This article was originally posted April 8, 2019.
It wasn’t too long ago that manufacturers would not consider cloud technology for fear of compromising critical production data existing outside of the factory’s four walls. Now, with so much information flowing through the digital enterprise, the cloud is the only logical place to store, analyze and manage that information.
Now that the cloud is an acceptable platform for enterprise data, the next step is to move manufacturing information to the cloud.
That’s what GE Digital announced with the launch of Predix Manufacturing Data Cloud (MDC), a purpose-built platform designed to consolidate and transform manufacturing data across plants for enterprise cloud storage and analysis. Used in concert with a traditional manufacturing execution system (MES), Predix MDC gives manufacturers operational analysis in the cloud and greater flexibility of deployment, helping reduce the size of on-premise systems to make them run more efficiently.
One of the first adopters of Predix MDC is Procter & Gamble (P&G), one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. P&G has been a long-time customer of GE Digital’s Plant Applications manufacturing execution system (MES) and is leveraging the Predix MDC capabilities by moving manufacturing data to the cloud to run analytics.
After an initial pilot phase at three P&G sites, the company is expanding use of the platform across multiple manufacturing sites. P&G has already gained a detailed, data-supported view into their manufacturing processes, providing insights that drive efficiencies across plants. Plus, the new offering is helping the CPG company meet data compliance regulations and significantly increase the speed of its on-premise MES.
According to GE Digital, Predix MDC enables the consolidation of three data sets required for process optimization and analytical applications: asset data, ERP data and manufacturing data. In addition, the cloud structure is secure-by-design and managed 24/7. It ingests incremental data automatically without having to rely on human intervention and edge technology includes monitoring and remote configuration.
“Most companies are only just scratching the surface of realizing their data’s potential. In fact, today manufacturers are losing the value of 70 percent of collected manufacturing data,” said Matt Wells, vice president of product management for GE Digital. “Predix MDC delivers the power of cloud computing to manufacturers, taking the burden of heavy compute loads out of the plant, enabling users to aggregate data from across the business and run analytics that can uncover new insights and unlock even greater efficiencies.”
According to GE Digital, Predix MDC speeds up process implementation by up to 50 percent and gives users with views into information captured at individual sites, as well as the ability to run analytics and comparisons across various locations and data types. Additionally, MDC can reduce on-premise storage and maintenance costs, freeing up computing systems to focus on core capabilities. And, by moving and storing manufacturing data in the cloud, manufacturers get an additional level of certainty around data retention for regulation compliance and auditing purposes.
“There is a bigger benefit here around innovation through digitization of operations, and how IT supports that innovation,” said Kevin Prouty, group vice president for IDC Energy and Manufacturing Insights. “IT is being told they have to be able to support, and not inhibit, innovation. An industry cloud platform like Predix MDC can become the foundation for that support. The end result is IT and operations supporting innovation through a platform that secures data and provides rational access to operational data."
Predix MDC can be used in a variety of manufacturing segments, including food and beverage, packaging, pulp and paper, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences. In addition, Predix MDC is compatible with any third-party application that supports REST APIs for data sourcing, user interface, visualization, analytics and reporting. General availability is expected in Q2 2019.