May 16, 2020

Smart manufacturing: The new industrial revolution

Smart Manufacturing
Data
Big Data
manufacturing technolog
Glen White
4 min
Smart manufacturing: The new industrial revolution
A new wave of information technology known as smart manufacturing could be about to transform the industry, and many of the worlds manufacturing powerho...

A new wave of information technology known as smart manufacturing could be about to transform the industry, and many of the world’s manufacturing powerhouses are driving the movement at an extraordinary pace.

For example, in March, IBM announced it will spend $3 billion in the next four years to create an “Internet of Things” unit and develop software to help customers do the same, taking advantage of a paradigm of embedded, intra-machine connectivity, enabling machines (including everyday appliances) to communicate with one another and to adjust, without human assistance, to changing conditions.

So what is smart manufacturing? In essence, it uses embedded sensors and integrated software to collect plant operations and supply chain data, analyse that data and drive real-time improvements in production, procurement and processes. It has been hailed the “New Industrial Revolution” by some industry observers, and yet many small and medium sized companies are largely missing out on the benefits of smart technology.

Smart manufacturing benefits

For the companies that embrace it, smart manufacturing has the potential to:

  • Trigger innovation and productivity;
  • Enable and spur growth;
  • Facilitate greater worker and product safety;
  • Improve the environmental profile of operations;
  • Increase efficiency;
  • Lower product defects;
  • Increase customer satisfaction.

Waste management

By driving efficiency throughout the manufacturing process, smart technology helps eliminate waste. Better scheduling prevents idle machines and manpower; optimized runs shrink water and energy use; and fewer human errors divert from landfills wasted raw materials and spoiled finished product.

Enhanced communication

Other ways smart technology improves the supply chain include enhancing communication to facilitate planning and helping manufacturers react to events in real time.

Yet, the majority of companies are not embracing smart manufacturing. Manufacturing Global asks ‘why not?’

Capital costs

Companies must find ways to overcome those hurdles — or face the prospect of battling competitors who have — likely within the decade. Most existing manufacturing equipment has at least some viable capacity. Many small and medium sized factories are running older, one-size-fits-all enterprise software systems that are “expensive to use … and buy,” as William P. King, chief technology officer of DMDII, explained at a recent Forbes roundtable “The Digital Factory.” In the future, these companies can benefit from deploying less expensive, individualized, modular software, allowing engineers to assemble tailored, factory-fit solutions.

There will be new capital equipment costs but most manufacturing equipment can be retrofitted with external sensors and computing equipment, connecting the formerly segregated factory floor with an outrigger of notebook computers and control towers.

Human resources

Of course, smart manufacturing isn’t just about equipment. Leaders must also rethink the way they hire and organize workers. Rather than being grouped and siloed by job title, the cross-referential and collaborative nature of smart manufacturing calls for multidisciplinary, outcomes-based teams organized around optimizing tasks and processes. Finding appropriately tech-savvy employees for these teams could be a challenge, as already some 2 million manufacturing positions may go unfilled in the next decade, in part because of a skills gap for younger workers.

Phasing IT in

“For most manufacturers, embracing smart manufacturing will happen in phases. We know many manufacturers choose to implement capital improvements over time, generating performance gains that, in turn, help pay for future investments. Yet having a holistic overview and a structured plan for implementation is paramount and will prevent wasted effort and investment. Using a customized automation solution designed to work together with processing and packaging equipment can allow manufacturers to gain omniscience and control of their plants. This type of technology also gives them the power to secure product quality, prevent food safety problems and quickly track and trace any rare incidents that do occur back to the source.

“It’s a sound strategy and a path forward-thinking company leaders have within their power, if they can muster the will. Manufacturers who create comprehensive and realistic implementation strategies and begin to act now can stay decisively ahead of the competition, reaping the benefits of the smart manufacturing future and paving the way for sustained and profitable growth,” says Brian Kennell, President and CEO of Tetra Pak US and Canada. 

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Jun 17, 2021

Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router

Siemens
5G
IIoT
Data
3 min
Siemens’ first industrial 5G router, the Scalancer MUM856-1, is now available and will revolutionise the concept of remote control in industry

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). 

Siemens presents its first industrial 5G router.
Siemens presents the Scalance MUM856-1.

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

 

5G Now

“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.

 

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