The future of Industrial IoT implementations in factory automation

At Hardware Pioneers’ latest conference in Munich in April, 2018, titled ‘The future of Industrial IoT (IIoT): New technologies and opportunities’, there were talks by Intel, Würth Elektronik and Texas Instruments. eeDesignIt sat do`wn with Miro Adzan, General Manager, Factory Automation and Control after the keynotes to discuss IIoT’s future.

Adzan presented a keynote titled ‘Industrial IoT implementations in factory automation – a semiconductor view’.

Miro Adzan is a General Manager at Texas Instruments, leading the industrial systems team for the Factory Automation and Control sector. The team supports customers with in-depth system knowledge combining it with expertise for TI’s product offering for industrial applications. Prior to this role he was leading the European power management business development and system engineering team at TI. Miro has been in the semiconductor industry for the last 20 years and held various positions at leading semiconductor companies including Infineon Technologies, Agilent Technologies and Hewlett Packard before joining TI in 2008.

The IIoT industry is projected to have a growth rate of 20% in Germany, Year Over Year (YOY) to 2025.

What is driving growth in industrial automation?

  • Individual customer requirements
  • Shorter product life cycles
  • Shorter delivery times
  • Global demand and production
  • Digital life cycle
  • High flexibility and productivity
  • Lot size of one
  • Lower resource utilization/high efficiency
  • Real time and predictive maintenance
  • Compatibility across systems
  • Embedded processors
  • Embedded sensors
  • Networking/communications: wired and wireless
  • Miniaturization
  • Ultra low power, safety, security

Today there is a five layer architecture within industrial automation from enterprise and control level to device and field level: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Supervisory Control and Data Analytics (HMI/SCADA), Machines/Systems (PLC/DCS) and sensors/actuators.

In Adzan’s talk at Hardware Pioneers, he spoke of an industrial automation architecture of tomorrow: Cyber-Physical System (CPD) based automation. This takes on a more dynamic and chaotic architecture, as opposed to a pyramid structure.

A CPD based automation architecture could accommodate a lot size of one with high flexibility and productivity. An case study example of this in motion would be in the manufacturing of oscilloscopes, where the power supply could be chosen at the end of the production line. This would mean less waste and a higher throughput, enabling customized orders, as the sensors on the production machines would communicate locations and requirements to each other.

Other examples included picking and packing within warehouses (Amazon already use robots to move shelves of products and help with the assembly process), 3D printing in the fashion industry and automotive manufacturing (enabling easier customization of interiors – read our article about the ultimate IIoT factory at Ferrari here).

This CPD based automation architecture that Adzan presented on behalf of Texas Instruments, would mean that a manufacturing machine would never be down, and would enable, “The most advanced logistical and manufacturing space,” said Adzan.

A production facility that can implement this architecture for predictive maintenance and sensor intelligence with high flexibility and productivity leads the way to greener production.

What is the impact on technology?

  • More data
  • More sensors – measuring primary and environmental parameters
  • More local smart processing
  • More wired and wireless communication with more real time requirements
  • Standardization and compatibility needs
  • Scalability
  • Breadth of product portfolio and dedicated solutions
  • Plug and play solutions
  • Lower power requirements and smaller implementations

“There are opportunities for high complex cloud solutions with simple implementations,” said Adzan. “People in the factories need to rethink how they are approaching things.”

A connected factory immediately raises the alarm of security. Before the IIoT, to break into a factory’s security, someone would need to scale a fence. Whereas now, someone can stand outside the fence and hack in through a device.

“People running factories typically underestimate the security dangers and technology is needed here to disrupt the market,” said Adzan

Texas Instruments is offering evaluation kits and reference designs to help leverage existing designs and add intelligence to production environments to help create the factories of the future.

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