Japanese Manufacturers Join Forces In A Blockchain-Based Production Data Platform

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Companies will exchange information, rather than hiding it, to increase competitiveness.

Over 100 manufacturers, including giants like Yaskawa Electric and Mitsubishi Electric, will share production data in a blockchain-based environment for improved transparency and security.

Sensitive data, such, as product specifications and know-how, has been an area with high-security risks, since competitors often use intelligence to get an unfair advantage over others. The new platform enables users to decide exactly how much production data will be available to share, the number of companies the data is visible to, as well as a commission for the usage of such data.

The joint project is scheduled to be fully operational in Q2 of 2020. The platform will be monitored by the Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVCI). The manufacturers’ group was established in 2015 to implement and promote the “internet of things” (IoT) in Asia and Japan in particular. Before IVCI, companies relied on their own researches to implement IoT features in production.

The number and the names of all participants in the platform are not announced, but further expansion is expected. Companies, regardless of their size and production volume, will have access to production data, production status, and quality measurements.

The platform is fundamentally crucial for machine tool manufacturers, as they can improve the efficiency of part wear and weak points in their designs. Companies even can predict when and how a machine could go out of order, supplying spare parts beforehand, thus — reducing downtime, wastefulness or “Muda” to a minimum.

The usage of blockchain technology will ensure data is transmitted in a fast, efficient, and secure manner, increasing the overall production capacity of Japanese manufacturers. The platform can even be used for transferring production and machines between parties, eliminating written contracts and enhancing flexibility, which corresponds with the “Kanban” method of Japanese manufacture. In “Kanban,” signals are used to show lowering quantities of parts and supplies. The network can be used for warehouse data monitoring, which enables suppliers to schedule their courses precisely, or “Just In Time.”

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