The New MESA Smart Manufacturing Model

Jan. 27, 2023
A fourth industrial revolution is being created and MESA International is developing a new Smart Manufacturing Model that will cut through the hype and the fluff of smart technology to provide a simple, easy-to-use model.

The world of manufacturing is undergoing a significant step change. Terms like Smart Manufacturing, Digital Transformation, and Industry 4.0 are top of mind for many manufacturing executives. There’s lots of new technologies coming together to create artificial intelligence solutions, digital twins, digital threads, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), augmented and virtual reality systems, and a whole lot more. This smart technology, along with a lot of smart people, are creating the fourth industrial revolution and driving economic growth through manufacturing.

With all this technology coming together, everyone seems to be looking at it from their own points of view. This means there’s a good bit of confusion out there with practitioners not sure about how all this technology fits together or how it really achieves the benefits everyone claims.

MESA International, the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association, is developing a new Smart Manufacturing Model that will cut through the hype and the fluff to provide a simple, easy-to-use model for Smart Manufacturing.

There’s no doubt we’re in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, but the size and the impact of it are still up to us. That’s why MESA is building this new model, to add even more power to the revolution and ensure that its impact is global, substantial, and long-lasting.

A model is typically defined as an abstract definition of something that exists in the real world. But a model needs structures to work. MESA has decided that the highest-level structure in its new model will be the lifecycle.

This term was chosen because everything has a lifecycle. Each lifecycle will have multiple functions defined within it that, when combined, will provide manufacturers with the complete solutions they need for their businesses.

To make this Smart Manufacturing model applicable to real-world situations, MESA is also modeling the interactions between the various lifecycles and detailing the technology threads that span across the lifecycles. In the new model, these threads are referred to as “cross-lifecycle threads” and “enabling technologies.”

MESA intends for the model to be used by virtually everyone in the industrial space. The new Smart Manufacturing model will break the landscape into manageable pieces so that everyone can understand the components and will speak a common language. As such, the Smart Manufacturing model will serve both as a reference model and as a pr escriptive model.

By detailing the individual pieces and their interactions, it will provide everyone that uses the model with the common points of view necessary to understand and communicate about the entire Smart Manufacturing landscape. This will help industry better evaluate technologies to ultimately determine how well they fit their own businesses.

Here’s a list of the lifecycles and technologies addressed by the model:

  • Lifecycles—production, production asset, product, supply chain, workforce, order-to-cash.
  • Cross-lifecycle threads—quality, compliance, energy, analytics, security, digitial twin/digital thread, modeling/simulation.
  • Enabling technologies—IIoT, Big Data, artificial intelligence/machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, edge to cloud, blockchain, additive manufacturing, robotics, and wireless. Whether it’s technology suppliers, manufacturers, analysts, or engineering companies, everyone using the model will have a common language and understanding of the Smart Manufacturing landscape.

This really is a great time to be in manufacturing with many new technologies and business models developing. That’s why there’s excitement about manufacturing from the C-suite on down like we’ve never seen before.

The new MESA Smart Manufacturing model is looking to build on this excitement. It will help point the way to the future and give everyone a framework for truly understanding the value of Smart Manufacturing.