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3 min read

6 Industrial Players That Are Nailing Digitalization in 2021

6 Industrial Players That Are Nailing Digitalization in 2021

During the past few years, digital technologies timidly started emerging in the industry, paving the way to what is known as the 4th industrial revolution.

The idea behind it is to integrate computer automation and digital technologies on the whole industrial value chain. The goal? There isn’t a single one, but many. The main ones include:

Data is the driver of the new industrial technologies

Digitalization comes at a slower pace for industrial players. It is lagging behind in oil & energy, manufacturing, and transportation industries, especially when compared with other industries like electronics, automotive or general retail.

This new era comes however with endless possibilities offered by many technologies and solutions. Here are some of them:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI). It is a very wide field with thousands of applications that tackle from process optimization to predictive maintenance or visual recognition of machines and parts.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) or machine-to-machine communication. More and more industrial machines are connected to each other wirelessly, sharing data and helping improve processes while reducing downtime.
  • Industrial cobots are robots designed to safely work collaboratively with human employees analyzing what surrounds them without sacrificing efficiency.
  • Augmented reality has been there for some time, but it’s been only during the past few years when it entered the industrial space. Many companies, including Bosch or Plasmo have used solutions like MagicLens to showcase industrial products.
  • Digital twins. A digital twin is a virtual replica of a machine, product, or service that makes it easier to analyze data and monitor the system to foresee issues before they arise, leverage simulations to prepare for future situations, and optimize processes overall. 21% of the largest industrial businesses are set to be using digital twins by 2021.

Top 6 Industrial Businesses Leveraging New Technologies

The 4th Industrial Revolution is already a reality. Thousands of companies are integrating new, digital tools that are and will undoubtedly transform the industry as we know it. Here are a few companies that are leading the way.



Airbus is an important aerospace company that also works in defense areas. For the past two years, they have been piloting the use of drones for advanced indoor and outdoor aircraft inspection, in order to reduce inspection times and increase the report quality. They have also implemented a platform developed by the company to send support requests to Airbus engineers and leverage their expertise in short times to address frequent issues across airlines and improve their operations. The goal is to anticipate maintenance, ease immediate problem fixing, and provide visibility on critical data. Delta, easyjet, or Air Asia airlines are among their customers, with some of them managing to reduce up to 13 million in fuel spending, reducing disruption and increasing reliability of aircrafts.


Continental Automotive


Continental AG is one of the biggest tires and auto parts manufacturing businesses in Europe. During the past few years, they have implemented different solutions aiming at optimizing production. One of their initiatives was to integrate automated guided vehicles that help keep the warehouse clean by removing trash and picking up spare parts that have been previously ordered. They have also implemented a smooth system that enables machines to connect between them using IoT (Internet of Things). This resulted in a reduction of machine issues, as the connection between machines enables a self-analysis and problem-solving process.


Nova Chemicals


Plastic manufacturing companies like Nova Chemicals are also going digital. In order to improve their work order flow in their resin manufacturing facilities across the globe, they introduced an advanced analytics solution to improve maintenance flows and reduce the burden caused by the large annual number of work orders. Predictive maintenance has reduced emergency interventions by almost a half. They also developed an internal app called Bonfire to let designers virtually create models of plastic film structures and predict how the resulting product will perform. The outcome has been positive, with a decrease in the number of trials that have led to cost and time savings.




Aichelin is a 150-year-old industrial furnace manufacturer operating worldwide. It provides industrial burner systems and has a maintenance team dedicated to servicing spare parts, updating the system, and keeping machines up and running.
Not long ago they launched a project focused on digitalizing their business by means of implementing a digital service app accessible by all Aichelin technicians and service workers. The application, provided by part recognition leader Partium gathers all relevant technical information about furnaces in a single, easy-to-access platform. The idea is to assist and give direct access to technicians to documentation, user manuals, module visualization, machine status, and part availability, as well as part recognition from user pictures, all from a smartphone or tablet. This reduces the time technicians spent finding the manuals, walking to a distant room where documentation is kept and reduces the fuss by centralizing machine and part information.


General Electric

Partium_Digitization_GEGE (General Electric) is among the most advanced players in the manufacturing industry. With their use of connected solutions and machines that are operated through cutting-edge software, they have managed to improve processes across all their portfolio products and solutions. Their latest improvement has been the digitalization of wind farms. By leveraging sensors, machine connectivity, and analytics, they have been able to bring their efficiency to the maximum and produce no less than 20% more energy per year.



Partium_Digitization_BMWThere is no doubt the automotive industry has been a pioneer for industry 4.0. Technologies were initially introduced to power better user experience and functionalities but have been later introduced to improve the overall manufacturing stages, from building to assembling. For instance, they have acquired collaborative lightweight robots that help operators and autonomous tugger trains and transport robots to enhance logistics. They also make use of 3D printing and smart data analytics which have reduced the time to implement new applications by a massive 80% improve quality by 5%. Moreover, they have implemented RFID technologies to track and localize their products and be able to let technicians and operators access the necessary information from portable devices.



Digital Factories 2020: Shaping the Future of Manufacturing. PWC, 2020. 1

Prepare for the Impact of Digital Twins. Gartner, 2017. 2


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