Rockwell Automation, PTC Bring Next Step in IIoT

Rockwell Automation, PTC Bring Next Step in IIoT

Strategic partnership provides integrated IIoT platform that gives users manufacturing analytics that matter to them and drive results.

By Paula Puess, global market development manager, Rockwell Automation

By 2020, industrial producers are on track to exceed 50 billion connected devices across their enterprise, along with multiple Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications that depend on them. Of course, such proliferation comes with challenges.

Many industrial firms face roadblocks as they try to bring together disparate devices and systems. After all, technology frequently arose to address single issues, such as improving line performance, managing orders or sending those orders to the facility. Now companies need a better way to integrate all devices, applications and systems before they can maximize key benefits such as accelerated productivity and improved asset management and reliability.

Rockwell Automation and PTC entered into a strategic partnership to support how companies around the world transform their physical operations with digital technology. Instead of juggling an assortment of hardware and software, industrial producers can create greater efficiencies more easily with one unmatched, integrated information platform.

It offers the benefits of digitization without the challenge of forcing solutions together into one technology stack through time-consuming and costly IT projects.

Unparalleled Insight

The integrated Rockwell Automation and PTC platform provides users across industrial companies with insight into operations from “a single pane of glass.”

For example, a food processor that switches between recipes often has many different requirements for quality control, measuring out ingredients and managing process speeds. The platform can provide insight into any operational detail — from the original order to the assessment of a flow meter — by extending visibility to systems inside and outside the facility.

The platform allows producers to build IIoT applications quickly and connect to data from automation devices and applications spread across the enterprise. That also facilitates the ability to build a complete site overview showing the status of assets from raw material tanks to packaging machines.

A plant manager at the food processor, for instance, can review a single line at a facility to better understand how the process has been running. The manager can also add insights to the overview, such as process alerts or the status of a current batch.

Combined with advanced analytics, visibility into operations is enhanced with insights that improve how individual users understand and respond to opportunities in real time. From the site overview, for instance, the plant manager can perform a self-serve drill down into the line, searching an automation asset to determine if there is a risk of unplanned downtime.

During their drill down, the manager can access advanced analytics based on what information the manager expects to see. Through intelligently fused data, the platform creates any number of intuitive dashboards, called storyboards, that can be shared and viewed from anywhere in the enterprise. A storyboard then provides deeper understanding — in context and real-time — of the asset by analyzing how it has performed to date and if that has impacted order fulfillment. Data is fused from enterprise systems such as MES, ERP or CRM systems.

Innovate in Real Time

The benefits of connecting an enterprise’s IIoT applications go beyond providing complex analytics and insights on a single screen. Predictive analytics help to solve issues before they arise. Should the food processor enter a work order that involves a tank with a nearly faulty asset, the order would trigger further actions, prompting a maintenance user to resolve the issue as well as providing work instructions to guide the repair process.

Integrating with augmented reality (AR) technology also allows users to simplify their interaction with operations. Any user, such as the food processor’s maintenance engineer, receives instructions that are visualized with 3D animations.

Upon arriving at the tank, the engineer will see instructions specific to the situation, such as the asset with a potential issue and the steps they should take to fix it. Not only does this help keep the process running, but it also reduces the potential for error.

Combining accelerated IIoT application deployment, advanced analytics and AR puts the user in charge of innovating on the job as the individual systems barriers become almost invisible.


The Journal From Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetwork™ is published by Putman Media, Inc.

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