McKinsey: artificial intelligence in heavy asset production

McKinsey | April 17, 2020

Dating back to the mid-1950s, the concept of artificial intelligence was ahead of its time for many years, being shelved as an interesting idea. Today, the concept of AI has become commonplace in the business world, even manufacturers with heavy assets are launching projects to determine if and how AI can benefit their operations. However, McKinsey highlights that while AI technologies have made tangible improvements to supply chains and administrative functions, they have so far had scant presence in production-which is interesting, given that cement plants were early adopters of automation and control systems and have used digitized sensors and signals for decades. For many years, companies have been digitalising their systems to improve visualisation for operators, however most with heavy assets have not kept up with the latest advances in analytics and in decision-support solutions that apply AI, says McKinsey, with operators still relying on their experience, intuition, and judgment. As a result, many operators take shortcuts and prioritise urgent activities that don’t necessarily add value.


Over the last decade, an explosion of new technologies has created new winners and losers in nearly every product space. New products for transport, communications, medical care, home, and business activities have given rise to swift and disruptive changes in the marketplace. Technology in this context refers to any discovery involving materials, design, use, and cost of an end product or solution, for example, new adaptive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing. For the purposes of this paper, technology also includes the use of services from connected products. In the span of three or four years, new technologies have emerged in mobile device manufacturing, medical devices, materials for air transport.

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Oizom launches AQBot, a smart, affordable Industrial air quality monitor

Oizom | March 17, 2022

The comprehensive, industrial-grade air quality monitoring device comes in 14 variants and helps detect a wide range of air pollutants and particulate matter providing real-time actionable insights for diverse industrial needs. Ahmedabad-based environment monitoring technology solutions provider, Oizom, launched its recent innovation – AQBot – an industrial-grade, single-parameter air quality monitoring device. The compact, light-weight, feature-rich device empowers industries & consultants with a smart monitor for specific and target pollutants. AQBot was launched recently during a webinar attended by at least 250 people across 30 countries. The industrial-grade single-parameter air quality monitor provides trustworthy data in real-time for actionable insights for safety to the plant managers and helps initiate prompt action in advanced industrial set-ups. AQBot is available in 14 variants which help detect a wide range of air pollutants such as SO2, NO2, NO, TVOC, among others in addition to particulate matter like PM1, PM2.5, PM10, PM100 and noise. Equipped with a quad-core ARM Cortex A-72 processor that enables it to handle multiple processes simultaneously, AQBot comes with 2GB RAM with 8 GB eMMC ROM that allows industries to store air quality data for 12 months in case of network connectivity disruptions. Commenting on the development of AQBot, Mr Vyas, CEO, Oizom, said, "Industrial air quality monitoring systems are required to be compatible with different communication protocols be it MODBUS, CANBus, RS-485, RS-232 in addition to wireless communications like GSM, WiFi, LoRa, among others, which can be used to provide insights about industrial air quality. Unlike most other air quality monitoring solutions, Oizom's AQBot is communication-agnostic and resolves bottlenecks of existing solutions with greater efficiency. To avail prompt actionable information, users can also rely on an on-device display powered by web-based user-friendly software." AQBot has wide-ranging applications such as Environment Health and Safety (EHS) monitoring, Indoor Air Monitoring (Industries), Process-control and Leak Detection, among others, making it an ideal choice for a variety of industries. AQBot can effectively be used as a comprehensive air quality monitoring system for Paper & Pulp Industries, Textile Industries, Leather Industries, Fisheries, Cement Manufacturing Industries, Thermal Power Plants, Food & Beverages Industry, Mining Industries, Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP), Meat Processing Plants, and Dairy Industry, among others. "At Oizom, we aim to change the way industries monitor air quality in and around their premises by incorporating industry 4.0 capabilities. Our recent breakthrough, AQBot, which has been developed after extensive research and development, has minimum dependence on the manufacturer once deployed. It is a comprehensive air quality monitoring system that offers accurate data with automation capabilities that helps suits the Industry 4.0 requirements," Mr Vyas In fact, to scale up air quality monitoring requirements and get a macro-picture, AQBot can also be integrated with multiple AQBots installed at strategic locations in a simple, cost-effective manner. Oizom is currently building a local network of distributors across the globe to let its innovative products reach every corner of the world. Other Oizom products include Polludrone - Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System, Odosense - Odour Monitoring System, Dustroid- Ambient Dust Monitor, Weathercom - Automatic Weather Station and Envizom - Data visualization & analytics software, among others. About Oizom: Oizom is a Smart Air Quality Monitoring solutions company offering data-driven environmental solutions for better decision making. Using our sensor-based hardware, we monitor various environmental parameters related to air quality, noise, odour, weather, radiation. Oizom has deployed more than 1000 monitors across 47 countries.

