The reality of data integration in industrial automation
The reality of data integration in industrial automation.
In a recent article, Omron Automation takes a deeper look into the challenges and benefits of data integration in ‘From shop floor to top floor’.
How close is ‘Industry 4.0’ to being a reality? A futuristic, completely-connected industrial world is already taking shape, and data integration is a key enabler. Collecting and storing production data also offers many other rewards – from measuring OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) to helping OEMs meet increasing legal requirements for reporting.
Chasing Overall Equipment Effectiveness
As every line manager knows, the trend for manufacturers to monitor operational efficiency in order to optimise profit has been rumbling onwards ever more loudly. More companies aim to measure Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) in order to identify bottlenecks and weaknesses in the production process. But these calculations can only be arrived at, once sufficient data is being collected from the entire operation and reliably stored.
There is greater intelligence, now, in all automation components, and a greater emphasis on networking means that information is accessible anywhere. Ethernet-based networks such as EtherCAT allow every part of an automation system, from sensors to robots, to exchange information at speeds that were undreamt of in the past.
This gives the controller instant access to every detail of production information. Once this controller is also connected to the enterprise-level – Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) or Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), for example – we can start to see the ‘Industry 4.0’ vision being realised.
The amount of detail, the speed of acquisition and retrieval and the security requirements for any data are only going to increase in sensitive product areas such as food and pharmaceuticals. Ultimately, this means integrating the manufacturer’s own customers and business partners into the production process, not just locally but globally.
See earlier Omron article Why machine builders need to consider Industry 4.0
See more Omron Products at 999 Automation.com
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