BARCELONA—Bridgestone is bucking the trend among manufacturers and getting IT and OT to work in concert, Jason Mann, VP of IoT at SAS, said at the IoT Solutions World Congress here.
Makers of tires have become “very good at evaluating quality and yield over time,” he said. But Bridgestone wanted to “squeeze that last bit of yield out of their operations”—by understanding not just the driver behind what was creating defects but also what should be done “consistently across processes, manufacturing lines and plants” to reach a higher yield.
The Japanese company chose to tightly integrate IT and OT to explore the minutia of the “very complex process, high-heat, high-pressure, process-type manufacturing it does, which then rolls directly into a discrete manufacturing process,” Mann said.
The project began about 18 months ago—with SAS’s help.
“Many of these cases start out with, ‘Let’s prove this out with a line, a plant even, and then scale past that’,” he said. “They followed a similar model.”
The combination of falling sensor prices, growing computed storage capacity, artificial intelligence initiatives and machine learning means there is “new opportunity to get outside of human capability and find some insight into drivers of defects—what drives a good quality process versus where do you find a defect in a particular line,” Mann said.
SAS, for its part, is “committed to and invested in what we refer to as ‘distributed analytics’,” he added. “So we’re going to continue to push analytics to closer to the source of data.”
To be sure, when Mann says “we,” he means SAS and tech partners, such as Cisco, GE, Intel and Siemens. “We think that an ecosystem is required to deliver persistent value in this space.”