Bosch: the value of connectivity in manufacturing facilities
In recent months, the impact of COVID-19 has hightent the value that organisations can gain from having connected manufacturing and logistics operations. The internet of things (IoT) has helped manufacturers to react quicker and with increased flexibility, providing real time analysis and transparency along the supply chain.“Connectivity makes companies less vulnerable and helps them keep an even keel,” commented Rolf Najork, the member of the Bosch board of management for industrial technology.
With the capabilities of industry 4.0, connected solutions can help to make manufacturing and logistics simpler, more efficient, flexible and robust. Some of the ways the industry is applying this technology to tackle operational challenges due lockdown regulations include: digital shift handovers where physical proximity is a challenge, as well as remote monitoring and remote maintenance of systems and machines, and the use of intelligent software to track goods and deliveries.
Priding itself as a pioneer in IoT, Bosch has been adopting connectivity solutions within its manufacturing and logistics as well as its customers since 2012.
Increasing factory productivity
Bosch believes that in a factory of the future, the only things that are static are the floors, walls and ceilings. A factory of the future will have the capability to continuously reinvent itself to suit the requirements, with a vision to have a set up that can adapt and produce different products and variants without the need for expensive retrofitting. With this approach it is possible to increase a factory productivity with industry 4.0 by up to 25%.
“Connectivity is essential for any company that wants to stay competitive. Industry 4.0 is a historic opportunity, offering enormous potential,” Najork says. “We are not only improving factory productivity, but also enabling companies to respond quickly and appropriately to changes.”
Individual projects vs. large scale implementations
In the organisation's home country - Germany - six out of 10 industrial companies that have more than 100 employees are using industry 4.0 capabilities, according to Bitkom. However, in many cases these are only partial implementations, with 80% of the country’s existing machinery yet to be digitalised. “There’s still a lot more we can do in manufacturing, and many points we can tweak and adjust. Our task now is to make Industry 4.0 the norm in all parts of the manufacturing sector,” Najork says.
As a leader in IoT capabilities, Bosch’s portfolio includes software packages for maintenance, monitoring, and logistics, robotics systems for manufacturing and transport, retrofit solutions for existing machinery, and assistance systems for machine operators.
In a recent debut, the company is introducing a software based 5G control technology that is compatible with third part applications. Known as ctrlX Automation, the technology is said to mark the end of isolated solutions in factories.
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Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.