Mars partners with Accenture to develop AI-based ‘digital factory’

Mars have collaborated with Accenture to create digital twins of manufacturing operations that can simulate processes and allow Mars to assess the effects of factory adjustments before putting them into practise.

The global confectionary, food, and pet care conglomerate has been trialling these digital twins with Accenture since 2020. After a successful test in a factory in Illinois, the systems were introduced in Mars’ manufacturing facilities across the USA, while similar technology was rolled out in Europe and China.

The technology works by creating a virtual copy of a factory’s manufacturing process to monitor events affecting the production line in real-time and help inform line operators to make appropriate adjustments.

Larry Thomas, a Senior Managing Director at Accenture explains, “Our work with Mars is about using the power of data, cloud and edge computing to modernise factories, boost business agility in response to change, and put power in the hands of Mars Associates so they can make informed decisions faster.”

A new agreement between the two companies will see digital twin technology applied globally in Mars’ manufacturing facilities, with the hope of improving efficiency in manufacturing operations over the next three years. The implementation of this technology alongside artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, and edge technology should address Mars’ sustainability goals including water stewardship and reducing waste alongside greenhouse gas emissions.

William Beery, Vice President, and Global Chief Information Officer at Mars Wrigley said: “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.”

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