Increase Visibility with Industry 4.0
It’s all about connectivity and remote visibility with Matthew Jennings, Regional President for the Americas at Bosch Software Innovations. Jennings sat down with IMTSTV at the [MC]2 Conference to share the latest on Industry 4.0.
Unlike Industry 3.0, which focused on programmable logic controllers and other network technologies on the shop floor, Industry 4.0 is focused on connecting these controllers and assets for true remote visibility into machine operation and maintenance. One of the biggest advantages to connected manufacturing with Industry 4.0 is visibility. Jennings explains, “The benefits are really allowing you to have one central location to manage, not only your operations, but also your maintenance, so you can actually use things for their full useful life.” Jennings talks a lot about preemptive maintenance and how Industry 4.0 allows for a more holistic overview of the manufacturing process, including the tangible, quantifiable benefit of having your machines connected.
The problem with connected manufacturing is getting manufacturers on board – not only with the concepts, but with the technology. Jennings says, “I recently read an article that reflected about 10% of manufacturers are connected. I think that’s an overstatement of what we actually see; it’s probably something far less than that.” Jennings is hopeful looking forward, noting how we are starting to see network devices and sensors with the ability to connect many more assets than before, and at a much lower cost, which will allow smaller companies to upgrade their technology without substantial overhead.
Having access to comprehensive manufacturing data is extremely valuable to any business enterprise, but now more than ever it’s important to have a business plan before jumping into connected manufacturing. First, you have to decide what business needs you are trying to solve and what impact you are trying to make by having this manufacturing data available. Second, you have to determine how you will make the connections to get this information and data. Finally, Jennings states, “You start to understand, how much data do I need, what data environment do I need, how much storage, what network am I going to proceed on, what network equipment do I need…you start to really build what that architecture looks like.” This will allow you to understand your costs moving forward, to then easily see how the relative cost and cost savings will help increase your ROI and your bottom line.
Jennings says that the most difficult obstacle to overcome in reaching the Industry 4.0 vision is having companies embrace the opportunity for connected, data-driven manufacturing. Many manufacturing organizations are static, doing minimal amounts of machine replacement and upgrading to more logic and intelligent systems. Jennings says, “It needs to evolve to the point where machine manufacturers are adding logic to that equipment to allow it to communicate and allow the appropriate data to be generated. And then also the ability to have platforms, like the Bosch platform, enabled to be able to pull that data off the shop floor and be able to process that data.”
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