Contextualising knowledge: improving operational decisions with enhanced data visualisation
Extracting maximum value from manufacturing assets needs the adoption of best practices and the use of innovative technology. However, it is the skill and expertise of its workforce that ultimately determines successful outcomes.
Manufacturers are familiar with the importance of capturing, processing and analysing plant data – essentially contextualising knowledge from the plant. Putting people into context is equally important. One of the primary manufacturing executions systems (MES) functions is to provide the real-time and manufacturing intelligence to stakeholders - from the plant floor through to the boardroom - allowing them to see the bigger production picture and take appropriate strategic actions that impact the success of business performance.
MES software provides intuitive display graphics that helps manufacturers to make timely and crucial operational decisions that can optimise performance of assets, drive greater profitability and meet customer expectations.
The culture of improvement
Operational excellence relies on the alignment of key functions to help grow the business. With thousands of veterans also on the verge of retirement, the process industries face a crisis due to shortfall of vital skills. Crucially, the ability to unite people, processes and technology is essential to ensure the seamless transfer of knowledge and support a sustainable and profitable business for future generations.
Shifting corporate culture towards greater alignment requires executive leadership to reinforce the importance of collaboration. However, motivation is only part of the strategy. The initiative demands that there is a transparent continuous assessment of processes that meets KPIs on an individual, departmental and group level. Integrating all areas of the business avoids silo practices and ensures that communication is timely, accurate and relevant.
The transition to better data management, design and control systems is essential to achieve sustainable results. MES delivers efficient data management, improved production execution and enhanced performance management enabling process manufacturers to quickly access their business intelligence and turn data into profit. aspenONE Process Explorer (a1PE) from AspenTech is a web application for monitoring real-time process information, as well as historized data from Aspen InfoPlus.21 and a variety of other data sources. Engineers responsible for several units in the plant can respond quickly to a disturbance and with a1PE they can choose between desktop, laptop, tablets and smartphones, so they are always in touch with their production data, anytime and anywhere. In the latest release, a1PE intelligently helps to provide context that drives effective analysis, builds asset hierarchies that simplify monitoring and diagnostics, as well as expanding batch and event visualisation. With dynamic gauges, dials and other dashboard elements, operations can deliver performance dashboards that are lightning-fast and quickly convey important information in one platform.
The advantages of a1PE include:
· Searches across a wide set of data sources and content types, including production records, alarms, graphics, trends, ad hoc tag lists and comments to locate all pertinent information
· Looks at data by production segment, event or batch within a single tool
· Events are flexible and users can plot periods of time where operators have placed comment markers or where alarms exist
· Gives mobile workers, managers and executives access to current production information on their laptops, desktop, tablet or smartphone with a true thin client solution
· Produces dashboards tailored for different users’ needs within minutes
· Understands batch variability more easily; over time, within batch and batch-to-batch
· Supports knowledge sharing and collaboration
Empowering people with the right tools, processes and procedures will embolden staff to make calculated and timely decisions that can identify and resolve the root causes of problems quickly to keep the operation performing to plan. Maximising manufacturing output improves operations by 10 percent to 30 percent through increased throughput, reduced bottlenecks and improved work flow by easy-to-use modelling and analysis capabilities. Payback can usually be seen within six months of implementing MES tools that deliver benefits both at plant floor level and to executive decision-makers.
A workforce that adopts best practice and utilises advanced, integrated MES software can optimise all aspects of the operation to achieve maximum return for the business. Gaining greater visibility into plant behaviour and seeing the overall production picture allows staff to make better decisions affecting production.
MES efficiently aggregates process, production and business information into a cohesive context with fast data discovery tools, automated workflow and order tracking, as well as extensive analytical, notification and visualisation capabilities. Covering all aspects of the ISA-S95 activity model, manufacturers are able to easily exchange real-time information between the shop floor and the rest of the enterprise to create actionable intelligence and optimise manufacturing excellence. Putting all of these benefits into context - the end result is lower operating costs, reduced variability and improved asset utilisation optimising bottom line profitability.
By Robert Golightly, MES, Products, AspenTech
Follow @ManufacturingGL and @NellWalkerMG
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.