Accenture and Mars said they have been trialling digital twins for Mars’ manufacturing operations since late 2020.
Digital twins are virtual representations of machines, products, or processes. Fed with real-time data, they can predict and optimise production processes and equipment performance, from reliability to quality to energy efficiency. Applied to its manufacturing plants, digital twins will enable Mars to simulate and validate the results of product and factory adjustments before allocating time and resources in the physical space.
The two companies tested a digital twin to reduce instances of over-filling packages, a common problem in the food industry. The digital twin gave Mars a bird’s-eye view of the production lines at one of its factories in Illinois, North America. The twin fed sensor data from manufacturing machinery into a predictive analytics model, which allowed factory line operators to monitor events in real-time and adjust the filling process. After the successful test, Accenture and Mars introduced the solution across the US and developed similar solutions for its business in Europe and China.
William Beery, vice president, and global CIO at Mars Wrigley, said: “Our collaboration with Accenture, combined with our partnership with Microsoft, enables us to scale digital twin technology to reach this goal, delivering not just significant cost savings and sustainability, but preparing our manufacturing operations for the future of work.”
Under the new agreement, Accenture and Mars will work together to apply digital twin technology and models to the company’s manufacturing facilities globally. This will give Mars factory line operators real-time insights into current and predictive performance. Mars plans to apply them to dozens of use cases over the next three years.
Larry Thomas, a senior managing director at Accenture and client account lead for Mars, said: “Our work with Mars is about using the power of data, cloud and edge computing to modernise factories, boost business agility in response to change, and put power in the hands of Mars Associates so they can make informed decisions faster.”