CHICAGO—A new display of Industry 4.0 innovations at MxD (Manufacturing x Digital), the National Center for Cybersecurity in Manufacturing, is showcasing how state-of-the-art tools can improve efficiency and productivity. The interactive exhibit, which features the latest artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity and cloud technology, is organized by private wireless pioneer Betacom Inc., along with Google Cloud and Ingram Micro.

The permanent display is part of a collaborative effort to equip manufacturers with digital tools and expertise needed to strengthen U.S. competitiveness. By bringing together diverse technologies and device manufacturers on MxD’s Factory Floor Lab, the digital transformation initiative aims to demonstrate systems that are available today.

“As the manufacturing industry embraces the potential of Industry 4.0, our goal is to accelerate the adoption of advanced analytics technology and AI capabilities to drive efficiency, accuracy and innovation as part of this evolution,” says Charlie Sheridan, director of manufacturing industry solutions at Google Cloud. “[We] provides manufacturers with cloud-based platforms, AI and IoT, while ensuring scalability and security.”

“[We are] empowering our channel partners to further modernize the manufacturing sector,” adds Jeff Yelton, vice president of technology solutions at Ingram Micro. “Through MxD, we are offering our channel partners and their customers an up-close look into the transformation that private 5G, artificial intelligence and cloud technology are bringing to this industry.”

Several application areas on display in the joint showcase, including:

  • Smart Manufacturing—how machine vision, AI, data analytics, robotics, 5G and other technologies are revolutionizing manufacturing processes through automation to improve the efficiency, output quality and uptime of modern production lines.
  • Digital Workforce—how mobile devices and productivity tools enabled by AI, machine learning and assisted reality capabilities can streamline worker tasks, automate visual inspection and enable new levels of remote collaboration on and off the factory floor.
  • Resilient Supply Chain—how cloud-based data analytics can help manufacturers understand supply chain risks to improve demand planning and optimize execution, as well as how wireless technologies are enhancing inventory and asset tracking applications to provide end-to-end visibility from production to delivery.
  • Safety and Security—how technology can protect critical assets and data from cyber threats, as well as create safer work environments for people.

“For manufacturers to reap the value of automation and digitalization, technology providers must break down the silos and collaborate to solve real-world challenges, alleviate integration headaches and streamline access to proven solutions,” says Johan Bjorklund, CEO of Betacom. “Private 5G networks continue to gain momentum as the backbone for many Industry 4.0 initiatives, because they provide the reliable and secure connectivity needed for today’s most demanding applications.”

MxD is a digital manufacturing facility run by the U.S. Department of Defense. It’s located on Goose Island, a regentrified industrial area on the North Side of the city along the banks of the Chicago River. Member companies include Boeing, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Rolls Royce and Siemens, plus a variety of manufacturing organizations and academic institutions.

The 22,000-square-foot research factory is used to test and demonstrate new digital manufacturing technologies, train operators and engineers on how to use them, and demonstrate the need for cybersecurity to protect the entire process.