New Intelligent Factory Network Comes to Life

New Intelligent Factory Network Comes to Life
October 01, 2020

First Connected Machines Pave the Way for Future Company-Wide Internet of Things Network

Lockheed Martin is laying the groundwork for faster and more agile production operations with a new, cybersecure and standards-based network that can automatically predict maintenance needs, analyze production performance and monitor quality.

The company recently connected the first manufacturing machines to this new network, called the Intelligent Factory Framework. It’s the foundation for a future company-wide Industrial Internet of Things solution that will digitally link production facilities and enable unprecedented insights into the health, status and optimization of operations. Programs across Lockheed Martin will have instantaneous access to machine performance data that previously took hours, if not days, to collect and analyze.

“In a way, we’re teaching these machines to talk to us,” said Dr. Jeff Daniels, director of Lockheed Martin’s Intelligent Factory and Industrial Internet of Things. “Now they can tell us when they need maintenance, when they anticipate a possible parts failure, and how we can make them even more efficient.

The Intelligent Factory is our edge compute platform that secures, scales and standardizes device connectivity. We are using modern platform techniques including application programming interfaces (APIs), machine learning and software defined networking where machines across the company automatically report on their status in real-time. The information is used to avoid production issues, improve efficiencies and gain new visibility around operational equipment metrics from concept to product.”

Security and standardization are central to the new network. The Intelligent Factory Framework is built on a cybersecure foundation that meets National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 800-171 and emerging Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards, which govern information safeguards and dissemination controls.

The network is also designed with common data standards in mind. Every machine sends health and status updates in a consistent data format, so it doesn’t need to be translated to be shared and analyzed. Those standards enable greater automation and set the stage for future advanced analytics.

“As this network grows, we will collect discrete data on the performance of our production operations in a secure cloud. With that information in hand, we can apply artificial intelligence-powered analytics to gain new insights into ways to drive speed and agility in manufacturing,” said Mike Sarpu, vice president of Operations. “This work is defining how we use data to harness the power of Lockheed Martin’s vast manufacturing capability, and these connected machines represent a crucial step forward in our ongoing digital transformation.”

Lockheed Martin engineers are currently evaluating the performance of the network and its data collection capabilities as they define plans to scale up connections to more machines and production facilities. 

Follow Dr. Jeff Daniels, director of Lockheed Martin’s Intelligent Factory and Industrial Internet of Things, on social media.