This year at the Microsoft Inspire Conference, Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President, and Unilever’s Chief Engineer Dave Penrith, unveiled a remarkable digital twin. It was of Unilever’s Valinhos, Brazil Factory, presented via a computer animation created by Microsoft Studios. The presentation showcased what is possible in a digitally-driven future, including how innovation is shaping collaboration and communication for companies around the world.
Unilever products reach 2.5 billion consumers every day, and by utilising the Internet of Things to enable a Digital Twin, they have been able to create a digital model of their physical production environment. The data from machines and equipment is displayed in the model, creating a representation of every process in the factory and allowing for the mining of patterns and insights to predict outcomes and improve productivity. This has allowed Unilever to make more informed decisions, positively impacting operations in both the long and short term. The company has already switched control of moisture levels in soap-making machines and has improved batch times.
The company is using eight digital twins across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia – streamlining data from 15 of 300 global plants. The plan is to connect 70 factories by the end of 2019, with another 100 in 2020. From Soap to Soup, Unilever is driving innovation and improving outcomes with IoT and Microsoft innovation.