This article is based on the presentation by Didier Chavet, Head of Manufacturing IT Operations, Micron Technology, at the MES and Industry 4.0 Summit 2023 in Porto, Portugal: The Role of AI in Manufacturing. Use Cases from Semiconductor company”.

Technology has been at the forefront of industrial automation since 1978, evolving through the third and fourth industrial revolutions to now spearheading the fifth, Industry 5.0, by integrating AI into its operations. Micron’s manufacturing plants, built on the advancements from previous industrial revolutions, are more than 95% automated.

Micron’s operations generate more than thirteen terabytes of data daily, pulled from more than 470,000 sensors. They are already using AI models to analyze 3.3 million images each day, which contributes to a 50% reduction in new product ramp time, an 18% increase in labor productivity, and significant improvements in operational efficiency. This is only scratching the surface of what we can achieve by continuing to apply AI to the foundations laid by Industry 3.0 and 4.0. Micron expects the greatest AI contributions in intelligent analytics, intelligent robots, and content generation.

Intelligent Analytics

Micron’s journey with intelligent analytics began a decade ago when they used AI to process huge volumes of operational data for predictive and prescriptive analytics. This is like going to the pharmacy and telling the pharmacist that you predict that you are going to have a headache and then prescribing the medicine you need to treat or avoid it. Applying the analogy to the plant floor would be like a machine telling you which parameters to change on the recipe to minimize future maintenance issues.

Advanced process control (APC) is another significant intelligent analytics application. AI-enabled APC can improve yield by more than 2% through more timely and informed data analysis. This is what the semiconductor industry has been doing for years through SPC, fault detection, and run-to-run practices, but now we are working with a much deeper data stream. Micron can stream the sensor data to an IoT platform for analysis, contextualize it, synthesize it, or plug it into analytical models running locally or in the cloud, which drive informed action.

They also use that sensor data in the Critical Manufacturing MES streaming platform to simulate future factory floor scenarios, which can help calculate ROI on technology can improvements. Micron might, for example, use image and video analytics to record an operator implementing a splicing operation and use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to validate operations against standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Intelligent Robots

Robot use in Micron’s operations is evolving from traditional material handling and assembly functions to more interactive and automated mobile robot fleets. Industrial robots have evolved into cobots, robots that can comprehend and respond to their environment through sensory perception and cognitive processing. They can analyze data, make informed decisions and collaborate with humans on shared objectives. In the semiconductor industry, where overhead material transport has been the go-to technology, we are now replacing some of that functionality with automated guided vehicles (AGVs), which may be equipped with cobots.

Also coupled with AR and VR, cobots can improve operations significantly, for example, enabling integration of overhead material transport with automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and human operators.

Generative AI

Generative AI is a promising third area in which AI will impact manufacturing. In addition to enabling advanced data analytics and intelligent physical automation, generative AI gives users the ability to generate added content.

In the above factory floor example, where Micron is using streaming images to validate whether operators are following SOPs, generative AI can produce a checklist for integration with AR technology to provide operators with real-time guidance in performing the tasks. In business operations, it could improve efficiency by generating and sharing meeting notes, or in IT, AI could generate code and test scenarios that could increase the efficiency of our developers by 30%.

Generative AI, though still in its initial stages, promises significant advancements in manufacturing. It could lead to the development of humanoid robots and the transformation of both greenfield and legacy factories with innovative technologies, depending of course on the demands of the industry.

The Future of AI in Manufacturing

Intelligent analytics, intelligent robotics, and generative AI build on previous manufacturing revolutions to optimize efficient data collection and integration across systems. The Critical Manufacturing MES gives Micron the core and advanced functionality they need to use AI to bring each of our factories to the next level of efficiency, freeing our manufacturing engineers from routine tasks and heavy lifting to contribute to what could be a sixth industrial revolution.

MESI 4.0 Summit On-Demand banner email

More stories like this:

Watch all sessions from the MES and Industry 4.0 Summit 2023