Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the digitalization of manufacturing has only been discussed in earnest for the past five years or so. With all the surrounding technological developments—from the Internet of Things to virtualization to augmented reality to edge computing—it seems like we’ve been talking about this for much longer. But most of the developments have really just come to the forefront in industry over the last three to four years.
What’s still missing are multiple reference points of digital implementations in industry. Although real-world examples have been popping up more regularly, they’ve been slow in coming—which is hardly surprising given the relative newness of the application concepts and some of the supporting technologies.
One of the more recent real-world examples that can now be referenced is automotive supplier Faurecia’s new $64 million, data-driven manufacturing facility in Columbus, Ind. The 400,000 sq ft facility, known as Columbus South, employs 450 people and produces a new, high-tech emissions control product for the commercial vehicle industry.
“This facility represents our entry into Industry 4.0, a revolutionary concept incorporating connectivity, automation, data processing and hardware to advance the manufacturing industry,” said Mike Galarno, plant manager of Columbus South. “We are proud to be the first plant to incorporate many of these leading technologies under one roof to create efficient systems and an innovative working experience for employees.”