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Hibiki-Seiki and Optima Manufacturing enter Strategic Partnership to Supply North American Aerospace Industry

Hibiki | March 23, 2022

Japan-based Hibiki-Seiki and Alberta-based Optima Manufacturing (Optima), with support from the Invest Alberta Corporation (IAC) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership to jointly manufacture and supply high-precision machining and components for the North American Aerospace Industry. This partnership is expected to generate $5 million in new business for the partners and create 10 new high-skilled jobs in Alberta over the next year with up to 50 new jobs between the two companies within the next five years. “Thanks to the support of JETRO and IAC, we identified Optima Manufacturing as the ideal strategic partner for us to establish our initial entry into the North American market and leverage both complementary manufacturing capacities to rapidly expand our collective business and capture new opportunities across the global value chain,” said Isao Matsuyama, Vice President, Hibiki-Seiki. "This partnership will allow us to fill a major gap in the global supply chain of semi-conductors and meet the growing demand for specialized parts in North America’s rapidly expanding aerospace and satellite industry.” Based in Yamaguchi, Japan since 1967 with a team of 107 employees, JISQ9100 certified Hibiki-Seiki specializes in reducing the weight of complex parts and components for the global semiconductor manufacturing equipment and satellite industry through its unique combination of turning technology and machining centers for thin precision metal cutting. The partnership between Optima and Hibiki-Seiki will benefit a variety of industries on a global scale by alleviating current supply chain issues of precision components while unlocking new opportunities for expansion. Following the successful rollout of this initial partnership, Hibiki-Seiki is considering expanding its investment in Alberta by establishing a physical presence with additional equipment and human resources working alongside the Optima team at its Calgary-based headquarters. "We are elated about this partnership with Hibiki-Seiki, and to expand our global reach, Optima has been growing its global customer-base with clients throughout Japan, Europe, and other international markets. This partnership means we can take on new business opportunities at an accelerated pace by leveraging our combined manufacturing capacity and expertise. What’s more, is that it places us in an optimal position to generate new jobs back home in Alberta. We truly appreciate the support of Invest Alberta and JETRO in making this connection to Alberta’s supply chain and manufacturing advantage.” Duane Hertzer, President, Optima Manufacturing Optima is one of Western Canada’s most diversified precision machining facilities. A Calgary-based corporation, it has been ISO-9001 certified since 2005 and specializes in the machining, assembly and kitting of small-to-medium-sized precision components for a globally diverse market of international Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). Optima’s team is currently comprised of 52 associates and its global industry market portfolio includes energy, transportation, aerospace and process control. This is spread between markets in North America, Asia, Europe, and South America. "We are pleased to collaborate with Invest Alberta and Optima Manufacturing to Hibiki-Seiki’s entry into the North American market,” said Kimiya Nakao, Business Development Partner, JETRO. "We intend to continuously support Hibiki-Seiki and other Japanese companies by helping introduce high-end Japanese technologies and promoting investment into new international markets.” “This partnership between Hibiki-Seiki and Optima is a perfect example of how Alberta’s economy is being further diversified,” said Honourable Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. "Their collaboration in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors presents new opportunities for Albertans. Our province is a destination of choice for business and I look forward to seeing more from Hibiki-Seiki and Optima in the future.” “Alberta is strategically positioned to be a leading destination for manufacturing and aerospace companies. We’re excited to work with top-tier partners from Japan to support new technologies that are in demand from global industries, creating new investment, opportunities, and jobs in Alberta,” said Rick Christiaanse, CEO, Invest Alberta Corporation. About Hibiki-Seiki Founded in 1967 with its headquarters in Yamaguchi, Japan, Hibiki-Seiki is a second-generation family-owned machining and manufacturing company specializing in the production of semi-conductors and satellites for the global aerospace industry. For more information, visit About Optima Manufacturing Established in 1990, Optima Manufacturing is a Calgary, Alberta-based family-owned business dedicated to providing the highest quality state-of-the-art close-tolerance machining and precision assembly services. Our parts are used in a variety of industries, including Aerospace, Oil and Gas, Environmental Control, Agriculture and Telecommunications. About Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) JETRO, or the Japan External Trade Organization, is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO's core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential. About the Invest Alberta Corporation The Invest Alberta Corporation is dedicated to investment attraction, with a mandate to engage the world and provide high-end tailored support to companies, investors, and major new projects. Alberta, Canada has the lowest corporate payroll and sales taxes; the youngest and highly educated workforce in Canada, and the most livable and affordable cities. Invest Alberta works to break down barriers so investors and businesses can start up, scale up, and succeed without limits.

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Lion Equity Partners Completes Acquisition of Elkhart Tri-Went Industrial

Lion Equity | February 07, 2022

Lion Equity Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm specializing in corporate carve-outs, announced that its affiliate, Lion Equity Holdings II, LLC, acquired Elkhart Tri-Went Industrial (“ETI”) from Aalberts N.V., a Netherlands-based manufacturer of mission critical technologies.ETI is a manufacturer of complex extruded aluminum components and fabricated copper tube products serving OEM customers in the automotive, air conditioning & refrigeration, water systems and industrial markets. ETI leverages proprietary techniques and processes to create high quality products cost-effectively. The company is headquartered in Geneva, IN with additional manufacturing facilities in Knoxville, TN and Ajax, ON, Canada. “Through its exceptional customer service, high quality products and talented employee base, ETI has distinguished itself as a trusted partner to bring complex, industrial solutions to the OEM market, ETI’s design expertise and FormCastTM proprietary manufacturing capabilities are key differentiators and provide a strong foundation for future growth, both organically and through strategic add-on acquisitions.” -Ari Silverman, Co-Founder and Partner of Lion Equity Partners. Joe Headdy, President of ETI, said What an amazing time for Elkhart Tri-Went Industrial, our partners, employees, and communities. This investment by Lion Equity is validation that our workforce, technical capabilities and product offerings are truly valued in the OEM market. We look forward to better serving our customers, employees, and stakeholders through targeted investments in capital equipment, growing the workforce, and positioning ETI to thrive in the markets we serve. ETI is excited about this opportunity as we celebrate the rich history of our company and the bright future ahead of us. About Lion Equity Partners: Headquartered in Denver, CO, Lion Equity Partners is an operations-focused private equity firm specializing in corporate divestitures and special situations. Our investment strategy is centered on creating value in our portfolio companies through a combination of operational improvements, organic growth, and strategic add-on acquisitions. The firm leverages its strategic, financial, and operational expertise to build businesses that will create long-term value for all stakeholders.

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Blackline Safety Enhances Manufacturing Capacity to Meet Anticipated Demand in 2022

Blackline Safety | January 12, 2022

Blackline Safety Corp. (TSX: BLN), a global leader in connected safety technology with a hardware-enabled software-as-a-service (HeSaaS) business model, announced it brought on additional Surface Mount Technology (SMT) to its in-house production line in anticipation of strong customer demand for the company’s products in 2022.The $2 million investment over the last three years will enhance manufacturing horsepower as the company gears up for high volume production of G6, its entry-level single-gas wearable safety device, launching this year. This investment, along with capacity on the current line, should allow the company to double its hardware production in the year. “With SMT we build on our already robust manufacturing technology and facility alongside additional flexibility to quickly respond to increased demand—all while maintaining product excellence,” -Kevin Meyers, Blackline Safety Chief Operating Officer. Having SMT to place components on a printed circuit board line allows us not only to produce units more quickly and with greater precision, it’s also a layer of much tighter control of our manufacturing process. Before purchasing the technology, lead times with the company’s contract manufacturer were as high as five weeks. By bringing SMT in-house, assembly and ship times have been reduced to 24-48 hours. It’s also proven to be more cost-effective, with Blackline realizing payback on the equipment in just 10 months. Since we’ve been building product with SMT in-house, we’ve seen our hardware sales volume grow by 350%. In addition, our quality levels have been exceptional, programming and job set-ups are easy, and our team has been able to rapidly develop and deploy new products, added Meyers. Because of the vital safety aspect of our products, they simply can’t fail — exceptional manufacturing quality and in-field reliability are non-negotiable. About Blackline Safety Blackline Safety is a global connected safety leader that helps to ensure every worker gets their job done and returns home safely each day. Blackline provides wearable safety technology, personal and area gas monitoring, cloud-connected software and data analytics to meet demanding safety challenges and increase productivity of organizations with coverage in more than 100 countries. Blackline Safety wearables provide a lifeline to tens of thousands of men and women, having reported over 165 billion data-points and initiated over five million emergency responses. Armed with cellular and satellite connectivity, we ensure that help is never too far away. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Over the last decade, an explosion of new technologies has created new winners and losers in nearly every product space. New products for transport, communications, medical care, home, and business activities have given rise to swift and disruptive changes in the marketplace. Technology in this context refers to any discovery involving materials, design, use, and cost of an end product or solution, for example, new adaptive manufacturing processes such as 3D printing. For the purposes of this paper, technology also includes the use of services from connected products. In the span of three or four years, new technologies have emerged in mobile device manufacturing, medical devices, materials for air transport.