Japan creates alliance to promote IoT in factories

Guy Daniels
By Guy Daniels

Jul 26, 2017

© Flickr/cc-licence/Martin Howard

© Flickr/cc-licence/Martin Howard

  • Formation of the Flexible Factory Partner Alliance
  • To create a stable environment for co-existing wireless technologies
  • Development of new standards and specifications
  • Meet the rising expectations of IoT in the manufacturing sector

A group of seven Japanese companies and research institutions have cooperated to form the Flexible Factory Partner Alliance, to be chaired by Professor Andreas Dengel of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Vendors NEC, Fujitsu, Omron, Sanritz Automation and Murata Machinery have joined with the Kyoto-based Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute and the Tokyo-based National Institute of Information and Communications Technology to promote new standards for coordination control technology.

The partners says this will work to ensure stable communications in an environment where various wireless systems coexist, as well as to promote their use and further accelerate the adoption of wireless systems in manufacturing facilities, thereby spreading use of IoT in the manufacturing industry.

Whilst there has been an increasing trend of manufacturing facilities deploying wireless communications on a trial basis, leading often to full implementation, the partners say that many factories deploy various wireless systems that have to coexist, resulting in interference between wireless systems. This obviously has a negative impact on equipment and process operations.

To find solutions the partners say they have been conducting trials of wireless communications and evaluating the wireless environment in factory environments. They already have proposals for coordination control technology that provide the necessary stability, controlling independent wireless systems for each piece of equipment, with specific use cases in actual manufacturing facilities.

With the formation of the Flexible Factory Partner Alliance, they can now promote the formulation of standards for coordination control technology. The partners intend to work towards meeting the increasingly high expectations for the new “Industrie 4.0” and the accompanying widespread use of IoT in manufacturing plants.

The alliance says it intends to develop specifications relating to the technology to stabilise various wireless systems with coordination control. It will pursue various activities to standardise these specifications and to promote the application of wireless communications in manufacturing factories

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