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Sustainability at Scale: 18 New Factories of the Future Drive Impact in the 4IR

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The World Economic Forumwelcomes 18 new factories to its Global Lighthouse Network of advanced manufacturers that are showing leadership in applying the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to drive operational and environmental impact.

Now with 44 factories, the network, established in 2018, serves as a platform to develop, replicate and scale up innovations, creating opportunities for cross-company learning and collaboration and for setting new benchmarks for the global manufacturing community. The goal of this community is to share and learn from best practices, support new partnerships and help other manufacturers deploy technology, adopt sustainable practices and transform their workforces. A new white paper, “Global Lighthouse Network: Insights from the Forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” published today, outlines some of the main findings and impacts.

The 18 new factories bring increased diversity to the network, with new countries, including Brazil, Japan and Singapore, as well as new industries, including semiconductors and agricultural equipment. Almost one-half of the new lighthouses are end-to-end factories, driving value outside the four walls of the factory to effect change throughout their value chains.

The new lighthouses are:

Asia

Baoshan Iron & Steel (Shanghai, China): This 40-year-old factory adopted digitization early. Its extensive implementation of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics has allowed it to maintain its industrial competitiveness in the digital era, creating value of $50 million.

Foton Cummins (Beijing, China): Foton Cummins has self-deployed internet of things and artificial intelligence throughout its end-to-end product life cycle in its design, production and after service. By doing so, it has improved product quality and customer satisfaction by 40%.

GE Healthcare (Hino, Japan): This GE factory, with more than 30 years’ experience of lean manufacturing, used Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to transform into digital lean manufacturing. This has resulted in achieving the next level of performance, for example, cutting costs by 30% and reducing cycle times by 46%.

Haier (Shenyang, China): The Haier Shenyang refrigerator factory is an example of a user-centric mass customization model. Achieved by deploying a scalable digital platform that connects end-to-end with suppliers and users, it has improved direct labour productivity by 28%.

Hitachi (Hitachi, Japan): By leveraging a range of industrial internet of things technologies and data analytics in engineering, production and maintenance operations, Hitachi Omika Works has reduced the lead time of core products by 50% without undermining quality.

Infineon (Singapore): Enabled by a digital backbone and people development, Infineon has used data, advanced analytics and automation in its manufacturing plant and supply chain network to reduce direct labour costs by 30% and improve capital efficiency by 15%.

Johnson & Johnson DePuy Synthes (Suzhou, China): This site has scaled up standardized digital solutions developed in other Johnson & Johnson sites to drive performance improvements, including increasing productivity by 15%.

Micron (Singapore): This semiconductor fabrication facility has integrated big data infrastructure and industrial internet of things to implement artificial intelligence and data science solutions, raising product quality standards and doubling the speed at which new products are ramped.

Procter & Gamble (Taicang, China): This young site leveraged Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to build the first lights-off operation in P&G Asia and connect its E2E supply chain. It increased productivity by 2.5x, boosted its production agility enabling e-commerce growth and improved employee satisfaction.

Weichai (Weifang, China): Weichai digitally transformed its entire end-to-end value chain to accurately understand customer needs and reduce costs. Powered by artificial intelligence and internet of vehicles, it shortened its R&D cycle by 20% and improved operating costs by 35%.

Europe

AGCO (Marktoberdorf, Germany): By combining digital solutions with intelligent line design, AGCO/Fendt can manufacture nine series of tractors – ranging from 72 to 500 horsepower – on a single assembly line with a batch size of one. This has increased productivity by 24% and reduced cycle time by 60%.

GSK (Ware, UK): This pharmaceutical site has applied Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies throughout its manufacturing operation, exploiting advanced analytics and neural networks to use existing datasets. It has improved line speed by 21%, reduced downtime and increased yield, delivering an overall equipment effectiveness improvement of 10%.

Henkel (Düsseldorf, Germany): Henkel has developed a cloud-based data platform that connects more than 30 sites and more than 10 distribution centres in real time. This helps meet growing customer and consumer expectations on service and sustainability, while achieving double-digit cost and inventory reductions.

Latin America

Groupe Renault (Curitiba, Brazil): Renault Curitiba approached Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies with a focus on improving employee accountability and E2E connectivity, engaging its workforce and developing a connected ecosystem throughout value-chain players including dealers, customers and workers. Results include improving its productivity by 18%, without major capital deployment.

MODEC (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil): Leveraging advanced analytics for predictive maintenance, a digital twin of its process plant, and a proprietary data platform to accelerate development and enable the exponential scale-up of new algorithms across oil production vessels, this offshore facility has reduced downtime by 65%.

