The School of Engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic collaborates with SAS Institute to boost digital transformation in the manufacturing industry.

To address the digitalization challenges faced by SME manufacturers today, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)’s School of Engineering has developed an integrated cloud AI platform leveraging SAS Institute’s data analytics and visualization capabilities.

Established in 1992, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) is an institution of higher learning in Singapore offering quality education and training through 40 full-time diploma courses and programmes.

NYP’s School of Engineering collaborates with industry partners to develop and deploy digital technologies to solve engineering problems and Industry 4.0 solutions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the precision engineering sector to help them boost productivity and growth.

One solution developed on this platform is an enterprise-to-shopfloor integrated platform that encompasses supply and demand forecasting, real-time machine vision parts inspection and a Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

AI modeling is used to enhance forecasts. The AI-enabled machine vision inspection system enables effective 100% sampling of parts. The MES allows the digitalization of job information from legacy equipment.

Cost-effective, highly scalable

The system incorporates open-source low-cost edge devices for data acquisition and exploits cloud-based AI to forecast demand and supply and provides more accurate outcomes.

SAS analytics is deployed for effective data storage, analysis, and machine learning. The digitalized data is used for planning and scheduling, and subsequent data analysis and visualization.

Cost-effective and easily scalable, this solution leverages the increased volume of data acquired by the edge devices to improve the modeling and training of AI models.

The forecasting system can be applied to other enterprises with minimal reconfiguration. Cloud AI-powered machine vision, leveraging SAS’s Event Stream Processing module for in-process inspection of defects enables real-time intervention to correct processes so that parts are manufactured with zero defects, as opposed to inspection in stages. This reduces scrap and rework time substantially.

“We are proud to have developed an enterprise-to-shopfloor system driven by analytics that can help manufacturers significantly improve in production efficiency,” said Dr Vinn Prabhu, Deputy Director, School of Engineering, Nanyang Polytechnic. “Through our innovations, we aim to continue enabling SME manufacturers in their digital transformation journey.”

Improved productivity, efficiencies

The prototype MES was deployed in production at Sanwa Plastic Industry Pte Ltd for managing and scheduling of jobs for machining components and plastic injection moulds.

Based in Singapore, Sanwa Plastic has a continued commitment to quality, focusing on its design and engineering capabilities to sustain competitive edge and the capacity to handle new challenges in a fast-evolving global market.

A mould typically requires 100 or more machined metal components, and each component undergoes multiple processes with different equipment. The MES enabled more accurate job metrics like process duration, setup times, and better visibility of planned and ad-hoc interruptions to processes.

With the prototype MES, Sanwa Plastic reported a 15% improvement in machine utilization derived from better scheduling of jobs on the shopfloor.

With more accurate and timely data being captured from the shopfloor, Sanwa is able to achieve more precise project costing and estimates for future projects. “More production data is currently being acquired to improve the accuracy of AI models being developed for supply and demand forecasting,” said Dr Vinn.

SAS Institute’s AI, analytics and data management platform offers reality-tested AI, resilience amid uncertainty, trusted results, and empowerment for everyone.

“We are glad to partner with NYP in supporting the digital transformation journey of manufacturers,” said Lim Hsin Yin, Managing Director (Singapore), SAS Institute. “Through this project, we have seen how analytics has successfully helped in the production process, specifically in improving the machine utilization rates for an SME manufacturer, significantly boosting its productivity.

“We will continue to offer innovative AI and cloud solutions to help empower manufacturers with data-driven insights in their decision-making,” he added.

SAS Institute and Nanyang Polytechnic have been awarded the Digital Innovator of the Year for Manufacturing at the DigiconAsia DX Solution Excellence Awards 2022, for their enterprise-to-shopfloor integrated platform solution for manufacturers.

To find out more about how analytics can improve outcomes and plant performance for a manufacturer, download our whitepaper here.

To find out how manufacturers can build data-driven supply chain resilience to strengthen demand sensing and forecast accuracy, download our whitepaper here.