As Industry 4.0 continues to send ripples throughout the sector, one can struggle to think of a time when the world wasn’t evolving as quickly as the technology that supports it. Therefore, could we apply rational thought to product refinement and use the fundamental principles of natural selection to evolve our technology?
GE Grid Solutions have begun work on such a concept that combines code with natural selection to build better products with better processes. Based in Clearwater, Florida, GE’s new plant is just one of several factories that are connected to Predix, a purpose-built cloud-based OS. Combining status updates from RFID tags and environmental data collected by sensors, Predix can essentially predict whether a finished capacitor will pass final testing. If not, this insight can help engineers fix the capacity before it becomes too expensive. This data is then stored and analysed for future study which can essentially lead to factory-wide improvements.
Quality assurance has long been used to refine and eliminate defective products. Today, this process can be managed by software to help us understand and recreate the conditions for optimum product creation, thereby reducing defective cases and their associated costs. We can also go above and beyond this to reverse engineer the conditions that yield those products that perform better during testing.
This is just one example of how IIoT solutions can not only improve product quality but operational effectiveness. Using this technology can help us to eliminate the components that are negatively impacting product integrity and focus on those that help us to create better products in smarter ways. Whilst it isn’t naturally occurring, at least not by our understanding, Digital Darwinism gives control to the human element, granting us the power to govern how our technology grows over time.
As productivity improves, GE estimates that the industrial internet could add $15 trillion to global GDP over the next 20 years. With the latest systems from Advantech, B+B and Dell OEM, our IIoT solutions can help prepare your organisation for the future of manufacturing and automation.