Hitachi Vantara: making intelligent manufacturing happen
Hitachi Vantara is, in the words of Dev Ramchandani, Senior Director and Head of Global Manufacturing Consulting, “a global technology leader and a catalyst for sustainable societal change. We respond to global dynamic changes with insight and agility. Our unique approach helps deliver sustainable measurable business results and a better consulting experience.”
Ramchandani insists that while Industry 4.0 has been a buzzword, there are now material successes to point to. He breaks down the Hitachi Vantara view into three key areas. One: “We need to start with a business outcome or a business driven approach, not a technology driven approach. So we need to have the business objective in mind and then go ahead and identify the relevant technologies, which will help us achieve that.” Two: “We need to reimagine operations. We need to keep thinking of the technical limit in our minds, because that is what we are headed to. We need to figure out how we can disrupt the current cycle and reach there.” And three: “People. This calls for a different skill set and we need to nurture people.”
In what he calls the “five-box model” – process, mindsets, capabilities, technology, data – Ramchandani sets out his blueprint for the company’s approach to “sustainable behavioural change”, leading to sustainable impact.
Hitachi Vantara is one of RPG’s most important partnerships, and Ramchandani calls the experience of working with the manufacturing group a “pleasure”. “We at Hitachi have a very keen focus on harmony, sincerity and pioneering spirit, and these three elements are ingrained in RPG as well. Given the values were aligned, it has been an excellent journey working together.”
Two other key ingredients in the relationship are a win-win mentality and open and trust based communication.
“Values make a strong base,” Ramchandani notes, “but apart from that two other elements worth mentioning are a win-win mindset because between Hitachi and RPG it was never ‘I’m okay, you’re not okay’. That’s never going to work at all. At any given point in this partnership we have been thinking about a win-win mindset. How do we make each other successful? That has always been at the back of our minds. The second aspect, which is very critical, is open and trust-based communication. There are things which can go as-per plan, or not go according to plan. As long as we have open and trust-based communication, you can work around and find alternatives. But if that’s missing it’s very difficult to work together.”
That journey has been marked by a focus on ‘intelligent manufacturing’ leveraging a combination of business excellence methodologies, such as Lean, TPM and TQM, and technological enhancements like IoT, predictive and prescriptive analytics to better address the challenges of waste, variability and inflexibility across four key dimensions Ramchandani collectively refers to as “4M” (man, machine, material and method).
“I would say intelligent manufacturing for us is to find the next S-curve of operational excellence across the dimensions of SQPCDM (safety, quality, productivity, costs, delivery and morale). We go about doing that by addressing waste variability and flexibility. These are the core challenges, so we address waste variability and inflexibility across all the 4M dimensions. Each of these has some inherent waste variability and flexibility, so we try to address that in order to achieve the next S-curve of operational excellence.”
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.