Connected devices and systems, advanced analytics and modern network architectures are optimizing processes and results in ways previously inconceivable
The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that by 2020, 60 percent of manufacturers will rely on digital platforms that will support up to 30 percent of their total revenue. Smart, data-driven manufacturing aided by digital manufacturing is driving automation performance to new heights.
Connected, information-enabled manufacturing and production solutions help connect to the broadest array of devices across the enterprise, improving connectivity to previously siloed machines, lines, processes and facilities. The heightened connectivity supports flexible production, maintains quality, increases yield and achieves faster time to market.
The latest technology trends in manufacturing took centre stage as attendees from around the world recently gathered in Philadelphia for the Automation Fair 2018 event. This event provided the opportunity to discover how The Connected Enterprise can help achieve faster time to market, optimize assets, lower total cost of ownership and mitigate risk. By converging plant level and enterprise networks, The Connected Enterprise securely connects people, processes and technologies for greater productivity.
The convergence of automation, safety and security is invigorating industrial operations. Manufacturers are looking for improved equipment efficiency, more effective processes and more prepared workers.
Technology is key to achieving all of these and as we move into 2019, the business and technology of industrial automation will continue to advance at a remarkable rate. Automation trends from 2018 will be expanded and new innovations, trends and technologies created.
Smarter Decision Making for Digital Transformation
The digital transformation of your entire supply chain – from components to systems and from suppliers to customers – is the key to hidden value which can make a significant contribution to the productivity, quality, compliance and profitability of your enterprise.
Integrating and analyzing enterprise data is a critical success factor for digital transformation. The ability to analyze volumes of data produced in an industrial setting to maximize efficiency and instruct workers on making the best decision helps enable smart manufacturing.
With a strong commitment to helping customers leverage data and analytics for better and smarter decision making, the FactoryTalk Analytics solution from Rockwell Automation enables manufacturers to meet the dynamic demands of the marketplace such as increasingly customized consumer products.
“Not only do manufacturers have to be really on top of quality and compliance, they have to manage greater variety,” explained Paula Puess, global market development manager, information solutions, at Rockwell Automation. “It’s not just how much they can make, but how many different kinds they can make.”
Powered by PTC’s industrial software, FactoryTalk InnovationSuite opens new digital possibilities that manufacturers can leverage. “A majority of plants are still running aging equipment that might not have a network connection,” explained Puess. “We can now put sensors on that equipment and still get data.”
The PTC partnership, in particular, delivers a range of new connectivity options, Puess added. “We can rapidly connect users to data and information from plant floor equipment and systems. We can understand the performance of those assets through one consolidated source.
Digital transformation is helping large companies like automaker Ford manage more than two million product variations in real time across its plants and mining company BHP Billiton improve access to production data to increase uptime.
In a recent study by Manpower, 90 percent of employees expect to be affected by digitalization in the next two years. So, how well companies embrace this disruption will predict future success. Industrial companies are transforming their operations – from machine-level analytics and augmented reality to mobility and fully connected enterprises.
Scalable, Smart Machines
As smart manufacturing continues to drive a demand for connected machines and equipment, OEMs are responding with smart machines that seamlessly connect the plant floor with the enterprise. Smart machines and equipment provide unprecedented access to data, greater connectivity, and robust security.
Smart machines leverage the latest technologies to transform data into information to optimize production. They are connected and integrated; Real-time information enabled; Safe and secure and also able to provide remote access for diagnostics and troubleshooting.
As more end users move towards a connected enterprise, they require smart machines and equipment that easily integrate into a facility, provides access to information, and enables agile reaction to changing market demands. As an OEM, the first step in the process is to meet end users on their journey to The Connected Enterprise and identify their needs. Once there is a clear understanding of the processes involved, you can then identify the right technologies and capabilities to meet these requirements.
End users are turning to information-enabled smart machines to provide simplified integration together with enhanced security and the ability to adapt to changing conditions and specifications. Smart machines and equipment help create new revenue streams while reducing risk and production costs – positioning you and your customer for greater success.
Smart Machine Services
OEMs and their customers are working together more closely than ever before. As end users journey towards The Connected Enterprise, they are calling on machine and equipment builders’ expertise to provide services that leverage the data and connectivity of smart assets to help end users maximise their productivity.
This provides an opportunity for OEMs to deliver a new level of value while making both the transition from equipment vendor to trusted partner, and from one-time equipment sales to annual reoccurring service revenue. Smart machine services help differentiate your company and your offerings. They also open opportunities to work more closely with your users by helping them understand and solve the issues that may be holding them back.
