IMC Newsdesk

Hitachi and Microsoft partner on digital manufacturing

  • July 1, 2020
  • William Payne

Hitachi and Microsoft have announced a multiyear alliance to accelerate the digital transformation of the manufacturing and logistics industries across south-east Asia, North America and Japan. The first products will be available in Thailand next month.

The two companies will work together to meet the growing demand for predictive maintenance and process automation in remote areas and support enterprises as they tackle the challenges infused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hitachi will integrate products such as Lumada and its HX IoT-ready industrial controllers with the Microsoft cloud platform, leveraging Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 to help businesses increase their workforce productivity and operational efficiency. Lumada provides digital services and technologies to turn data into insights to drive digital innovation.

Hitachi and Microsoft will also work together to support skilling initiatives that empower businesses to grow their digital capabilities and unlock business opportunities.

Through this collaboration, Hitachi will provide products in these three areas:

  • Increase manufacturing productivity: Using Hitachi Digital Supply Chain and Azure IoT to analyse 4M data collected from manufacturing sites for the visualisation and analysis of production processes to optimise factory operations and increase productivity.
  • Optimise logistics with data analytics: Increasing the logistics efficiency and reducing operational costs by analysing traffic congestion, storage locations and delivery locations, and enabling smart routing to save kilometres and deliver faster through digital technologies such as Azure Maps and Hitachi’s digital logistics and delivery optimisation service.
  • Predictive maintenance and remote assist: Enabling predictive maintenance, real-time remote assistance and remote training scenarios for first-line workers, leveraging HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist as well as other smart devices.

Going forward, Hitachi intends to extend the rollout to North America and Japan. Microsoft and Hitachi plan to expand the scope of the collaboration to additional industries. They will also explore options to integrate Lumada and Azure into an industry data platform to deliver added value to mutual customers.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Microsoft and combine our OT, IT and products excellence to provide manufacturing and logistics companies with digital solutions,” said Jun Abe, vice president at Hitachi. “We use Lumada to provide total seamless solutions to solve challenges by connecting cyberspaces with physical spaces. Through this collaboration with Microsoft, we will be able to accelerate our customers’ digital transformation and continue to deliver social, environmental and economic value.”

Çağlayan Arkan, vice president of manufacturing at Microsoft, added: “Building resilient and flexible digital supply chains is critical to grow a business and meet customer needs in today’s fast-changing environments. By expanding our collaboration with Hitachi, we’ll unlock new opportunities for manufacturing and logistics companies as they strive to lead in their industries and pioneer with a data-driven mindset and digital capabilities.”