IIoT: Transforming the traditional manufacturing processes


Vineet Jain,
Business Head – Telecontrol, WAGO Pvt Ltd
IIoT in true sense will revolutionised the traditional manufacturing processes by putting practices such as Big Data, machine-to-machine communication, machine learning, sensor data and automation into collaborative action.

Future look for IIoT in manufacturing
Digitalisation concepts, like Industry 4.0 in production, can create the necessary flexibility. Queries, which were previously processed in different machines and systems, will in the future be autonomously answered by a “system of systems,” the network of product, process and resources. What should be produced in what amounts? Are replacement parts or materials needed? When should the delivery occur? This can even go a step further: In the factory of the future, all components in the production chain will be able to autonomously communicate with one another – across locations. The goal is networked production that is faster, more efficient, and more flexible, enabling individualised products while retaining high quality. The classic automation pyramid using conventional central controllers is gradually disappearing.

Vineet Jain, Business Head – Telecontrol, WAGO Pvt Ltd, informs, “Smart machineries enabled with connected systems can collect and analyse data to gain improved visibility of production performance resulting in maximised productivity, reduction of waste and intelligent alignment of resources.”

He adds, “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in true sense will revolutionised the traditional manufacturing processes by putting practices such as Big Data, machine-to-machine communication, machine learning, sensor data and automation into collaborative action. Leveraging connected systems, companies can then achieve operational excellence, increase productivity, gain competitive edge and open new revenue streams.”

Researchers suggest that with acceptance of IIoT as an operational discipline, number of connected devices in 2020 will cross 20 billion mark. Manufacturing set-ups will have their own share in this increase with 70 per cent of companies using connected products to capture, analyse and report relevant data.
A recent report suggests that IIoT could help manufacturers by 10 per cent more profitable than those who have not adopted it. In a sector so heavily focused on productivity and performance, it is difficult to ignore these numbers.

Industries that will drive IIoT adoption
It will be unfair to state that only specific industries will reap advantages of IIoT revolution. Any company that is looking for accelerated efficiency and flexibility of operations integrated to market dynamics can benefit from IIoT enabled processes and systems. Though manufacturing sector is embracing the Industrial Internet at different speeds depending on the market, industry and internal processes maturity, it is imperative for some of the industries to shorten their IIoT implementation lifecycle timeline.

The first in line would be process industry as it has greater pressure of achieving operational efficiencies and cost reduction through energy monitoring and flexible operations apart from stringent regulatory requirements. Supply chain transparency with serialisation and traceability require robust process control technology and data visibility making connected systems a necessity. Oil and gas, food and beverages and pharma industries will be the quickest to adopt smart manufacturing with IIoT.

WAGO’s preparedness in the area of IIoT
WAGO is an enabler to the manufacturing industry in achieving their IIoT goals. Industry 4.0 and Big Data open up unexpected possibilities for manufacturers and lay the ground work for promising business models. Flexible and intelligent technical solutions that collect data at the field level and provide it to the centrally accessible location will establish this foundation. These solutions are the object of increasing attention for linking machine-to-machine communication, as well as networking machines with the entire organisation in order to process and analyse newly gained information density. This is the only means for actually leveraging the new optimisation potentials – and creating added value.

On the other hand, the cloud is an essential technological “enabler” of Industry 4.0 and IIoT, providing in expensive and easily scalable computing and storage capacities beyond one’s own IT systems. It is a central component of the required technological infrastructure – the “technology stacks.” After all, every smart product in the “Internet of Things” has three core elements in common: a physical component (mechanical or electronic parts), intelligent components (sensors, processors, or control units), and networking components (ports or antennas). This triad opens up completely new application possibilities: for example, products that monitor themselves and their surroundings, provide insights into usage and features, and can be controlled by the user through remote access, for example, via mobile devices, This combination in turn offers the potential for optimisation and potential for further automation, because ad hoc adjustments are also possible due to remote maintenance.

Consequently, the equation reads: Data control + remote control + optimisation = automation. WAGO’s PFC family of controllers form the link between the real and digital worlds. With their PFC controllers, WAGO offers harmonised software solutions, services and platforms, that users will need in the future. This includes the decentralised data acquisition at the field level and automation, as well as providing data via the cloud to facilitate new data-driven business models. Cloud connectivity solutions from WAGO, like the PFC100 and PFC200 with MQTT interfaces, provide a sufficiently high security standard and a secure path to the cloud, for production and elsewhere.

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