NEW YORK — Accenture announced its partnership with Mars to optimize its manufacturing with artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technology, as well as digital twins. Following a successful piloting of the technology, Mars integrated the solutions into its US operations and its pet care business throughout Europe and China.

Since 2020, Mars and Accenture have been trialing digital twins within Mars’ manufacturing. As virtual copies of machines, products and processes, digital twins offer real-time data, aiding in the prediction and optimization of production processes and overall equipment performance. The technology can test equipment reliability, quality and energy efficiency, enabling Mars to simulate facility adjustments before committing to actual physical changes, therefore saving time and resources.

“The problems we’re solving aren’t new; what’s new is how we use advanced technologies to get real-time data into operators’ hands and apply AI to help them make decisions before problems occur,” said Simon Osborne, managing director at Accenture. “While many companies are beginning to experiment with digital twins, what sets this project apart is the speed and scaling of the technology across Mars’ operations globally.”

Mars is specifically using digital twins to reduce the instances of package over-filling, a common problem for both human and pet food processors. The digital twin provided the company with a bird’s eye view of its production lines at its facility in Illinois. By feeding data from the manufacturing equipment into a predictive analysis program, the twin provided operators with the ability to better monitor the filling process in real-time and make necessary adjustments.

Following the successful test of the digital solutions, Mars and Accenture entered a new agreement, in which the companies will work together to further apply digital twin technology throughout all of Mars’ manufacturing facilities. Mars plans to apply the technology to more than a dozen cases during the next three years.

“Our collaboration with Accenture, combined with our partnership with Microsoft, enables us to scale digital twin technology to reach this goal, delivering not just significant cost savings and sustainability, but preparing our manufacturing operations for the future of work,” said William Berry, vice president and global chief information officer at Mars Wrigley.

As part of the agreement, Accenture and Mars will also develop a cloud platform for manufacturing applications, combining data and AI. The platform will offer next-generation robotics, AI and automation solutions to further boost Mars’ manufacturing efficiency, as well as address its sustainability goals, which include water stewardship, waste management and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We at Mars are constantly looking for innovative and sustainable ways to create value in our end-to-end supply chain, and digital manufacturing is a key priority,” said Thiago Veiga, senior director of digital supply, R&D and procurement at Mars.

Accenture will utilize its cloud, engineering, manufacturing, supply chain and other capabilities in its agreement with Mars. The company also works closely with Microsoft and has been named Microsoft’s 2022 Manufacturing and Supply Chain Partner of the Year.

“Our work with Mars is about using the power of data, cloud and edge computing to modernize factories, boost business agility in response to change, and put power in the hands of Mars associates so they can make informed decisions faster,” said Larry Thomas, senior managing director at Accenture.

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