Oracle inaugurated their state-of-the-art Industry Innovation Lab near Chicago some time back and Infosys was amongst the first batch of partners that were invited for a tour. I got a chance to be a part of this contingent and spent half a day at the lab getting a first-hand insight into various exhibits and chatting with the Oracle experts who put this together. This was indeed a futuristic experience and I thought of jotting it down in the form of a blog as a quick reference for others who would be interested in visiting. The goal here is to explain the thought process behind this facility and the experiences it has to offer, and how it could be an ice breaker for customers and partners as they embark on their Oracle Cloud ERP applications adoption journey.
Read the press release about the inauguration here: https://www.oracle.com/news/announcement/oracle-expands-global-network-of-industry-innovation-labs-2022-04-26/
The idea behind this lab is to combine machine/process models, automation, IOT, AI/ML and AR/VR with Oracle Cloud (SaaS and PaaS) technology to provide a rich and realistic end-to-end user experience. Through working simulations, it illustrates how Oracle Cloud products work hand-in-hand with typical industry hardware and associated latest technology thereby accelerating the journey towards Industry 4.0. The crux of these solutions is that they are completely based on native Oracle Cloud offerings and require minimal external systems to clinically run the show in a typical supply chain environment.
As we are aware, a plethora of presentations and demos are available that showcase the features of Oracle Cloud products ranging from basic to advanced. Many of these talk about the ability to integrate with shop floor systems and facilitate seamless data and transaction monitoring, capture and exchange with Cloud ERP. A very simple example would be a machine getting work order information from Oracle Manufacturing Cloud, producing the required jobs and communicating the details back to Cloud for posting corresponding manufacturing and inventory transactions. This end-to-end process has been presented only on paper (read: slides) so far or at best, in computer-based simulations which lack real-life experience. The Oracle Industry Innovation Lab bridges this gap! It really helps you see where the rubber meets the road when you deploy Oracle Cloud products in your factories and warehouses.
The lab is extremely flexible and can be configured for scenarios from a multitude of industry segments. More information can be found here: https://www.oracle.com/industries/innovation-lab/
Out of several use cases modeled in the lab, here are the ones that I was able to experience during my visit. I have tried to complement each with my point of view on its application and value-add in real life scenarios in industrial manufacturing / supply chain.
1. Work Order Processing using Digital Twins:
The exhibit resembled a production line with different workstations. Engraving and coloring a wooden block was set up a use case to simulate a configure to order (CTO) scenario. The production line and each workstation were replicated into a Digital Twin using Oracle IOT Production Monitoring Cloud. Work order for the selected configuration was passed on by Oracle Manufacturing Cloud to this ‘shop floor’. As the job moved through each step, its progress was tracked in the Digital Twin and corresponding operations were interfaced to the work order in Oracle Manufacturing Cloud. Essentially, the physical operations were being automatically synced with the system of record (Cloud ERP) in near real time thereby eliminating the need for the operators to manually report transactions. Such zero-touch MES system integration with ERP is the need of the hour in many factories and this was an accurate representation of how this could be achieved seamlessly using Oracle Cloud and IOT.
2. Guided Parts Picking:
This tableau included a set of bins housing different components representing shop floor line side inventory. A parts picking order (for an upstream work order) was rendered to this setup ‘visually’. Each bin had a light mounted and it illuminated only the specific bin from which the required component had to be picked as per the signal coming from Oracle Cloud. In case the operator inadvertently picked from the wrong bin, sensors would detect it and flash a red light on that bin and emit a sound (audio-visual Poke Yoke to prevent errors). This was based on on-hand information maintained in Inventory Cloud which told the system what part is in which bin (locator). I remember seeing this exact process during a visit to an Amazon fulfillment center and must say this is a foolproof technique! Imagine this being extended to a high velocity manufacturing setup to guide component picking intuitively and accurately, driven directly from Oracle Cloud!
3. PLC / Machine Integration with Quality:
Here, a test bed measured the dimensions of a job (represented by a metal block). Additionally, surface characteristics were gauged by sensors. The required attribute values (and their allowable deviation ranges) were stored as specifications in Oracle Product Information Management Cloud. Anomalies identified by the test station were electronically passed on to Oracle Quality and recorded as non-conformances in inspection plans and assigned to specific users/groups who were then notified by email alerts. This handshake between test systems and Oracle Cloud was seamless. This would be a great fit for day-to-day manufacturing scenarios that include work in process inspections and render quality control more efficient and automatic.
4. Cycle Counting using Drones
A drone flew past mini warehouse racks and took stock of things, well literally! This drone was equipped with sensors / RF devices which captured inventory details and relayed those to Oracle Inventory Cloud. The drone’s flight path was determined by the items scheduled to be counted in that day’s cycle count created by Oracle Inventory Cloud, and their physical location in the warehouse. So, this was a 2-way communication originating from Cloud and completing with a feedback loop from the drone. Ofttimes, we come across huge warehouses with tall racks / complex layout that call for specialized equipment and labor for counting inventory thereby making cycle counting time and effort intensive. This solution will alleviate this pain point and aid efficient inventory management.
5. AR/VR based Digital Work Instructions
We all have heard about paperless work instructions aka something displayed on a screen instead of a printed piece of paper. Well, this solution takes it way beyond! A technician wore a pair of AR/VR headsets which then guided them to perform the required steps on a work order or service job. The entire experience was in 3D where the physical space in front of them was overlayed with digital instructions and directional guidance (towards say, a tool kit). Moreover, this had back-and-forth integration into Oracle Service Cloud for pulling up work order information and then reporting the progress back into Cloud based on actual work performed by the technician while wearing the device. An external screen displayed the view being seen by the technician through their headset so that audience (like us) could also see it in real time. The system also works in a reverse manner, i.e., to create work instructions as the user performs their tasks. Now, there are other solutions in the market which offer something similar (such as Microsoft Halo Lens) but the integration with Oracle Cloud is the differentiator here.
In addition to the above, a few other solutions were on display too which I could not look into due to lack of time:
- IOT based transportation management
- Robotics driven work order processing
- Supply chain planning simulations using AI/ML
Overall, the lab appeared quite promising. This unique concept will help customers get an insight into the length and breadth of Oracle Cloud capabilities, especially with connected systems working in tandem, as they see things live in action instead of slides or curated demos in a conference room.
Planning a Visit:
Here are some details that will come in handy.
Location: 1407 Lake Cook Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015, USA
(16 miles from Chicago O’Hare International Airport)
To get a glimpse of this facility and see pictures of the experiences I have outlined, please check out my LinkedIn post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/manish-naik-7a54935_latepost-activity-7032219190803542017-CW1x
Note that the experiences offered are quite dynamic as Oracle continuously enhances these to showcase the latest technology. If there happens to be a time constraint during your visit, I strongly suggest making a list of everything on display and focus on the ones that appeal to you the most. The onsite team from Oracle will make sure you get the most of your visit. A better option would be to work with Oracle or partners in advance and plan an experience tailored to your areas of interest. You can also book specific sections of the lab for a doing a proof of concept either using the existing exhibits or setting up a totally new one based on your requirements.
To schedule a visit or to set up a customized experience for your organization, please reach out to partners like Infosys or write to email@example.com.
For feedback or questions about anything I have covered in this blog, please leave a comment. I hope you get a chance to visit this center of innovation soon and experience its magnificence in person!