Harnessing edge computing for better factory data management
The future of factory data management with edge computing
With 74% of operational data being acquired, analysed, and acted on inside the factory, IDC Research and Lumen Technologies report that “edge computing approaches put data processing and storage closer to the network edge where people, processes and items in motion reside.”
Manufacturers looking to gain a competitive advantage need to ensure they are continuously improving their process efficiency, which IDC Research and Lumen Technologies say data plays a key part in.
Alongside data, edge computing also plays an essential role in process efficiency by connecting operational data and assets, complementing cloud computing and IoT.
"In manufacturing, a company cannot have a cloud strategy without an edge strategy. Edge computing can address the latency, reliability, and security requirements of industrial operations while opening the world of possibilities that remote connectivity offers. Edge computing use cases can increase Industry 4.0 maturity and support the resilient decision-making necessary to thrive in today's markets,” said Jonathan Lang, Research Manager, Worldwide IT/OT Convergence Strategies, IDC.
The benefits of edge computing
With this technology manufacturers can monitor overall equipment effectiveness across the factory floor via IOT and smart sensors. Coupling this with predictive maintenance tools, manufacturers can detect and fix potential problems before they occur.
In addition to this edge computing can enable manufacturers to track and increase visibility across the supply chain, procurement, and inventory management in real time.
“The industrial environment is changing faster than ever, and manufacturing resiliency relies on data for rapid and effective decisions. Edge computing will play an important role in any manufacturer's connectivity strategy in part to manage essential data,” said IDC Research and Lumen Technologies.
First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector
First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV.
Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’.
A Bit of Background
First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules.
The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about.
How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?
Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’.
After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’.
According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin.