In a column published earlier this year, I wrote that I expected 2017 to be a breakout year for Industry 4.0 or IoM (the “Internet of Manufacturing”), citing several key new technologies as enablers. One of those enabling technologies is VR (Virtual Reality), and at the Hannover Messe fair this week, along with our partner Microsoft, Radius Innovation & Development teamed with our sister company Nypro Healthcare, to demonstrate how we are using VR throughout the entire product lifecycle of a Medical Device, from idea through to completed product. We’ve been excited to share our progress of this initiative, and have sprinkled information out there since the day we received our four new Microsoft Hololens headsets. Now we are ready to share our story and our use of Microsoft’s incredible collaboration tools during product design and product development.
But first some context on Hannover Messe, for those that aren’t as familiar with it.
Hannover Messe put on by Deutsche Messe AG, is the world’s largest industrial fair, set to attract 250,000 people with more than 6,500 exhibitors this year, in Hannover, Germany. All key technologies and core areas of industry – from research and development, industrial automation, IT, industrial supply, production technologies and services to energy and mobility technologies – can be found in Hannover. The theme this year, is all about ‘Integrating Industry’. Some of you may recall, that Hannover was one of the first places to debate the principles of Industry 4.0 and it continues to be a hub for conversation and innovation related to industrial manufacturing techniques, bringing science, politics, technology and business together in one place. To say this show is exciting is an understatement! New partnerships are formed, exciting advancements in technology are shaped and announced, and provocative conversations can be heard everywhere!
Now back to our presence at the show:
The world we live in is becoming ‘augmented’ and the way we interact with it is changing rapidly. The days of simply using, or even programming, tools to complete a task are over and we are now in an age where we fully interact with our tools to achieve our objectives. This is true not just in terms of VR, but also in the way we work with automation, robotics and artificial intelligence. All topics that will feature heavily during this week in Hannover.
This is Jabil’s second year at Hannover with technology partner Microsoft. Last year we presented our use of Microsoft Azure Predictive Analytics and the positive impacts the technology had in two of our major plants from an efficiency and customer experience standpoint.
This year, Radius Innovation & Development and Nypro Healthcare — all part of the Jabil family, teamed together on a project using Microsoft HoloLens. The interactive demo shown at the Microsoft booth shows how IoT-enabled product design is already improving the healthcare industry by giving providers a better way to design infusion devices, which doctors rely on to administer doses of vital fluids like nutrients and medications to patients. Radius and Nypro have been in the Infusion business for over 20 years, and have helped large healthcare companies innovate these pumps to ensure the patient experience is continually optimised. So, when we saw an opportunity to improve, collaborate and accelerate the design and development of these important medical devices, using design software on Microsoft Surface Studio, the visualisation capabilities of Microsoft HoloLens, and 3D Printing capabilities all together, we pounced.
Holograms and 3D capabilities allow product manipulation and accelerate group collaboration and design iteration/refinement prior to a product’s introduction on the factory floor, which means we can get it exactly right before production. In other words, we can truly “design for manufacturability” and do it across disparate development teams both on the design front, and the production front. And anyone who knows manufacturing knows that this is the single greatest area of error and risk, i.e. going from prototype to production. When Radius and Nypro get tighter during this process, it creates differentiation for us and value for our customers. And for this, we are grateful to our partner Microsoft for all the collaboration tools they provide us: Office365 to SharePoint, to more recently, Hololens.
This project is a great example of the benefits delivered by the augmented age and how humans and machines working collaboratively can achieve amazing results. Design is one element that has been impacted by the augmented age, but there are much more. As we develop tools that leverage the unique skills and experience of our team and the latest technological advances we can achieve faster and better design, greater manufacturing efficiency and agility and even better supply chain management and visibility.
At Radius Innovation & Development and Nypro Healthcare, we find ourselves in the privileged position of having tens of thousands of highly skilled and experienced people, who are embracing the use of the very latest technology to deliver their insight and knowledge (faster) to a growing number of brands and in turn to their demanding and ever more connected consumers. We help some of the biggest and newest brands REALIZE INNOVATION on a daily basis, and it’s the most gratifying work you can imagine.
Visit us in the Microsoft booth (Hall 7) of the Hannover Fair from April 24th to 28th and chat to the team about our vision of the augmented age, rapid innovation and manufacturing agility.