The FIFA World Cup brings out the competitive instincts of sports fans across the globe. The strategies, styles, skills and depth of teams around the globe are tested and validated like no other sporting event. How much training and practice does it take to play at that elite level? If you have participated as a coach or parent for your children’s soccer teams, you must appreciate the long journey these players and teams have been on to reach the pinnacle of their sport! Training, team building, and ‘play’ experience are all key factors for teams to achieve their goals whether on the soccer field or even the plant floor if you are thinking about transforming your industrial productivity.
For industrial plants today, a new competition is underway to produce faster, better and smarter than the other ‘teams’ around the globe. A key strategy involves enabling more teamwork, better decision making, and faster, more agile response by connecting people, processes, data and things in new ways. This market transition is referred to with varying names such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything, and Industry 4.0. One key aspect is how to best leverage the advantages of Internet Protocol (IP) which underpins so much of this wired and wireless connectivity – a new Industrial IP World Cup!
The linkage between technology and future growth is strong. As McKinsey & Company characterizes, for western economies the growth of GDP will only come from the “do it smarter” companies that build a better business model.
As a result we see that many process and discrete Industrial Automation systems are undergoing dramatic transformations and adopting new strategies for industrial Ethernet. Many companies are transitioning to Ethernet connected controllers, computers, high speed motion control, cameras and power electronics. Every day, 160,000 new industrial Ethernet nodes are connected (I.H.S. Global/IMS Research). And there are estimates that 100% of plant floor devices will be providing data as soon as 2018.
Many of us have had to deal with harsh winter conditions in the US over the last couple months which sometimes requires working from home. With mobile devices and high speed internet, our connections to co-workers and plants can continue in spite of adverse conditions. For today’s manufacturing plants, the amount of connected people, plants, data and things is growing exponentially and these connections need to perform reliably no matter the environmental conditions.
Cisco estimates that 50 billion new IP connections to be installed by 2022 will unlock trillions of dollars of business value for manufacturing. Cisco research estimates that only 4% of devices on the manufacturing floor are connected to a network. Thus, there is a huge industry push to connect all the islands of information that stand in the way of Internet of Things value creation. The challenges of deployment though are also very real – no one can afford to gamble on reliability or performance of their critical manufacturing processes and risk downtime or worse.
At the recent Rockwell Automation Fair, in Houston, TX many of the 10,000 attendees learned about the Connected Enterprise, its importance in realizing the value of the Internet of Things, and how Industrial IP is providing a common platform to boost productivity, efficiency and flexibility.
Attendees of the Process Solutions Users Group also learned how companies are using innovation to transform the Energy industry, including techniques such as front-end engineering design (FEED), to reduce deployment time as much as 50%, with reduced costs and risk. If you were not able to attend the show, Controlglobal.com has a nice summary here.
It’s a sign of something ongoing in the marketplace, the aging of equipment and technologies and the drive to gain productivity by better connecting systems as upgrades occur.
Hello and welcome to the first entry of the Industrial Automation Solutions blog. We are looking forward to engaging you with perspectives of industry trends and business drivers. We hope to discuss ideas and insights around industrial network and control systems infrastructure that can help you leverage latest technologies and design methodologies, to help you improve the effectiveness of your operations and increase your business agility and competitiveness.
Internet of Things (IoT) Infographic (courtesy of www.industrial-ip.org)
One of the biggest challenges faced by companies today is the ageing and obsolescence of operational systems and networks. Continue reading →