The winners of the Microsoft Intelligent Manufacturing Award 2024

The winners of the Microsoft Intelligent Manufacturing Award 2024

March 18, 2024

Roland Berger and Microsoft present the pioneers of digitalization in Operations

For the fifth time, Microsoft Germany and Roland Berger have honored pioneering solutions for the manufacturing industry with the MIMA (Microsoft Intelligent Manufacturing Award). Industrial companies from Europe, the Middle East and Africa were invited to submit digital solutions for the manufacturing, process, construction and automotive industries for the competition. After the first selection round, 15 finalists had the opportunity to pitch their projects to a high-profile jury from industry and academia. The six award-winning projects are not only innovative but, in the opinion of the jury, also have the potential to drive digital change in the entire industry.

"This year’s MIMA winners demonstrate how embracing modular digital solutions, simplifying data usage for all user levels, and empowering the workforce through intelligent solutions lead to a strategically important advantage in Operations performance."
Portrait of Jochen Gleisberg

Jochen Gleisberg

Senior Partner
Stuttgart Office, Central Europe

Jochen Gleisberg, Partner at Roland Berger and member of the expert jury, congratulated the award winners on their achievements. "Once again this year, we were able to see how creative and innovative companies in the manufacturing industry are. Their perseverance and commitment to excellence is inspiring and demonstrates the strong spirit of innovation that exists in our industry."

"The future of manufacturing will be determined by clever innovations and new forms of collaboration, and the Microsoft Intelligent Manufacturing Award honors the best solutions for this," says Nico Hartmann, Manufacturing Industry Lead at Microsoft Germany. "This year's winners impressively demonstrate how to find new ways to achieve greater efficiency, better quality and more sustainability. The MIMA recognizes this commitment and encourages further progress for the digitalization of the manufacturing industry."

Applicants for the MIMA 2024 were able to demonstrate their innovative excellence in the five categories Innovate!, Scale!, Add Value!, Disrupt! and Sustainability! At the end, the MIMA Advisory Board selected one winner in each category as well as the overall winner.

Overall Winner: Mercedes-Benz

Platform for efficient, resilient and sustainable automotive production

The overall winner of the Microsoft Intelligent Manufacturing Award 2024 goes to Mercedes-Benz AG and its MO360 Data Platform. It is a further development of the digital production ecosystem MO360 from Mercedes-Benz. It enables the teams to identify potential bottlenecks in the supply chain more quickly and to dynamically prioritize production resources for electric and top-end vehicles. The unified data platform is based on Microsoft Azure and provides the car manufacturer with the flexibility and cloud computing power needed to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics globally while meeting regional cybersecurity and compliance standards. Unlike most other industrial data platform solutions, it achieves tangible and rapid digitalization success for all user groups in a complex, turbulent industry. The jury's citation for the overall winner award states: "The solution democratizes data not only by simplifying and standardising data access via a self-service data marketplace, but also by driving digitalization 'from the bottom up' and generating enthusiasm at all levels."

Innovate! Northvolt

Innovative solution for sustainable battery production

The Swedish company Northvolt convinced the jury with its solution for more sustainable battery production. Its Particle Trap System is a ground-breaking innovation for monitoring technical cleanliness that combines process improvements, a user-friendly app and state-of-the-art technologies. Using the Power Platform, Northvolt has seamlessly integrated advanced analytics, an AI classification model for image recognition, Microsoft Copilot and ChatGPT in a remarkably short time. The solution could be implemented quickly, is cost-efficient and easily adaptable to the company's specific organizational processes. The result: Northvolt's battery production is becoming significantly more sustainable.

Scale! Malvern Panalytical

Real-time nitrogen monitoring in precision farming

Precision farming uses data analytics and cutting-edge technologies to optimize crop production and reduce its negative impact on the environment. Malvern Panalytical's innovative Smart Return Agriculture solution combines a VIS-NIR sensor with cloud-based artificial intelligence to monitor leaf and soil nitrogen levels, disease incidence and fruit ripeness in real time. Thanks to this new technology, plant producers can precisely monitor nitrogen levels and adjust fertiliser quantities accordingly. This leads to higher yields, reduces costs and protects the environment. One banana grower has already been able to save 20 to 30 per cent on fertiliser by making real-time adjustments to nitrogen application.

Add Value! WILO

Adaptive worker assistance for customised assembly instructions

The Dortmund-based company Wilo SE has won in the "Add Value!" category with its adaptive worker assistance system. The assistance system is used in the company's smart factory, where pumps and pump systems are produced. The new solution uses screens to provide employees with precise step-by-step instructions for the assembly of 12,000 product variants and adapts to each person individually. The more experienced a production worker is and the lower their error rate, the more condensed the content is displayed. The integration of augmented reality technology further simplifies the use of adaptive worker assistance. Its introduction shortens the familiarisation period for new employees, enables more flexible deployment and improves quality and productivity.

Disrupt! ANDRITZ

Digital transformation of industry value chain

The Pulp & Paper business area of the Austrian-based technology group ANDRITZ provides sustainable technologies, automation and service solutions for the production of all types of pulp, tissue, paper and board. The company's technologies and services aim to maximize the use of raw materials, increase production efficiency, reduce total cost of ownership as well as innovative decarbonization strategies and autonomous plant operation. ANDRITZ is now revolutionizing the industry by not only selling machines, but also offering a modular, holistic and AI-supported solution platform for the "lights-out" pulp mill of tomorrow. Significant production increases in mills equipped with the solution confirm its potential.

Sustainability! Danfoss

Reducing food waste and energy consumption in supermarkets

The Azure-based Alsense® platform from Danish company Danfoss enables food retailers and their suppliers to make data-based decisions for the efficient and resource-saving management of thousands of shops. Alsense® automates and prioritizes tasks in areas such as system maintenance, energy monitoring and food safety directly in the cloud for the supermarket. In addition, the platform offers round-the-clock monitoring, which also enables remote diagnostics and remote interventions. This means fewer trips by service technicians are required. By using Alsense®, food waste can be reduced by up to 30 per cent and energy consumption by 12 per cent.

MIMA 2024 Finalists

In addition to the six winning companies, eight other finalists from this year's competition will enter the exclusive MIMA Champions Circle:

  • Alfa Laval: EMELIE – Boosting business with Machine Learning
  • Buhler Group: Artificial intelligent optical sorting machine
  • Halma: Project SideKick – AI companion for enhancing customer service
  • Heidelberg Materials AG: AI Empowered Failure Insights: Knowledge Sharing Redefined in Cement Operations
  • Kongsberg Digital: Revolutionizing asset insight with the Kognitwin Asset Copilot
  • McLaren Automotive Ltd: McLaren Test Fleet Data Insights
  • Siemens: Data Driven-X
  • Volkswagen Navarra: Smart heating

Together with the winners of MIMA 2024, they will become part of an exclusive networking platform for technology leaders in the manufacturing industry, consisting of all finalists from previous years.

Further readings