Answers from an event for the manufacturing industry
Connectivity, cybersecurity, and Industry 4.0 were in the focus of an event on shopfloor connectivity, organised by Atos and EIT Manufacturing Central. These hot topics drew more than 50 participants to the Atos Business Technology & Innovation Centre in Munich.
Technology experts and partners of the Atos and EIT Manufacturing networks learned how to implement shopfloor connectivity securely and successfully from exciting keynotes and use case presentations. As the focus was not only on transferring knowledge but also on connecting experts, start-ups, consultants and clients, the networking opportunities after the event were made good use of.
What is shopfloor connectivity and why is it so relevant for manufacturing?
Shopfloor connectivity is the connection between assets like production plants and machines, which are provided with sensors to capture information. These sensor dates enable functions like machine learning, safety mechanisms in real time, digital twins, efficiency control and resource savings. All these functions build the foundation for a smart factory – a self-organising production environment in the sense of Industry 4.0.
However, reality is different, as there are inefficiencies in plants in all manufacturing companies. But efficient processes are particularly important nowadays, as not only the prices for electricity and gas are higher than ever before. Also, raw materials, auxiliary materials and operating materials as well as downtimes cause high costs.
This offers a huge potential: With the data captured in the machines, companies can analyse their production based on resulting insights and optimise their processes. Automated and in real time at its best, to react fast.
From fiddling 4.0 to industry 4.0
After a short welcome and introduction by Matthias Böhmer from Atos and Klaus Beetz from EIT Manufacturing, Johann Hofmann (https://www.johannhofmann.info/) from Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen introduced his „5 laws of nature of digitalisation“. With humorous statements like „instead of Industry 4.0 we have got more of fiddling 4.0“ he illustrated the five nature laws in an entertaining way. By following those guidelines every company can set the foundation for digitisation. Moreover, he offered a guide towards helping themselves.
Johann’s key message: There is no future for corporates without digitalisation. For this reason, he has developed a 35-steps-plan, which enables companies to successfully step out of the analogue world right into digital spheres.
Digitalising production processes is a highly complex topic. We can do it only if we work together as team Germany or actually team Europe. Otherwise, we will fall even further behind China and the US. That´s why this event was highly suitable to strengthen one’s network and to get to know other experts on digital topics.Johann Hofmann, founder of ValueFacturing at Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen
A picture is worth a thousand words. Virtual reality is worth a thousand pictures.
How can employees be trained on the shopfloor using augmented reality (AR), so that they do not need to sit in front of real machines? That is a question Vuframe and Procter & Gamble worked on. During an innovation project supported by EIT Manufacturing they developed a way to do online courses with virtualisation tools and 3D models.
Andreas Zeitler and Ralf Schmidt presented an exciting new technology using data from SAP to digitally display the machines via specific headsets and glasses – alternatively laptops or tablets. This technical solution supports employees in training on these virtual machines. In the future, this could also happen in virtual reality.
Think big. Start small. Scale fast.
Things became more technical in the keynotes by Atos experts Christian Spohn, Marco Eder and Fréderic Auburger. They presented a joint use case by Atos and Renault Group, where they connected shopfloor equipment to collect process and asset data. Atos then uses the data to build standardised process-data-models.
When all assets are connected, it is all about security. In this case, the two most important keywords are: Cybersecurity and protection of the operational technology (OT) – the tools for monitoring and controlling industrial machines, processes and events.
Finally, Václav Maixner and Jiří Koutný from DataSentics and Sebastian Sohl from Atos presented ways of implementing connectivity in practice for the so-called Factory 360. They showed how to use data from machines and processes together with artificial intelligence, to put use cases like quality inspection, demand forecast, green manufacturing as well as predictive maintenance and production into practice.
My recommendation for companies, who want to digitalise: Start with small steps. Ask your employees: Where does it hurt? Where do you feel waste? And then digitalise these processes together with your employees.Frank Paetow, Co-founder of 5thIndustry
Connectivity is the biggest challenge on the way to a smart factory
Before lunch and networking, the participants had the opportunity to learn more about four solution providers and their answers to the challenges addressed in the keynotes. Frank Paetow from 5thIndustry, Patrick Stoklasa from CloudRail, Michael Sinn from Flux MES and Georg Kroiss from Litmus brought their experiences to the discussion.
5thIndustry optimises the last mile on the shopfloor from order processing to quality management, from digital maintenance to safety at work. Via smartphone apps employees get everything they need to do their work. The software solutions can be integrated into existing IT-landscapes like Microsoft or AWS and enable improving the productivity as well as decreasing the cost for quality and IT.
CloudRail is a fully managed solution to capture data for industrial environments. It processes data on premise and sends it to any cloud afterwards. CloudRail uses industry standards like OPC UA to connect modern machines – old machines need to be expanded with suitable sensors. Moreover, CloudRail offers a cloud-based solution for device management, which allows companies to launch, maintain and update lots of edge devices, which are set up globally.
Flux MES offers a cloud-based Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for companies in the manufacturing industry, who got their own production locations and want to design their processes fast, easily and transparently. This system visualises data from machines and offers the most important reference numbers. Those numbers enable a better understanding of the production processes and their optimisation.
Litmus is an Industrial Edge Data Platform, which synergises machine connectivity, data intelligence and data integration in an entire Industry 4.0-solution. In this solution users can reassess and save all data from the production environment at one place. Companies benefit from this solution as they do not need to take care of less systems anymore. This leads to less effort for OT and IT, so that they can completely focus on their production. The data is now working – at the edge and in the cloud.
With those numerous approaches, the attendees got a few ideas on how they can meet the challenges of connectivity to make the first move towards connected manufacturing.
This event showed once more: Digitalisation needs to start on the shopfloor. Therefore, companies need to have a good quality in their master data and need to take care of them continuously. To meet these challenges, we´ve seen lots of interesting solutions today. I am very happy about these interesting approaches, and I am sure, that we will develop lots of further innovative ideas here in Germany – also in collaboration with other companies.Klaus Beetz, CEO of EIT Manufacturing
Atos is a global leader in digital transformation, cybersecurity, cloud and high-performance computing and a pioneer in decarbonisation services and products. The group provides tailored end-to-end solutions for all industries. Its expertise and services support the development of knowledge, education and research in a multicultural approach and contribute to the development of scientific and technological excellence.
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