NGen Pilot Project Cuts Cloud Computing Costs for Manufacturers .

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    Robbie MacLeod   October 11, 2022

    The partners have demonstrated the ability to provide low-cost solutions for SME manufacturers that are deploying data-driven technologies.


     

    HAMILTON, Ontario, October, 11, 2022 -- Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization behind Canada’s Global Innovation Cluster for Advanced Manufacturing, has announced the completion of a game-changing pilot project led by Distributive Corp. (Kingston, ON) and partner Honeyvision Inc. (Ottawa, ON). Leveraging the Distributive Compute Protocol, the partners have demonstrated the ability to provide low-cost solutions for SME manufacturers that are deploying data-driven technologies.

    In only 6 months, Distributive Corp. and Honeyvision Inc. have built a Machine Vision framework and model that used a novel on-premises virtual distributed computing solution. This approach produced a savings of 92% over the lead competitor’s custom vision platform. Most importantly, proprietary data never had to leave the facility as is the case with commercial cloud. The solution - aptly codenamed Overwatch - continuously analyzed video feeds to detect infractions of protective buffer zones around dangerous machinery, automatically alerted human supervisors, and could be used to trigger machinery shutdown. The algorithms and video data were processed using idle computers and IoT devices already located in the manufacturing facility, meaning that data remained on-prem and no expensive cloud services were required.

    Smart manufacturing processes use digital information to optimize product, factory, and supply-chain operations. Machine Vision (MV) applications in particular impact quality assurance, worker safety, and real-time monitoring, thereby increasing productivity, efficiency and reliability. MV refers to AI and data science algorithms ingesting video feeds to extract actionable information such as: equipment degradation, personal protective equipment infractions, and safety zone violations, and automatically trigger other processes.

    “As companies move forward in the digital world, it’s critical to make smart investments in the infrastructure they need. This new project led by Next Generation Manufacturing Canada will make digital infrastructure investments more affordable and will help companies quickly build a stronger and more skilled workforce.”

    - The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

    “High implementation costs - dominated by digital infrastructure or cloud computing requirements - combined with unclear ROI dissuades decision-makers from committing resources towards digital transformation. Decision-makers need affordable and low-risk opportunities to trial new solutions to understand the benefits.

    - Dan Desjardins, CEO, Distributive

    “The most transformative aspect is to bring cost-prohibitive Industry 4.0 capabilities – MV as the present use case – to manufacturers for 16x less cost. Only 1 in 10 manufacturers have the resources to explore Smart Manufacturing methodologies. By decreasing the cost of computing power, Smart Manufacturing technologies become accessible to the remaining 9."

    - Andrew Pohran, CEO, Honeyvision

    Machine Vision is only one example of a computeing-enabled Smart Manufacturing application. Drastically cheaper compute also enables R&D cost savings, improved product quality, accelerated development and commercialization of entirely new products, long-term growth and competitiveness impacts and other societal benefits. Distributive Corp. and Honeyvision Inc. are helping Canadian manufacturers access low-cost and low-risk Smart Manufacturing solutions that will increase efficiency and safety.

    This project is funded by NGen under Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters Initiative. To date, NGen has approved 166 projects with 374 industry partners, investing $236 million and leveraging $371 million in new R&D investments by industry. NGen investments have created 18 new companies, supported 45 new products and services and generated $1.92 billion in revenue and licensing deals for participating partners.

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