Beyond the IoT Hype

By Gordon Feller, Director & Consultant, Cisco Systems and Founder for Meeting of the Minds. org, Executive Advisor & Moderator for IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)

Gordon Feller, Director & Consultant, Cisco Systems and Founder for Meeting of the Minds. org, Executive Advisor & Moderator for IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)Gordon Feller, Director & Consultant, Cisco Systems and Founder for Meeting of the Minds. org, Executive Advisor & Moderator for IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)

Manufacturing plants are running at a much higher capacity utilization than ever before. Often, it is a 24-hour a day, seven days a week operation. With downtime costing plants up to US$20,000 a minute, they cannot afford disruption to their processes. In fact, a single occurrence can cost a plant upwards of US$2 million.

Manufacturers face multiple challenges. They need increased flexibility in their manufacturing process to meet their evolving consumer demand and global landscape. They have continued pressure to keep up with ramping demands with limited CapEx spend, and in many cases they must rely on their existing resources and assets. They need better access to data to make informed decisions on where to invest. These companies want access to leading-edge experts for their operations, with limited resources and aging workforce issues.

"IoT is one part of a much bigger transition that’s been happening for a long time in manufacturing"

Those responsible for the firm’s operations have a tremendous opportunity to improve productivity, quality and flexibility through more effective connectivity and information flow between all of the various data-generating and data-consuming devices, processes, systems and people within the organization. Consider the make-up of the manufacturing infrastructure: over 50 percent of the devices connected to industrial applications are not automation devices. One can’t merely focus on connecting to specialized devices; we need solutions that seamlessly connect all devices reliably and securely.

IoT is one part of a much bigger transition that’s been happening for a long time in manufacturing. More “things” on the plant floor are being connected using technology that powers the Internet.

Things (machines of all kinds, and even non-machines) are being embedded with smart sensors and gaining the ability to communicate. These are not just sensors for measurement of temperature, pressure, etc. Sensors can be almost anything. For example, a camera can be a sensor, and it can be useful for monitor movement, quality, temperatures via infrared – making for a more intelligent manufacturing environment.

Input Output (IO) devices on the plant floor are becoming more intelligent, which means they can generate and transmit more insights, in real time and, benefit from the diagnostic data created by the sensors.

Connectivity is going deeper on the plant floor, well beyond the plant controllers, and on to the plant’s other assets, such as robots.

More IP devices including video cameras, scanners, diagnostics tools, and even personal mobile devices

These connected “things” become the tools for better understanding all of the factory’s complex processes -- and then using that knowledge to more quickly adapt to change. Smarter machines can be better controlled, thereby increasing efficiency. This is what’s come to be called “plant-wide optimization”.

When it’s a success, IoT is a combination of connectivity with real time analytics and new cloud services. The result can include an increase in manufacturing output, higher uptimes, more flexible manufacturing, and lower costs from the consolidation of siloed systems and proprietary networks

Securing the architecture from attacks is becoming more important as more of the plant floor devices get connected. Connecting the plant floor to the whole enterprise is, of course, a noble goal, but it does mean that an escalating number of operations can become the focus of an attack. Reducing risk in today’s largely unprotected plants is the direct result of leveraging new security solutions.

Those advocating for IoT inside the factory are looking for some key goals:

Lower Total Cost of Ownership: A single network architecture and open standards help eliminate the costs associated with multiple isolated networks and proprietary systems.

Improve Operational Responsiveness: Deeper insight into operations and real-time collaboration between manufacturing, engineering and suppliers improve decision quality and helps manufacturers quickly and efficiently adapt to changing business requirements and supply chain management needs.

Reduce Time to Market: By replacing a multi-tier networking strategy with one standard network architecture, OEMs can reduce the time it takes to design, develop and deliver machines. Manufacturers, meanwhile, can reduce their time to market with fewer integration risks and better visibility into data.

Protect Critical Manufacturing Systems: Develop a comprehensive security model – all while enabling secure information visibility and access between production.

The Chairman of Daimler AG, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, said that the pace of acceleration in manufacturing is changing so quickly that he expects see more changes on the factory floor in the next 10 years than he’s seen in the last 100 years.

If you look at the movement toward smart manufacturing, many leading companies are deploying new, more intelligent, connected machines driving significant output and productivity gains as substantial as previous industrial revolutions like the steam engine, it’s a pretty exciting time in manufacturing.

Today, we’re going to talk about Internet of Things as a key enabler in manufacturing, not just trends, but some concrete solutions, use cases you can deploy to help you get started in capturing some of that value.

