Future Boy Jim Investigates! Connected Manufacturing in the 21st Century

As we move into the future, our society continues to change. In this process, digital technology plays an important role. At this turning point in history, we constantly see major transformations, making it crucial to learn what kinds of things are happening and when in order to predict future changes.
This is Jim, a boy who came from the not-too-distant future to learn about the history of digital technology.
What was going on in Japan at the start of the 21st century, when the digital transformation was just beginning? Let's check in with Jim for a tour of our modern manufacturing sites!

"Hello. My name is Jim. I came from the not-too-distant future. I was wondering what was happening in Japan at the start of the 21st century, when manufacturing was undergoing big changes because of IoT. Let's go check out some manufacturing sites!"

Connecting Things Within Factories

Visualizing the operating status of production lines by connecting different "things"

"First, let's take a look at a factory production line.
I see that many different machines are manufacturing things automatically inside the factory. However, if you look closely to check whether all the machines are operating properly, or whether manufacturing processes are moving forward as planned, or whether the constantly changing factory conditions are continuously monitored and understood... Well, you see that this is not quite always the case. If problems are not dealt with immediately, the entire factory's manufacturing plans can get out of order, which can ultimately severely impact the whole business. This is where Fujitsu's VisuaLine comes in. It can constantly obtain the operating status of manufacturing machines. By visualizing the manufacturing status, Fujitsu has made it possible to quickly grasp the operating status of production lines. By connecting 'things' through IoT, stable factory operation can be achieved."

Connecting manufacturing and management by visualizing the entire manufacturing process

"All right, let's peek into the office next!
This is the headquarters division, where they create plans to turn the products manufactured at factories into profitable businesses. The headquarters division must understand the full scope from manufacturing to business, including the manufacturing conditions at all factories. Fujitsu's Intelligent Dashboard, which visualizes all the manufacturing data, makes it possible to grasp what is going on inside factories in real time, even from the head office. With this technology, factory managers can quickly ascertain the operating statuses of the factories they are in charge of. Moreover, at headquarters, where they must monitor many factories scattered across the globe, the management division can grasp the production status of the entire company. In other words, they can connect manufacturing with management."

Connecting Businesses

Connecting businesses by sharing designs with 3DCG

"The process of design that precedes production is a very crucial step in manufacturing. To get a sense of what exactly a new product you are about to make will look like, you must create trial products called mock-ups. Of course, this takes time and money. Repeating the process of trial and error incurs massive costs.

Fujitsu solved this problem with Virtual Obeya (Virtual Work Space.) Instead of actually building mock-ups of the product being designed, you can generate 3DCG images in VR and share them quickly, all while reproducing the environment where the product will actually be used. You can quickly make changes to the design on the spot, and even speedily share design images between companies located far apart. This made superior methods of value-added manufacturing possible. This is how businesses can be connected with each other!"

Connecting People

Creative manufacturing and places for interaction between businesses help connect people

"All kinds of machines are already playing active roles at manufacturing sites, but where do new products and businesses come from? Let's examine the place where new ideas are born.

This is TechShop Tokyo in Akasaka, Tokyo. This is a great place to meet people engaged in creative manufacturing and people who want to leverage such manufacturing in business.
In this dynamic environment that connects people to each other, you can find all kinds of manufacturing tools. Here, where creative manufacturing can happen spontaneously, many people seeking business ideas gather. These encounters present opportunities to create new value."

Let's Start the Digital Transformation

"As you can see, in the world of manufacturing, all kinds of connections of many shapes and forms are created in a variety of places. Each such connection goes on to connect with others, continuing to innovate and expand, thereby creating entirely new ecosystems. Fujitsu's "Colmina" is a digital manufacturing place where each of the realms of manufacturing we just saw evolve still further, leading to dynamic advancements.

While all this is happening, a tremendous variety of information becomes connected digitally, and this accumulation of information generates big data. Fujitsu takes such big data and analyzes it with the AI technology Zinrai in order to create novel solutions. This can truly be considered a great step forward in the world of manufacturing.

Through these connections, manufacturing will create new value that the world has yet to see!"

Future Boy Jim

A mysterious child about whom all we know is that he hails from the future--though from the bits of Russian he mixes into his speech, we suspect he may be from somewhere in Russia. We do not know his age, but his appearance suggests he might be around 10 years old. He claims to be studying the history of digital technology, and thus he came to our time to observe it. It is clear that he possesses an extraordinary amount of knowledge. He says his grandfather gave him the goggles he always carries.