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Google Cloud & Siemens bring AI to the factory floor

20 Apr 2021

Google Cloud and Siemens will collaborate on new artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) solutions for the industrial sector, with a particular focus on factories and shop floors.

As part of the collaboration, Siemens will integrate Google Cloud AI/ML solutions with its own digital industries factory automation (SDIFA) solutions to create new applications and use cases.

These use cases could include visual product inspections, or predicting how quickly machines on the assembly line succumb to daily wear and tear.

“By combining Google Cloud’s data cloud and AI/ML capabilities with Siemens’ Digital Industries Factory Automation portfolio, manufacturers will be able to harmonize their factory data, run cloud-based AI/ML models on top of that data, and deploy algorithms at the network edge. This enables applications such as visual inspection of products or predicting the wear-and-tear of machines on the assembly line,” the company states.

According to Siemens, data is at the heart of modern industrial processes but many organisations still use legacy hardware and systems. These methods require many manual updates and they are extremely resource-intensive. Some organisations may experiment with smaller AI projects, but on a whole, it seems that they struggle to implement AI at scale.

“The potential for artificial intelligence to radically transform the plant floor is far from being exhausted. Many manufacturers are still stuck in AI ‘pilot projects’ today - we want to change that,” explains Siemens Digital Industries factory automation VP of control, Axel Lorenz. 

“Combining AI/ML technology from Google Cloud with Siemens’ solutions for Industrial Edge and industrial operation will be a game changer for the manufacturing industry.”

However, bringing AI to factories and integrating it with automation is a complex and specialised process.

Siemens states, “ The goal of the cooperation between Google Cloud and Siemens is to make the deployment of AI in connection with the Industrial Edge—and its management at scale— easier, empowering employees as they work on the plant floor, automating mundane tasks, and improving overall quality.”

Google Cloud manufacturing and industrial managing director Dominik Wee says, “Siemens is a leader in advancing industrial automation and software, and Google Cloud is a leader in data analytics and AI/ML. This cooperation will combine the best of both worlds and bring AI/ML to the manufacturing industry at scale. By simplifying the deployment of AI in industrial use cases, we’re helping employees augment their critical work on the shop floor.”

Siemens Digital Industries has its global headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, and has around 76,000 employees internationally. It is owned by Siemens AG.. Google Cloud serves more than 200 countries and territories.