A Smarter Approach to Building Machines

As a Recognised System Integrator for Rockwell Automation, Westbury are pleased to feature the following guest post from Chris Luecke, Account Manager, End User, Rockwell Automation.

As an account manager, I work with OEMs to collaborate on solving customer issues.

In the past, those expectations may not have been easy, but they were tangible – move through x products per hour, reduce energy usage by x percent.

Today, understanding customer expectations is becoming more complicated as the Internet of Things (IoT) reaches the plant floor.

IoT is a concept, not an easily implemented set of technologies. It can be difficult for OEMs to sort out the tangible how and why of incorporating this concept into their machines and equipment. But as end users change their priorities to reach smarter manufacturing goals, OEMs need to stay one step ahead.

As the ARC Advisory Group has stated, “Industrial IoT provides original equipment manufacturers with new visibility that enables value-added services, competitive advantage for product design, and revenue growth. Adoption is no longer an option.”1

They’re right. As more end users move to a Connected Enterprise, they’re looking for added value beyond machinery or equipment. They are expecting OEMs to help address their most pressing needs, including the following:

  • Global competitiveness: End users need to keep their business models relevant, and move from mass production to mass customisation.
  • Workforce needs: As workers retire and more connected technologies become available, end users need to manage the shortage of talent and skills available to fill those gaps.
  • Changing risks: End users need to manage security threats and achieve compliance with increasingly complex regulations.
  • New technologies: End users also need to merge the physical and digital worlds to capitalise on the value at stake provided by the IoT.

At the same time, customers still expect help optimising asset performance, maximising product quality and safety, and protecting workers and the environment. Smart machines and equipment can help OEMs meet all of these challenges by allowing:

  • Unprecedented access to data that has long been trapped inside the machine, which can be collected, logged and analyzed to help workers make better business decisions.
  • Greater connectivity, real-time collaboration and seamless data sharing across all levels of an organization’s enterprise via an open and standard network architecture, such as EtherNet/IP™.
  • Robust security to help protect intellectual property, physical and human assets, and the environment, as part of a defense-in-depth approach.

Delivering the potential of smart machines and equipment while also addressing a customer’s unique range of needs can be a complex and daunting task. To help simplify the process, OEMs should focus on three key design ingredients: processes, technology and people.

OEMs can learn more and explore smart machine solutions available from Rockwell Automation at PACK EXPO International, Nov. 6 to 9 in Chicago, and at the Global Machine and Equipment Builders Forum at the Automation Fair® event, Nov. 9-10 in Atlanta.

1 Industrial IoT Enables New Revenue Sources for Equipment Manufacturers, ARC Advisory Group report, July 7, 2015
Automation Fair is a trademark of Rockwell Automation, Inc.

Originally published here at Rockwell Automation’s Blog.