Frost & Sullivan AI as Enabler of Cognitive Factories

Karthik Sundaram, Frost & Sullivan: “Mundane factory equipment will evolve into intelligent and thinking machines.”
Karthik Sundaram, Frost & Sullivan: “Mundane factory equipment will evolve into intelligent and thinking machines.”

Artificial Intelligence will be a key factor of the fourth industrial revolution which makes cognitive factories possible. But it will not replace the human intelligence, flexibility and creativity which will be essential for making good decisions even in the far future.

“Cognitive intelligence is not just giving manufacturers the ability to gain answers to known questions; it is also empowering the industry to find new answers to emerging questions”, Karthik Sundaram, Program Manager Industrial Internet of Things at Frost & Sullivan, mentioned in a presentation he held on Tuesday at SPS IPC Drives. “Similar to how earlier revolutions in manufacturing have seen several benefits from lean manufacturing, automation and IT, AI looks very promising as the next lynchpin for Industry 4.0.”

Several advancements in data processing and predictive analytics have helped utilize the acquired data to generate insights for effective decision-making. “The voluminous nature of manufacturing data further facilitates cognitive technologies to produce artificially intelligent systems that can correlate information, recognize patterns, and identify solutions or opportunities in manufacturing”, Karthik Sundaram said. “Cognitive manufacturing means that machines would autonomously begin to detect changes in the manufacturing process and would know how to respond real-time to the constantly changing manufacturing scenario with minimal human intervention.”

Further, in addition to helping to automate tasks, AI will – according to Karthik Sundaram - become a critical driver for improving current processes in manufacturing right from design and engineering to product development, sales, and after-sales. “Mundane factory equipment will evolve into intelligent and thinking machines”, Karthik Sundaram said. “As machines are able to think more, they will help us free our attention for other creative and thinking activities. Therefore, the next milestone for the manufacturing sector will be in identifying workable applications of AI in a smart manufacturing setting.”

Pursuant to Karthik Sundaram there appears to be no limit to what manufacturing can achieve with AI. “This technology will be increasingly used for production, quality control, design time and material waste reduction, and predictive maintenance performance”, he said. “We have now arrived at such a point of time where it is not very difficult to envision factories as utopian hives of automation. As cognitive technologies mature and costs drop, manufacturers will start discovering new applications of AI that will help them make complex business decisions. Even though there will be some displacement of jobs at the bottom level of automation, businesses will begin to focus on re-training these workers to perform higher levels of design, programming, or maintenance tasks.”

Karthik Sundaram regards KI as a technology that will be instrumental in steering the fourth industrial revolution by delivering better products through efficient processes. “However, even AI cannot match the ingenious approach of human minds in making decisions that arise out of creative innovation”, he mentioned. “For manufacturers, being AI capable will just be the beginning; building on the expertise is what will drive the industry towards the well-intended goals of AI.”

SPS IPC Drives: Hall 3, Booth 172