Technological innovation will revive manufacturing sector for Industry 4.0
The 2016 Annual Manufacturing Report, published by Hennik Research, has revealed that British manufacturers are predominantly optimistic about the future of the sector. The fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming the manufacturing and construction landscape with the aid of technologies like automation, sensors, and 3D printing that produce higher efficiency, reduced costs, and faster speed to market. Companies must decide to either adopt these innovations or face the prospect of being left behind.
According to Nitin Rakesh, CEO and President of digital modernisation firm Syntel: “The digital age has disrupted many different aspects of manufacturing, from research and development, to marketing and sales. Businesses cannot afford to put production on hold in order to modernise, but must transform their manufacturing processes in order to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment.”
The report states that 83 percent of companies have implemented a form of automation in their production process over the past five years. The few companies which did not automate their technology systems cited financial considerations as an inhibitor, with 54 percent fearing that return on investment would be too slow to materialise, while 31 percent were unable to accommodate the investment in their budget, being concerned about ongoing costs.
“Financial pressures in the manufacturing sector are prompting organisations to re-assess how they use technology in their manufacturing operations, to determine how they can best modernise their systems in order to maintain a competitive edge,” said Rakesh. “Cost-conscious businesses need to realize that their long-term run-the-business costs will be higher without the proper technology infrastructure in place.”
The report revealed key factors prompting manufacturers to invest in automation. 78 percent were driven by increased efficiency, 60 percent by cycle time and 58 percent by quality. Factory managers are deploying new supply-network management tools, which support them in planning operations and deliveries by gaining a better understanding of the flow of raw materials and products.
Rakesh points to modernising and automating back-end support systems as a key driver that can enable manufacturers to cut costs and improve efficiency.
“The digital revolution has reached the factory floor,” said Rakesh. “Investments in IoT-enabled machinery and connected devices now enable manufacturers to harness data from these assets to optimise factory operations.”
“The insights available allow organisations to monitor the input, boost their output and maintain a high level of quality control. Through integrated sensor and automation technology, organisations are positioned to make more effective decisions in other areas such as finance, product design and distribution.”
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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.