If you look at what’s connected today, you can see the passing an inflection point near the beginning of this century. Since then we’ve seen a huge upswing in the number of connections.

We estimate that about 2percent of what can be connected is connected today. By 2020, there will be 50 billion smart objects connected. That will affect every business.

This has been a trend for many years and is passing an inflection point. It’s changed cars as they become connected vehicles; it’s changed TVs as they connect to the Internet; it’s changing many other consumer products, as well.

IoT’s biggest impacts are showing up on the business side of a company’s life. This means that manufacturers who leverage IoT can improve core processes in business enterprises, much as the first generation of the Internet led to transformations, such as ecommerce and e-fulfillment that saved billions of dollars for customers.

The Internet’s next generation is seeing the move from PCs to mobile devices and robots and sensors and this will, likewise, transform business again.

Inside the factory, IoT is building smart new connections. The journey goes from an unconnected factory with proprietary serial islands to a connected one with flexible, multi-capability platforms. This can sometimes be a very daunting process, with so many moving parts and people to coordinate.

In Phase 1:

the unmanaged, unconverged network establishes a base network


environment, allowing for richer sensor data to be acquired. Although this phase remains siloed, and lacks security, the model does connect devices to a common infrastructure.

In Phase 2:

network convergence is introduced, which improves visibility into the plant, and also introduces cost savings through production visibility. Siloed networks are converged into a common plant infrastructure.

In Phase 3:

This is when it’s best to introduce a flexible, multi-capability network environment. Critical services such as security, mobility and other collaborative services are then integrated into the overall plant network, allowing for real-time access to both production and business data and needs.

By converging previously siloed sensors, machines, cells, and zones, IoT-powered factory automation systems help integrate manufacturing systems and business systems, bringing everything online on a single network. This provides flexibility to quickly adapt to changes, whether new product introductions, planned product line change-overs, or other adjustments. Each affected zone, from the enterprise to the plant floor, gets real-time alerts about changes through networked mobile devices, video monitors, and Human/Machine Interfaces (HMIs). Real-time information also links back to the entire supply chain, so each step in the manufacturing value chain from supply through to distribution can quickly respond as needed.

These are the components in the ideal suite of solutions — and they work well together, in this fashion:

-- factory wireless solutions create new flexible communication opportunities between things, machines, databases, and people throughout the plant. From asset tracking to visibility of automation controls and HMIs, a wireless network environment in the shop floor can increase productivity and production speed.

-- factory security solutions work with factory automation systems to create plant security for both digital and physical assets. You get detailed control of plant network access by user, device, and location.

-- factory energy management solutions enable intelligent IoT applications, such as analytic engines that communicate with machine sensors, to stream detailed operational data between the plants and higher-level systems. This provides real-time visibility into valuable energy use information.

What is the business value of a connected factory? The persistent problems created by inflexible production lines show up when it takes weeks to reconfigure a production line. When companies deploy factory automation solutions they can build products on any production line. Debugging goes from hours to minutes, increasing operational efficiency.

Factory wireless solutions helps solve issues like long search times to find parts or the cost of cabling and needing to rewire, which lowers operating costs. Factory Security is critical and our identity-based access and secure remote monitoring lower risk and allow new business models. Companies struggle with energy costs, but if they can’t get any data about energy usage, how can they meet requirements or regulations? Factory Energy helps to lower energy costs.

Factory automation systems includes rapid fault isolation, more flexible manufacturing, great resiliency, and greater ease of use. Ease of use is particularly important at 3 in the morning when a malfunction occurs. Look at the difference experienced by an operator on the floor who's able to identify the issue, pull a device from storage room, and just plug it in. Contrast that with needing to production down for several hours, trying to get the right expertise at that time….this difference can translate into lasting savings of bottom-line dollars.

Multiple use cases from controls visibility to wireless tooling to asset tagging and mobile video. A number of products are making for a more seamless factory floor experience.

Connected factory automation solutions are not just about connecting these automated systems, but binding these systems together and moving to converged platforms. This enables better visibility and faster diagnostics that can concretely reduce downtime and new business models like flexible manufacturing. Some users report lasting productivity gains, including 5X improvement in build-to-order cycle times—allowing them to go from months to weeks. Practically speaking, it means they can troubleshoot not just switches, but all of the plant floor devices. Finding the root causes of a problem faster, versus spending hours trying to find out where there is a problem. One manufacturer had a line card that went bad—but because they didn’t have visibility, they started pulling line cards and other things, and wound up with 10 hours of downtime. This was something they should have (and could have) identified and fixed in minutes.

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