Using IIoT to leverage performance from plant data

Using IIoT for leveraging plant data

[Source: Mitsubishi Electric, UK]

Boosting responsiveness, productivity and flexibility on the factory floor is the key to enhanced competitiveness. Effectively leveraging data is central to this and for ensuring the successful deployment of new and updated automation systems.

Mitsubishi Electric’s Jeremy Shinton considers new controllers for managing the convergence of IT and OT to optimise plant data management and connectivity.

New generations of controllers can convert large volumes of processed data into meaningful information. They bridge the IT/OT gap to connect the shop floor with the higher-level enterprise systems. These latest PLCs, machine controllers and industrial PCs built for IIoT applications also offer Edge computing and high-speed data logging to the Cloud.

Reaching out beyond the factory floor

Businesses that leverage the power of plant data can enhance their competitive advantage in fast-changing markets. Successful IIoT applications need automation systems built on faster powerful processors to analyse data close to its point of creation. State-of-the-art PLCs, like Mitsubishi Electric’s MELSEC iQ-R series, can exceed these large data handling tasks.

IIoT-ready controllers like these support advanced connectivity options for the fast delivery of data-driven information. The ability to connect to the cloud using common protocols on the PLC is a growing trend. By ‘connecting everything’, controllers, located anywhere in the world and act as a ‘data pump’ to higher-level cloud platforms. The hosting of popular operating systems like Linux can now take place on PLC modules. It puts the connected plant level PLC into areas using new language terminology phrases, such as JSON, REST API, MQTT, Python and the like. These new PLC capabilities open the door to IIoT applications in all industries. The next step in ensuring productive, flexible and responsive plants is to ensure interoperability between OT and IT

Achieving this means supporting plant data analysis for time-critical operational tasks and production-based analytics plus the non-urgent but processing-intensive data mining. These also help to build an in-depth understanding of plant operations and develop actions on how to improve them.

Leveraging plant data

Mitsubishi Electric’s latest MELIPC Edge computing solution offers an ideal IT/OT merger that supports on and off-site data analytics. Using advanced analytical and artificial intelligence processing, it processes plant data in real-time using shop floor expertise with diagnostics and predictive maintenance feedback. As a result, it can drive a production system’s decisions based on key data. MELIPC also pre-processes and aggregates plant data for higher-level insights. Information is then shared to different platforms to improve plant operations using standard OPC UA connectivity.

A benefit of this hybrid solution over conventional Cloud-based systems is a secure and reliable connection and ecosystem. Regulated industries, such as the pharmaceutical sector, can enjoy innovative data mining capabilities while still meeting regulatory compliance.

On-board with IIoT controllers

The future of manufacturing is here and based on an interconnected IIoT framework. By setting up an IIoT system that leverages advanced controllers and industrial PCs with high-speed, powerful processing capabilities and connectivity features, companies can enhance manufacturing operations. Finally, it allows data-driven applications to share a comprehensive understanding of plant and production activities, supporting their continuous improvement.

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