Open platform improves digitisation of smart machines
Evolving customer needs and the impact of digital transformation has added complexity to the machine design and building processes. By thinking beyond traditional designs, machine builders can deliver smart machines with better performance at a lower cost.
Fortunately, new technologies are emerging that counteract this complexity. These technologies like open platform machine control help to optimise the digitisation of new generations of smart machines. They drive operational efficiencies by shortening time to market and optimising expertise to increase productivity and reduce downtime.
Designing with an open platform
According to Schneider Electric, using open platform technologies enhances productivity and shortens development whilst delivering high-performance smart machines. An open, vendor-agnostic platform like EcoStruxure Machine allows these technologies to work. It delivers visibility and scalability of connected products, control software, cloud-based services and enhanced support for applications and data analytics.
There are three critical phases of a machine’s life cycle: design and engineering, commissioning and operation, and maintenance and service. EcoStruxure Machine support all three.
Design and engineering
Problems in the design stage often mean reworking machine parts, which can lead to long delays and increased expense. It can also mean the difference between profit and loss for the machine builder. Collaborative engineering software tools enable simulation of how parts will work in the machine.
Using a “digital twin” concept allows testing on a virtual machine first before the actual machine assembly. Engineering efficiency also improves through automated code analysis, code generation and testing. Such automated engineering and simulation capabilities can reduce time-to-market by up to 30%.
Commissioning and operation
Digitisation enabled analytics to allow OEM machine builders to simplify device commissioning through automatic discovery of devices in an open automation architecture. Once discovered, uploading and downloading the device settings are available on demand. Communication tests are then initiated, and automatic communication reports generated.
To better support customer operations, the digitised machines integrate with the IT environment to provide a full overview of the OEM machine builder’s field assets while connected at the same time with their internal production planning system. Moreover, automated commissioning and simplified plant integration, OEM machine builder operational and support efficiency can improve by up to 40%.
Maintenance and service
Digitised services enable OEM machine builders to discover new ways to support their customers. For example, a repository service enhances the tracking of assets to help OEM machine builders access machine history, bill of materials information, localisation details, maintenance logs, warranty information, and spare parts availability. Accessing machine information can be anytime and anywhere by logging into a web-based portal.
Advanced monitoring of customer machine assets also enables predictive maintenance and the resolution of issues before any unanticipated downtime occurs. For on-site service, guidance to operators and technicians is through remote maintenance using augmented reality. Together, these digitised support tools can reduce the time for corrective actions by up to 50%.
Benefits of open architecture
Open architecture platforms like EcoStruxure Machine are also accessible to developers and partners so that systems are more agile, flexible and secure. Moreover, the common platform/open architecture approach accommodates IT and OT equipment convergence and boosts software and IIoT oriented solution development.
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