LAS VEGAS — Marrying human intelligence with computer intelligence can help companies work more efficiently and sustainably, Spencer Cramer, founder and chief executive officer of ei3, said at Pack Expo Las Vegas, held Sept. 27 to 29.
The talk, “Using AI for Smart and Sustainable Operations,” was part of several forward-looking presentations at the Pack to the Future stage at the convention.
Manufacturers continue to struggle to find enough workers, and Mr. Cramer quoted a recent Deloitte report that said by 2028, manufacturing will be short more than 2 million jobs.
Artificial intelligence can be a tool to help companies create efficiencies and bridge the knowledge gap, capturing and using the know-how of longtime workers who may be moving on or retiring and those who are new on the job. In fact, machines can aggregate the knowledge of machine operators across the country to create a powerful tool for manufacturers.
“When we talk about AI, what we’re not talking about is replacing jobs with computers,” he said. “That’s not what this is about. It’s really about how can we use technology to create benefits that enable us to produce more and produce more with less.”
Mr. Cramer discussed a few practical applications for this technology, including a plastic pallet manufacturer that sought ei3’s help with predictive maintenance tasks. The company used sensor measurements monitoring critical equipment and was able to predict when a machine was likely to go down. But the company also uncovered a surprise. In the hours leading up to a breakdown, the machine used much more energy.
The company was able to not only know when to replace parts before they malfunctioned, it learned it could save energy by fixing the machine as soon as a problem is detected.
“You can use these tools to help make your operation more sustainable,” Mr. Cramer said. “Connected AI is a very powerful tool.”