Evolving IIOT on the factory floor, with Rockwell Automation’s revolution
The interconnectivity of all devices, equipment, and their associated operations are becoming commonplace in our lives today. Not just in homes and offices with the Internet of Things (IoT), but across the manufacturing facilities and factory floors of multinational enterprises around the world.
This hyperconnectivity is the essence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and is playing a transformational role in an extensive range of industries. Ibid reports that 58 percent of manufacturing companies are already feeling the impact from IIoT across some level of their business.
Although IIoT presents significant benefits in digitally transforming industrial operations, it also presents new challenges. Businesses need to assess and process new data streams from a variety of sources across their operational ecosystem, and managing those data streams can sometimes be a challenging ask.
What’s more, while more and more devices are becoming interconnected on the production floor, many enterprises are still not harnessing the full scope of software solutions that are capable of drawing the most out of the networked machines.
Obstacles that are often cited to greater IIoT adoption include the vast and varied platform vendor landscape; the sometimes ill-defined business goals of utilizing IIoT that do not always line up with business outcomes; and increasingly, manufacturers who are already used to specific production equipment, which would probably function most effectively with a networked system that is tailored to their individual needs.
In today’s production environment, all stakeholders in an end-to-end value chain — customers, suppliers, staff, logistics — are expecting the sort of personalized, seamless, integrated experience brought to life through connectivity and application of data.
IIoT: Digitally transforming industrial operations
With the rapid rate of advancement in the IIoT sphere, it is no surprise that industry leaders such as Rockwell Automation have been pioneering IIoT connectivity and data analytics, such as the its streamlined suite of IIoT training and maintenance solutions known as the FactoryTalk® InnovationSuite, powered by PTC.
Rockwell Automation has been a global force in industrial automation, attempting to expand what is possible via the transformational potential of technology. Rockwell has been exploring the convergence sweet spot of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), with an increasing focus on the interconnectedness between traditional, legacy IT systems and increasing Industrial Control Systems (ICS) operational environments.
InnovationSuite combines the machine learning-driven analytical insights of Rockwell Automation FactoryTalk® Analytics™, existing precision manufacturing execution system (MES) frameworks known as FactoryTalk® ProductionCentre, Vuforia AR augmented reality capabilities, and the ThingWorx IIoT platform, powered by PTC, built on Microsoft’s powerful Azure cloud infrastructure, to provide the ideal foundation to build the Connected Enterprise.
InnovationSuite’s robust stable of enterprise solutions aims to put the value back into the value chain, by supplying the critical, role-based tools to overcome legacy issues such as outmoded equipment, skills gap among an aging workforce, and the constant challenge to single out, and to manage, the pertinent data needed to meet ever-changing consumer expectations.
The leveraging of the InnovationSuite can lead to powerful results including transforming operations entirely, facilitating knowledge transfer between outgoing and incoming staff, as well as improving profitability, workforce productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. The Suite works across all interconnected smart devices, machinery, and produces validated, real-time, actionable intelligence to address a variety of different business needs.
Digital Workforce Productivity
For example, if experienced and skilled employees are exiting the organization and are being replaced by new talent, managers can harness Digital Workforce Productivity to empower new staff with analytics aimed at heightening productivity and quality, while lowering compliance and safety risks.
Enterprise Operational Intelligence
Customization of inventory, rising operational costs, and delays in the production schedule could adversely affect getting products to market on time, and could dramatically shrink profits. InnovationSuite’s Enterprise Operational Intelligence can supply comprehensive performance management and visibility to enable cost reductions, while simultaneously strengthening the agility and flexibility of interconnected manufacturing networks.
Besides widescale monitoring and performance management across the entire factory floor, Enterprise Operational Intelligence can use sophisticated performance-tracking analytics to further optimize IT/OT networks, or identify additional service line or automation potential via advanced augmented reality (AR) technology.
Intelligent Asset Optimization
The paradoxical pursuit of maintaining (and in many cases, increasing) product quality and complexity, while striving to reduce costs, can be more efficiently tackled with Intelligent Asset Optimization. This utilizes machine learning to provide real-time monitoring, diagnostics, and predictive and prescriptive analytics, which can be vital in maximizing asset utilization in the present — while offering predictive maintenance suggestions and remote maintenance access in the future.
Scalable Production Management
Mass product personalization orders mean that manufacturers have to respond to market circumstances quickly and be more agile, yet the demands on quality are higher than ever. To avoid losing out on market share to increasing global competition, manufacturers must adhere to strict product control and quality testing standards, without resulting in delayed production schedules and mounting work in progress.
Scalable Production Management can enable powerful processing structures and dynamic floor scheduling to help to achieve periodic inventory cost reductions, scalable improvements in quality and output, and an accelerated time-to-market.
On ThingWorx IIoT platform, existing MES systems will be augmented with visibility and flexibility, accompanied by AI-activated predictive tools to fine-tune and plan ahead. Every stage of the production and supply journey is informed by insights-driven business intelligence to allow any IIoT-enabled organization to experience ultimate connectivity.
To find out more about unifying and drawing more value from the OT/IT confluence, speak to a representative from Rockwell Automation today.
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