Mars is expanding its partnership with Accenture on its “Factory of the Future” initiative, the companies announced last week. Mars’ goal is “to transform and modernize its global manufacturing operations with artificial intelligence (AI), cloud, edge technology, and digital twins.”

The food giant and the professional services company have been testing digital twins in Mars’ manufacturing operations for about two years. Digital twins are virtual representations of machines, products, or processes that use real-time data to predict and optimize production processes and equipment performance, from reliability to quality to energy efficiency.

The companies first applied digital twin technology to reduce instances of over-filling packages. The test was successful, and Mars rolled the solution out across the U.S. and developed similar solutions for its pet care business in Europe and China.

Now, the companies will apply digital twin technology and models to Mars’ manufacturing facilities globally, implementing dozens of use cases over the next three years. They will also create a new cloud platform for manufacturing applications, data, and AI, which will provide next-generation robotics, AI, and automation capabilities at the edge. These technologies are expected to boost both the efficiency and sustainability of Mars’ manufacturing operations.

Thiago Veiga, senior director of Digital Supply, R&D & Procurement at Mars Inc., said, “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.”

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