ROHM Semiconductor and A*STAR’s Institute of Microelectronics (IME) recently announced the joint development of an AI chip to boost efficiency in predictive maintenance for smart factories. The concept of ‘predictive maintenance’ has become widespread in the manufacturing industry as manufacturers begin to digitalize their production lines for increased productivity and competitiveness. Predictive maintenance forecasts machine failures, and it involves monitoring the function and health of machines, and identifying potential problems based on data received through device logs and sensors, and eventually taking counter-measures such as repairing or replacing the affected machine. “I’m exceptionally delighted that we have our first opportunity for cooperative research with A*STAR’s IME. Through the fusion of ROHM’s sensor technology, analog low-power technology and AI architecture with IME capabilities in low-power integrated circuit technology, we want to provide the optimum solutions for edge nodes,” commented Mr Koji Taniuchi, Fundamental Research and Development Division, general manager at ROHM. “Over the years, IME has built up strong expertise and capabilities in integrated circuits and systems, as well as research design and process technologies. The factories of tomorrow will demand highly intelligent solutions for greater integration of their operations in a seamless network across the value chain. Our joint research with ROHM in developing an artificial intelligence chip is an important step towards achieving greater efficiency in data transmission and analysis necessary for predictive maintenance in the era of smart manufacturing,” said Dr Tan Yong Tsong, executive director of IME.