop for Industry 4.0 and AI transformation from A to Z, with case management, historical and live data analysis, AI building and deploying from the cloud to the edge, and digital twins to provide context to data. When centralizing knowledge and innovation, we strongly advise to keep your data and AI models under your exclusive control, as happens through the Wizata platform, to remove the risk of labor moving to the competition with your knowledge and the capture and dispersion of your savoir-faire by solutions vendors.