Middle East

Petkim (Izmir, Turkey): This 35-year-old petrochemical facility embarked on a digital journey to drive value creation. Self-developed artificial intelligence algorithms optimize process and product pricing by analysing billions of production scenarios, resulting in an earnings before interest and taxes improvement of more than 20%.

Unilever (Dubai, UAE): In a drive to improve cost competitiveness, a local entrepreneurial team established a factory data lake and developed and deployed at scale Fourth Industrial Revolution use cases. With limited investment and in a short period of time it achieved a cost reduction of more than 25%.

North America

Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (Jacksonville, USA): Vision Care has digitally connected its value chain end-to-end from suppliers to consumers, as well as implementing reconfigurable manufacturing, to achieve double-digit cost reduction and sales growth.

Shared Learning Journey

“Not only does the Global Lighthouse Network celebrate leaders and best practices in effective technological deployment, but more important, it also creates a shared learning journey for the industry to accelerate the transition to the future of manufacturing,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Production, World Economic Forum. “This transition must focus on sustainability and efforts dedicated to reskilling and empowering people.”

The Global Lighthouse Network is managed in collaboration with McKinsey & Company.

“The 44 lighthouses are trailblazers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Manufacturing is often the starting point for innovating a new, company-wide operating system powered by the latest technology to achieve new levels of sustainability, agility, speed-to-market, and productivity. The value doesn’t stop at the factory door: instead, lighthouses find impact across the entire end-to-end value chain, from suppliers through to customers. This year, we believe the Global Lighthouse Network has found the secret sauce to overcome pilot purgatory and generate impact at scale. Moreover, by now the frontrunners have two to three years’ head start compared to their peers. That should set off alarm bells for all manufacturers that are still busy trying to prove technology’s value instead of using technology to change the way they work,” said Enno de Boer, Partner and Head of McKinsey & Company’s Global Manufacturing Practice.

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Standards & Digital Transformation – Good Governance in a Digital Age

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In celebration of World Standards Day 2021, celebrated on 14 October every year, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is pleased to announce the launch of a brochure, “Standards and Digital Transformation: Good Governance in the Digital Age”.

In the spirit of this year’s World Standards Day theme “Shared Vision for a Better World”, the brochure provides insights into the key drivers of the digital transformation and its implications for sustainable development, particularly people, prosperity and planet. Noting the rapid pace of change of the digital transformation, with the COVID-19 pandemic serving as an unanticipated accelerator, the brochure highlights the role of standards in digital transformation governance. It further considers the principles necessary for guiding the collaborative development of standards in the digital technology landscape to ensure that the technologies remain human-centered and aligned to the goals of sustainability.

This year’s World Standards Day theme highlights the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) representing a shared vision for peace and prosperity, for people and planet. Every SDG is a call for action, but we can only get there if we work together, and international standards offer practical solutions we can all stand behind.

This brochure is a summary of a publication set to be released in November 2021.

Download it here.

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AutoFlight presents V1500M – an autonomous passenger eVTOL aircraft

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Shaping the future of urban air mobility: The tech company AutoFlight shows an autonomous passenger eVTOL aircraft: the V1500M. It will change the face of personal air transportation. AutoFlight debuted its autonomous fixed-wing passenger electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (“eVTOL”) to the world at the China Airshow in Zhuhai.

With its sleek looks and innovative technology the V1500M doesn’t rely on runways and airports. It can vertically take-off and land anywhere anytime. Virtually any rooftop or flat surface becomes a vertiport. When it reaches a certain altitude, the power system turns on the dual prop pusher, so that V1500M is able to cruise at speeds of a fixed-wing airplane. And in low-altitude airspace, the all-electric design enables the aircraft to operate at a very low noise level. 

As the energy consumption in the fixed wing mode is much lower than in the multirotor mode the V1500M can fly much further than any pure multicoptor eVTOL.

Being able to fly without a pilot, the V1500M’s uses eight lifting motors to take off and land vertically like a multi-rotor aircraft, and fly as far as 250 km when carrying up to four passengers. At the moment, a safety pilot is still mandatory. Yet as technology advances and regulations become increasingly refined, that space can later be allocated to another passenger or extra luggage. 

“The V1500M is a milestone – not only for AutoFlight but also for the global development of the urban air mobility“, so Tian Yu, founder and CEO of AutoFlight. “Our company is committed to developing safe and reliable passenger eVTOL aircraft and helping to create a better mobility future.”

