Starter packs for smarter industry

Article · 2018-11-29

Many industrial companies are grappling with the same issues: How can we utilise collected data in order to streamline our production? How do we maintain the machines in the best possible way? Using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to work proactively, is a step in the right direction.

Preventive maintenance, photo from photo agency.

We met with Robert Majanen, CEO of Automation Region’s affiliated company Roima Sverige AB and initiator of the Vinnova-funded project “Introductory package for artificial intelligence and machine learning for industrial applications”. The purpose of the initiative is to educate the industry on AI and ML and help companies to implement these technologies in their operations.

“What we are doing is right on time”, says Robert Majanen. AI and ML are used everywhere in society, but there are actually few within the industry that have begun looking at it. The knowledge dissemination project that Roima and Automation Region are running is one of the first Swedish initiatives to bring this type of technology into the industry.

An example of an area where AI and ML can be of great use is preventative maintenance. With knowledge based on collected data from specific machines and individual components, maintenance can be streamlined and planned in a better way – proactively instead of reactively.

“There is a keen interest in AI and ML and how these technologies can be used within the industry”, says Robert Majanen. “Some of our participants were already familiar with AI and ML, while others are starting from square one. Regardless of prior knowledge, interest is great and many are enthusiastic about the opportunities offered.”

Automation Region’s role has been to contribute with knowledge, networking and contacts, which has made it possible to find companies that wish to participate in the project. Through the project, ten Swedish companies within the manufacturing industry have been given the opportunity to train their organisation in AI and ML. Among the participants are Epiroc, GKN, Komatsu Forest, Volvo and Westinghouse.

“We know that AI and ML will play a major role in future production development and automation, but we generally feel that there are too few of us involved who have basic skills in the field. Therefore, we took Roima’s offer to participate in the training. We received an open invitation and a total of sixty of our employees participated,” says Max Piilonen from Epiroc.

Roima visits the participating companies and arranges a day of lectures aimed at all employees within the organisation. This is followed up by a workshop, where the purpose is to identify possible applications of AI and ML, based on the respective actor’s prerequisites. The companies then receive feedback in the form of a report with recommendations regarding the next step.

“The training has given us the tools to devise new, smarter solutions instead of focusing on the traditional methods. We have developed a number of prototypes and are now working to ensure data quality for future needs,” says Max Piilonen.

The project is ongoing and the results will be presented at the end of the year. Please contact Robert Majanen for more information!