Accenture is collaborating with Mars in a venture to transform and modernise its global manufacturing operations using artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, edge technology and digital twins.
Both companies have been trialling digital twins for Mars’ manufacturing operations since late 2020. Digital twins refer to virtual representations of machines, products or processes. Using real-time data, they can predict and optimise production processes and equipment performance, from reliability to quality to energy efficiency. Applying digital twins to its manufacturing facilities will enable Mars to simulate and validate results of factory adjustments before doing so.
In one example, the companies tested a digital twin to tackle instances of over-filling packages. The digital twin gave Mars a “bird’s-eye view” of the production lines at one of its factories in Illinois. Fed with sensor data from manufacturing machinery, it was then used in a predictive analytics model which allowed operators to monitor events in real-time and adjust the filling process. After the success of this test, this solution was introduced across the US and adapted for its pet care business in Europe and China.
Under the new agreement, both companies will create a new cloud platform for its manufacturing applications, data and AI for its vision of the ‘Factory of the Future’. This platform will utilise robotics, AI and automation to make Mars’ manufacturing operations more efficient and address issues such as water stewardship and reducing waste and GHG emissions.
“Our collaboration with Accenture, combined with our partnership with Microsoft, enables us to scale digital twin technology to reach this goal, delivering not just significant cost savings and sustainability, but preparing our manufacturing operations for the future of work,” explained William Beery, Vice President and Global CIO at Mars Wrigley.
“The problems we’re solving aren’t new; what’s new is how we use advanced technologies to get real-time data into operators’ hands and apply AI to help them make decisions before problems occur,” said Simon Osborne, Managing Director at Accenture. “While many companies are beginning to experiment with digital twins, what sets this project apart is the speed and scaling of the technology across Mars’ operations globally.”
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