In terms of safety, AutoFlight with its rich experience in aircraft design, manufacturing and its dedication to make reliable flying cars, following aviation industry’s standards. The lifting rotor’s and prop pusher’s redundant power system guarantees that the aircraft could hover safely when two of the rotors malfunction. In case of one propeller failure, the other still ensures safe flight and landing. The V1500M also has an whole-aircraft parachute, which is designed to act as the last line of safety to protect passengers so they enjoy safe flying.

V1500M will accomplish its first flight in the near future. The goal is to certify the aircraft with the aviation authorities by 2024.

Tian Yu: “AutoFlight will keep contributing to the eVTOL industry. Through building safe, efficient, systematic R&D and AC processes, leveraging domestic and international resources and establishing partnerships across industries, AutoFlight strives to accelerate the practical implementation of eVTOLs in commercial applications and lead us into a better future with UAM.”  

With its tradition and the experience, AutoFlight aims to create cost-effective, safe, and reliable eVTOL

AutoFlight is one of the earliest tech companies in China to start making autonomous eVTOL, including large payload logistic and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Logistic UAVs were introduced first. They have now accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time and been tested in all kinds of extreme conditions.

AutoFlight owns proprietary intellectual property rights in key technologies such as flight control systems, electrical systems or other core components. They have obtained over 200 domestic and international patents for its self-developed modules including highly efficient electric motors, electronic control systems, and durable lightweight carbon-fiber composite materials. 

“Following our cargo-to-passenger-strategy we go ahead step-by-step but very straight forward“, says Tian Yu. 

V1500M’s Key Specifications
Aircraft length10.3 m
Wingspan12.8 m
Fuselage height3.1 m
Maximum take-off weight (MTOW)1500 kg
Typical seating 3 – 4 
Cruise speed200 km/h
Flight range (fully seated)250 km

About AutoFlight

AutoFlight is a global high-tech startup, born in China, specializing in developing and manufacturing autonomous aerial vehicles. AutoFlight’s mission is to provide safe and reliable aerial logistic systems and urban air mobility solutions for human society. By leveraging new technologies in aviation, new material, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, and 5G, AutoFlight actively drives development in eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) industry.

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Critical Decarbonization Technologies Need at Least “10x” Investment

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Breakthrough technologies such as hydrogen-based fuels, bioenergy and carbon-capture storage solutions are needed to hit the global goal of zero emissions by 2050.

To scale these technologies and take them to market, at least a tenfold increase in investment is needed, according to the How to Finance Industry Net-Zero report.

Released by the World Economic Forum and Oliver Wyman, the report outlines how to address the supply-and-demand-side gap and take these technologies to the next level.

Part of the Forum’s Financing the Transition to a Net-Zero Future Initiative, the report brings together input from over 50 financial institutions and the public sector. Their focus is on how to steer capital to breakthrough technologies and drive a more sustainable future.

Key findings:

· The innovative blending of capital supported by an enabling ecosystem is needed, where different sources of public and private capital are brought together in technology-specific financing blueprints. To do this effectively, mechanisms that activate collaboration among multiple stakeholders are necessary.

· Transformative business models are essential, where industry participants and capital providers work together to establish new contracts and ways of doing business to increase the probability of commercial success.

· Targeted public intervention is critical, focused on the design of incentive schemes rewarding early movers adopting innovative technological solutions and de-risking schemes to mitigate investment risks unique to these innovative solutions.

The challenge ahead is significant, but not insurmountable,” said Derek Baraldi, Head of Sustainable Finance and Investing, at the World Economic Forum. “If executed thoughtfully, the mobilization of finance to breakthrough technologies presents a tremendous investment opportunity. This study found that there is a real appetite from industry for thoughtful partnership and collaboration between private and public capital providers.”

“Organisations have announced ambitious pledges to finance the transition to net-zero but the progress made to date is not enough,” added Ted Moynihan, Managing Partner and Global Head of Industries, Oliver Wyman. “There is a huge gap in financing of early-stage decarbonization technologies, which will be absolutely critical to achieving our targets from 2030 to 2050. With more research breakthroughs coming, we are now in a vital moment to accelerate the mobilization of capital towards decarbonization technologies in hard-to-abate industries.”

By proposing an initial set of financing approaches and de-risking solutions, the report seeks to initiate an important discussion on how to rapidly accelerate the deployment of capital towards breakthrough technologies.

The report launched at the Mission Possible Partnership event Supercharging Industrial Decarbonisation. It brought together public and private sectors from shipping, aviation, and steel. The Mission Possible Partnership will share learnings across these critical industrial sectors and present sector-specific blueprints for industrial decarbonisation.

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