This new strengthened relationship can benefit both of you. Your customers gain an expert that knows their smart machines or equipment inside and out and can help maximize their productivity, while you gain a closer partnership with your end users.
As a collaborator, you can create and scale services to help your end users be successful in smarter more proactive ways. Some examples include:
1. Remote Monitoring: This is a service most often discussed in the context of smart machines – and with good reason. It can help your users more quickly spot and address issues, dramatically reducing downtime. According to ARC Advisory Group, a survey of OEMs showed that “30 percent or more of the repairs can be made via the web by modifying parameters remotely or with minor assistance by an onsite person.”
Gaining access to machines and data remotely can help you discuss additional service options with customers. And you can use this data to improve your own engineering processes and machine productivity.
2. Outcome-Based Services: Smart machine services can use service-level agreements to give your end users a guarantee around specific outcomes. Some popular service-level agreements include response time of people and parts, equipment throughput and equipment availability. OEMS that have both remote visibility to equipment status and service capabilities to respond reactively and proactively are positioned to provide these guarantees.
3. Consumables as a Service: These services provide parts, materials and maintenance to help your customers achieve specific outcomes. For example, an OEM that provides case packers could deliver raw materials and consumable mechanical components as a monthly service to help the end user meet its production goals
4. Equipment as a Service: In this model, you don’t sell your machines or equipment but instead bundle the assets and any desired services – such as remote monitoring and proactive maintenance – for a flat monthly fee. Using the case packer example, the OEM could lease the case packer and remotely monitor its health for maintenance.
All these services allow you to become a true collaborator with your customers, playing an integral role in their operations to help them improve productivity and meet their business goals.
Smart Safety in The Connected Enterprise
Safety professionals can use The Connected Enterprise to improve safety, productivity and profitability. This data helps improve safety system visibility, understand safety risks, reduce safety related downtime, evaluate safety system use or misuse, and improve compliance.
To gain more diagnostic data, traditional safety devices required more complex wiring solutions. However, with a smart safety solution, you can now access more diagnostic data and simplify your wiring system. An integrated smart safety solution provides all the data needed to create a comprehensive picture of the status of the machine or production line.
Harnessing the power of safety and operational data can substantially improve safety compliance and performance. Accessing safety system data and transforming it into meaningful information results in increased machinery productivity and minimises downtime. In fact, a study by LNS Research revealed that companies have seen an average of 37 percent improvement in financial metrics from safety investments.
Digital Twins Take Machine Design to New Levels
To keep pace in the machine design industry, companies require a delicate balance of innovation and an ability to get their products to market on time and on budget. Typically, issues with new designs will become apparent during commissioning, once physical prototypes shed light on oversights and errors.
In fact, design issues found during commissioning are often acknowledged as simply the cost of doing business, given that new designs are crucial to the success of many. In the machine design industry, however, some companies are investing more resources in up-front design, drastically reducing the amount of issues they’ll encounter in the later stages of development.
Digital twins can help account for the dynamics of the entire system, in one unified modelling environment, helping provide specific information about the interactions between components. With this information available, engineers are given a new tool to spot design issues, especially when their products involve new, untested designs. When working on a new product in the conceptual phase, digital twins can play a huge role in giving engineers new abilities to work with designs.
Outside of a safer, more effective conceptual development phase, there are a wide range of benefits that engineers can implement by using digital twin technology for virtual design and commissioning. In addition, leveraging new technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) enable personal to experience the production environment and manufacturing process – long before facility start up. And these technologies simplify equipment interactions once a process is up and running.
The Facility of the Future
Analysts have estimated that connected devices will total 31 billion by 2020, and 75 billion by 2025 with one-third to one-half being in industrial environments. The hyperconnected manufacturing world is upon us and now is the time to support a smart manufacturing strategy that helps optimize automation and increase competitiveness, now and into the future.
With a future-focused information infrastructure in place that brings together IT and OT, key process data is no longer siloed. You can collect and analyze real-time data to help workers make better decisions while achieving compliance. Scalable analytics tools convert your raw data into customized, actionable information. They can be deployed in phases at any level of your organization, adding value and helping you solve simple to complex challenges. The facility of the future will incorporate the latest technologies in advanced analytics, data-driven operations, digitalization, smart safety and cybersecurity mitigation.