Flex's Austria Factory Joins WEF Global Lighthouse Network

In recognition of its adoption and deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies, Flex’s factory site in Althofen, Austria has been admitted to World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Lighthouse Network (GLN).

The GLN’s focus is to accelerate inclusive technology adoption in manufacturing by building a cross-industry network. This includes some of the most advanced factories and connected value chains worldwide.

Flex’s factory site in Althofen, Austria (Screen grab from Flex’s website)

Achieves Operational Efficiency

The Flex site in Althofen demonstrated how it has deployed Industry 4.0 technologies to improve operational efficiency and agility. By meeting higher regulatory and quality standards, Flex has attracted higher margin and longer lifecycle medical business, increasing revenue by 50 percent within the same physical footprint. Its investment in the Althofen site is a perfect example of Flex’s commitment of continuous technology investment and improvement across its factories.

The Flex Althofen site used Industry 4.0 technology to develop a more substantial competitive and differentiated advantage, thus creating unique solutions and value for Flex customers.

Flex uses Industry 4.0 technologies to accelerate new era of manufacturing. (Screen grab from Flex’s website)

Innovation Areas

The site showcased the following innovation areas, which led to its nomination.

Line Stop Assistant or LISA is a virtual operator assistance system that supports line operators by detecting quality issues and halting the production line.

Flex Pulse gives end-to-end visibility into Flex’s entire supply chain in real time to help overcome supply chain complexity.

The plant’s integrated material management and automation provides just-in-time materials and reducing line-side-stock to free up production space and enable 600 product changeovers per month.

Its energy usage management integrates IT infrastructure with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to develop a real-time energy flow data monitoring and alerting platform.

The advanced analytics platform integrates data from machines, optical analytics systems, and other sources to create real-time dashboards designed to boost performance across the production lines. Examples include simulation modeling to predict required maintenance and unsupervised machine learning for anomaly detection.

Commitment to Innovation

“The Flex site in Althofen is an exemplary case of our commitment to leveraging the convergence of innovation and sustainability for good,” said Francois Barbier, President Global Operations and Components, Flex.

“Joining this network of like-minded organizations will pave the way for positive change in the world of manufacturing. We look forward to sharing our experience with advanced technologies, such as automation and digitization to create a better, and more efficient place for employees and to build products that improve the world,” Barbier continued.

 “The Flex factory site in Althofen, Austria demonstrates how a manufacturing company and its workforce can leverage actionable innovation and purpose-driven sustainability to lead change,” said Francisco Betti, Head of Shaping the Advanced Manufacturing and Production Platform, World Economic Forum. “Via its advanced manufacturing capabilities enabled by I4.0, Flex facilities around the world are providing greater efficiency, quality and sustainability for customers. As a Lighthouse member, Flex holds the power to lead by example and encourage its industry peers to re-envision how they too can leverage technology to shape the future.”