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Hannover tie-ups include ABB-IBM plan to apply AI

09 May, 2017

A flurry of of collaborations and tie-ups were announced at the recent Hannover Fair, including a strategic collaboration between ABB and IBM aimed at combining ABB’s Ability digital portfolio with IBM Watson’s Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities. Some of the other collabrations are listed in the table below.

ABB and IBM plan to develop technologies aimed at helping manufacturers to address challenges such as improving quality, reducing downtime, and increasing output. The technologies will use data to understand and take actions to minimise inefficient processes and redundant tasks.

“This powerful combination marks truly the next level of industrial technology, moving beyond current connected systems that simply gather data, to industrial operations and machines that use data to sense, analyse, optimise and take actions that drive greater uptime, speed and yield for industrial customers,” says ABB’s CEO, Ulrich Spiesshofer.

For example, ABB and IBM plan to use AI to help find defects using real-time production images captured by ABB systems, and then analysed by IBM Watson IoT for Manufacturing. Previously, such inspections have been done by humans, and were often slow and error-prone. Bringing Watson's real-time cognitive abilities to the shopfloor will help to increase production line capacities, while improving accuracy and consistency.

As parts flow through manufacturing processes, the technology will identify possible quality faults, not always visible to the human eye. This will allow experts to intervene rapidly.

“This important collaboration with ABB will take Watson even deeper into industrial applications – from manufacturing, to utilities, to transportation and more,” says IBM chairman, president and CEO, Ginni Rometty. “The data generated from industrial companies’ products, facilities and systems holds the promise of exponential advances in innovation, efficiency and safety. Only with Watson's broad cognitive capabilities and our platform's unique support for industries can this vast new resource be turned into value, with trust. We are eager to work in partnership with ABB on this new industrial era.”

“IBM is a leader in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing,” adds Spiesshofer. “Together, IBM and ABB will create powerful solutions for customers to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Partnerships announced and on show at Hannover Fair


Nature of collaboration


Combining ABB’s Ability digital portfolio with IBM’s Watson IoT capability to bring artificial intelligence to factory floors and utilities

Schneider Electric, Accenture

Jointly developed a virtual “Digital Services Factory” that Schneider will use to build new offerings in areas such as predictive maintenance, asset monitoring and energy optimisation.

Comau, Iconics, Microsoft

Collaboration aimed at improving production processes of industrial companies in terms of efficiency and cost of ownership

Schneider Electric, Microsoft

Aiming to accelerate the delivery of cloud-based IoT systems by marrying Microsoft’s Azure cloud with Schneider’s EcoStruxure architecture 

Kuka, SAP

Working together to promote flexibility and automation of production processes based on IoT and Industry 4.0 concepts.

Kuka, BEET Analytics Technology

Kuka will use BEET’s industrial IoT technology as part of its Industry 4.0 strategy, while strengthening BEET’s global presence

Mitsubishi Electric, SAP

Partnership under Mitsubishi’s e-F@ctory programme will allow its automation systems to work with SAP’s cloud platform and lead to new IoT based services, such as remote device and connectivity management, production and asset monitoring, and predictive maintenance.

Siemens, Adidas

Collaborating on the digital production of sporting goods, with a joint r&d programme to drive the digitisation of Adidas’ Speedfactory concept, with the goal of achieving fast, individualised production.

Industrial Internet Consortium, Platform Industrie 4.0

Hosted a joint real-time demonstration at Hannover, involving more than 20 member companies, showing the IIC’s Industrial Internet Security Framework working with Industry 4.0 security concepts.

Industrial Internet Consortium, Industrial Value Chain

Memorandum of Understanding signed between IIC and IVC (a Japanese forum for smart manufacturing) to work together to maximise interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the Industrial Internet.

Rockwell Automation, OSIsoft

Rockwell is integrating OSIsoft’s PI System into its new FactoryTalk Analytics for Devices appliance which “auto-discovers” devices on networks to conduct diagnostics and monitor their health.

GE Digital, Huawei

Jointly launched a predictive maintenance system that integrates Huawei’s edge computing IoT technology with GE’s Predix Industrial Internet cloud platform.

Toshiba, Huawei

Memorandum of Understanding signed on collaboration to integrate the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) for the development of smart factories and to accelerate the availability of NB-IoT in a wide range of industries.

Molex, Phoenix Contact, Murrelektronik, Binder

Jointly driving the standardisation of a push-pull M12 connection technology based on Molex’s Brad Ultra-Lock technology.

Harting, IBM

Working on a project to record energy consumption by injection-moulding machines, which are linked to IBM’s Watson IoT cloud via Harting’s Mica (modular Industry Computing Architecture) system. 

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