EGA launches one of the region’s first digital manufacturing platforms to advance Industry 4.0 strategy

17 May 2024

Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, today announced the launch of one of the first digital manufacturing platforms in the region to unlock additional value through Industry 4.0 applications.

EGA developed the digital manufacturing platform with Microsoft as part of a strategic collaboration to progress EGA’s Digital Roadmap. The platform enables the integration of hardware, software, processes, and people throughout EGA’s global operations.

The platform was built using the latest generation of Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud, to use artificial intelligence at a significant scale across EGA’s global industrial operations including Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah to further improve industrial process efficiency, quality and safety.

The hybrid infrastructure deploys digital architecture previously used in many defence and space projects, while combining the advantages of public and on-premises hybrid cloud processing.

The digital manufacturing platform will enable EGA to reduce the unit cost of running artificial intelligence-based image and video analytics by more than 80 per cent, while increasing speeds as much as 13 times compared to EGA’s previous solution.

EGA’s digital manufacturing platform currently processes over 2.9 petabytes of real-time data annually, equivalent to streaming more than 32,000 movies at 4K resolution, and will be regularly expanded in future.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium: said “EGA’s bold aspiration is to become a digital lighthouse for the region and the global aluminium industry, because we see enormous potential to unlock additional value for our business through Industry 4.0. The digital manufacturing platform, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, transforms our operations by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence at scale, while unlocking significant opportunities for further Industry 4.0 applications.”

Carlo K Nizam, Chief Digital Officer of Emirates Global Aluminium:said, “EGA’s digital transformation strategy has two parallel tracks to fundamentally transform how we operate – implementing high-impact digital solutions for immediate business impact, and building important digital foundations to enable company-wide transformation. The digital manufacturing platform is one of these key foundations.”

Christoph Berlin, General Manager and Partner Architect, Microsoft Azure: said “Today’s announcement marks a key milestone in our strategic collaboration with EGA, a company which is a leader in the application of Industry 4.0 in the Middle East. Their new digital manufacturing platform, created in collaboration with Microsoft, is a great example of using Microsoft’s Adaptive Cloud Framework to fundamentally rethink and modernise OT in a cloud-first era to embrace modern capabilities such as Generative AI. We look forward to our continued collaboration with EGA.”

Earlier this year, EGA announced the groundbreaking for the region’s first 100 per cent renewable energy powered industrial data centres at its Jebel Ali and Al Taweelah sites. The digital manufacturing platform will be hosted on EGA’s data centres in the future.

EGA launched its digital transformation in 2021, aiming to enhance every aspect of its operations and business, while upgrading customer and employee experience and ultimately creating new revenue streams.

In its wider digital transformation, EGA has so far implemented over 60 Industry 4.0 use cases, ranging from using artificial intelligence vision to quality check carbon anode production in real-time, to developing predictive tools for market movements in key commodities. To date, almost 2,000 EGA employees have been upskilled in digital capabilities and ways of working, and the transformation has delivered some $90 million in financial impact.

Both EGA and Microsoft are members of the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology’s Industry 4.0 Champions Network, which aims to accelerate Industry 4.0 adoption across UAE industry.