Digitalization, Industrie 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as market drivers

With the drive to digitalization, and trends such as Industrie 4.0, smart manufacturing, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), industries face challenges such as improving production flexibility and reducing changeover time between production runs.

By Alessandra Da Silva February 19, 2019

The idea of a “transparent plant” generates a high amount of data; typical automation devices can’t process all this information. This is where the performance, intelligence, openness, and flexibility of PC technology comes into play. With machines becoming interconnected and decision making becoming decentralized, security and availability of the data (often sensitive) is a requirement.

With the need for multiple connections between many devices and multitasking of processes execution, industrial PCs (IPCs) enable a fast and collaborative execution of processes. Since PCs are being used closer and closer to the machines in factory environments, they also need to be rugged.

PC-based automation, production transparency

With digitalization, Industrie 4.0, smart manufacturing, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), industries seek to improve production flexibility and reduce changeover times.

A PC-based implementation at the production level is appropriate technology for networking production machinery with the higher-level production system. PC technology’s standardized interface makes the open platform available for implementing communication between the machine level and central production system at a low cost. This ensures compliance with the quality requirements, as the correct parameters are always forwarded to the production machine. Furthermore, by networking the machines with the production system, production’s transparency can be significantly increased.

Helpful product features

IPCs can control and monitor control room processes with rack-based PCs and a multi-monitor configuration. IPCs also can provide fast data transfer using a maintenance-free box PC as a compact gateway to enterprise cloud and edge applications. IPCs also offers powerful data acquisition and machine automation using rugged box PCs, combined monitoring, operation, and PC-based control using Panel PCs, mobile data monitoring and acquisition using industrial tablet PCs.

IP65-protected designs with expansion modules permit flexible operation mounted on a support bracket or stand. To meet special ruggedness, security, or hygiene requirements, multiple IPC designs made from special materials are available with various degrees of protection and special certifications.

Alessandra Da Silva is product marketing manager, Siemens Industry Inc. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: IPCs, industrial PCs

Market drivers require manufacturers to be more flexible and reduce changeover time.

Data availability and security remain concerns.

Industrial PC-based technologies can help.

CONSIDER THIS

How can manufacturers add flexibility, reduce changeover, and increase information access?

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Author Bio: Alessandra Da Silva is product marketing manager, Siemens Industry Inc.