Real-time, plant-floor data for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
Real-time, plant-floor data has always played a critical part in the analysis of the plant-floor operation. Recently, there has been tremendous advancement in automation, data exchange, and manufacturing technologies. Until recently, sensors would typically collect one piece of process data and were transmitting that data via input/output (I/O) cards into programmable logic controllers (PLC) or distributed control systems (DCS) for display to operators or for historical trending. Current day sensors are more advanced and can capture a lot more variables.
With the adoption of Ethernet-based communication, many more variables are available for visualization and analysis. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is enabling data to be collected from more and different devices and sensors than in the past, bypassing the traditional control systems.
IIoT helps OEE, diagnostics
Traditionally, the key focus of the factories has been on producing good products with least manufacturing costs. Understanding current operating conditions, detecting faults, and alarms using tools like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) helped understand the root causes of failure and downtime. The key focus of the Industrie 4.0 platform is to advance this diagnostic capability. This will make the systems more intelligent so as to be aware of the operating conditions and be capable to predict their own health and take preventive actions. These features are made possible by more peer-to-peer communications and additional health information provided from other connected resources.
Modern information and communication technologies like cyber-physical systems, big data analytics, and cloud computing are enabling technologies that will help make these systems more self-aware of their health and conditions. The basic principle of Industrie 4.0 is that by connecting machines, equipment, control, and other business systems, we are creating an intelligent network that can communicate with each other and control each other autonomously. These technologies will assist in productivity improvements, better quality products, and manufacturing flexibility as well as agility.
Big data analytics plays a critical role within the Industrie 4.0 platform. Data has to be processed with advanced tools to generate meaningful information. The use of advanced algorithms and analytical models help in identifying invisible conditions such as machine performance degradation and predicting component failure on the factory floor.
IIoT and Industrie 4.0 platforms will enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing across the production and supply chain networks by networking equipment, sensors, control, and business systems.
As manufacturers consider the application of these new technologies, it will be more important than ever to build a solid foundation to support the advancements. System Integrators are in the forefront of these applications and will help the manufacturing community to prepare for the future.
Divya Prakash is director, manufacturing systems and solutions, Matrix Technologies Inc., which is a 2016 System Integrator of the Year. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- IIoT helps with data analytics, OEE, and diagnostics.
- Industrial information and communications technologies are becoming more integrated.
- System integrators help establish the right foundation of technologies for IIoT advancement.
Can your technology foundation support IIoT advances and advantages?
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