Visualizing manufacturing processes is crucial to form insights and prevent potential vulnerabilities. As part of the SecureAmerica Institute’s (SAI) $5-million project call, SAI partners at Amentum are exploring how a real-time 2D/3D visual modeling and simulation framework of sensor-fusion data will enable a more resilient industrial base.
Sensor-fusion overcomes the limitations of individual sensors (cameras, light sensors, smart sensors, lidar, radar, etc.) by gathering or fusing data from multiple sensors to produce reliable information. In manufacturing, combining multiple sensor-fusion technology data sets yields a more robust understanding of physical information and a more complete picture of manufacturing processes.
“We saw the ability to use a sensor-fusion-based application to reliably create information that can be used in real time and offline to give us better situational awareness of what’s happening in a manufacturer’s supply chain operations and in areas considered critical infrastructure,” said Dr. Paul Cummings, vice president of transformational training systems at Amentum.
“Sensor-fusion technologies are critical for handling the rapidly increasing demand for data across the manufacturing enterprise,” said Dr. Darrell Wallace, SAI deputy director and chief technology officer. “This project brings together diverse expertise to address the complexity of data integration, representation, and synthesis as important facilitators for new, data-enabled manufacturing supply chain decision support tools.”
Amentum’s sensor-fusion concept is being developed in partnership with gaming company Unity, who are known for bringing immersive 3D augmented reality and virtual reality experiences from product data to businesses.
“We decided to work directly with Unity because of their impressive 3D-modeling capabilities,” Cummings said. “Their team is building a visualization system that allows us to model sensor-fusion entities and use this information in a real-time simulation. This will be a key aspect to ensure more resilient supply chain manufacturing processes.”
Integrating sensor technology helps manufacturers capture data at varying levels. For example, smart sensors monitor the performance of various practices and aspects of machine operation. They can acquire data broadly (deploying them to collect data in warehouses or vehicles) or with more precision (gathering data from microprocessors used in artificial intelligence and machine learning).
Cummings explained the true value of sensor-fusion architecture is approaching processes from the macro to micro level. “Our goal is to model supply chains and collect information as well as model the components of microprocessors, cameras and lidar systems for a blended approach to capture information and gain insight,” he said.
Generating a sensor-fusion graphic library is Amentum’s desired outcome. The ability to create scenarios and build synthetic data sets (information that is artificially manufactured) fosters a collaborative ecosystem where data and technology are easily shared among industry players. Simulations and modeling also permit manufacturers to run millions of iterations to detect potential problems in their processes.
“The future of an effective digital workforce, digital infrastructure and digital supply chain will rely on the development of visualization tools and technologies,” Cummings said. “Generating computer vision data and traditional machine learning-based data will be meaningful to analyze and uncover discrepancies between what we see as correct information, or what could possibly be a cyberattack on a system.”
Cummings said Amentum’s partnership with SAI is advancing the development of agile prototypes like their project to build toward a better future. “SAI is converging disciplines and establishing a platform where we can come together, develop our technologies and grow as one to see a more resilient manufacturing industry emerge,” he said.
SAI and its network of partners are committed to leveraging technology solutions to address nationally impactful challenges. Please contact chief technology officer Dr. Darrell Wallace at email@example.com to discuss how we can work together to develop, integrate and deploy technology solutions to ensure the security and resilience of the domestic manufacturing base.