Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Mobile IoT, Machine Learning

@ThingsExpo: Blog Post

Manufacturing a Digital Future | @ThingsExpo #IoT #IIoT #M2M #Sensors #MachineLearning

Avoiding the roadblocks on the way to IIoT

Manufacturing a Digital Future

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connects the entire manufacturing enterprise - from acquiring components to manufacturing, storage and delivery - in short delivering an enterprise-wide, holistic view of the entire work flow. But traditional networks present a significant roadblock to deployments in smart factories and connected plants. This article discusses two fundamental building blocks required to start building smart digital manufacturing: industrial-grade hardened network and real-time alarm and notification system.

When we talk about smart manufacturing, we are really talking about leveraging IIoT to create a complete digital environment that gathers, exchanges, collates and enables the analysis of real-time data - from the factory floor, to the back office and right along the supply chain. Not only will this allow manufacturing and industrial processes to become more automated, but it will enable management systems to produce actionable insights across the entire enterprise, resulting in better and faster decision making.

It's the network, stupid!
IIoT is not a single technology: it is a whole raft of new generation technologies - sensors, new applications, machine-to-machine interfacing, machine learning, predictive analytics, geo-location, wearables and augmented reality. The network infrastructure is what brings all these technologies and solutions together - without it, you have disparate collections of smart technologies never achieving their potential.

In the manufacturing and industrial sectors there are specific network requirements that you just wouldn't need in an office or retail environment - so should the networks be the same? The answer, of course, is no.

The hardened network
Unreliable connectivity on LAN or WLAN can be a disaster for the highly automated processes in today's production lines. Even minimal network disruption caused by inefficient data transfer, bottlenecking or data loss can have ramifications along the entire production chain. And not only does patchy wireless connectivity mean mobile assets and workers can't operate efficiently, it can also be a serious safety risk.

Bringing together controllers, sensors, IP-Video and wireless-enabled assets on busy manufacturing floors or industrial sites requires a network backbone that can maintain its reliability and quality of service in the face of the heat, dust, electromagnetic interference and vibrations caused by machinery and heavy vehicles. This is why a hardened network based on rugged components is vital to ensuring a reliable and secure manufacturing network, while being able to easily expand the network to incorporate new assets and technologies as they become available.

Built to last - the network requirements
How do you build a hardened network to support connected plants and factories? First, the switches, access points and routers need to be able to offer the same level of capability as you would find in any other advanced network - embedded security, dynamic network performance tuning for real time application delivery and reliable broadband IP connectivity. But this needs to be built using network hardware with industrial grade form-factors, hardened to operate in more extreme conditions.

Fair-weather switches not good enough
Outside of the protected and climate controlled data centers, the campus network needs to be able to handle a much wider range of conditions. Hardened industrial-grade switches, which can operate in environments ranging from -40°C to +75°C, are a crucial element in a network subjected to continuous or fluctuating extreme temperatures. Non-hardened switches in the plant or at remote locations could severely limit the reliability and lifecycle of the equipment, putting operations at risk.

Temperature is not the only factor that can impact the network at the hardware level. Humidity levels or the airborne particles in dust need to be protected against, and that's where the convection cooled fan-less switch models can offer greater reliability and a longer lifecycle. Hardened switches are also designed to withstand the greater shocks and vibrations caused by heavy machinery and vehicles as well as greater EMI/EMC variance.

Safety first, during and last - there's now an app for that
Safety and security isn't an afterthought in the manufacturing world, so it shouldn't be when laying the network foundations of the connected factory. Gone are the days when the only alarm system available would sound across the factory floor and everyone downed tools and made for the exit. Modern manufacturing with real-time data communication needs - and indeed can have - a centralized alarm and notification platform that pushes out notifications that are accessible from apps on smart devices, as well as fixed telephony and computer stations.

Safety is paramount. Automatic alarms and emergency notifications should be added to the network and are critical to alerting supervisors to fires or employee injury. A network that can collect and aggregate alarms from different subsystems to a centralized platform can provide the responsiveness a 'smart factory' demands.

A universal notification service will provide the right alerts to the right people, at the right time, enabling them to respond quickly and appropriately to a given situation. These can also integrate into other safety and security systems such as CCTV and Building Management Systems to ensure fire detection, video and surveillance, intrusion detection can be easily managed through a single - and reliable - solution.

As well as emergency and safety notifications, engineering alerts can be directed straight to the right engineers. Notifications can be in the form of audio and text notifications, be routed to DECT/Wifi handsets, or sent directly to smart devices via an app, email or SMS - providing the flexibility needed across the full range of manufacturing and industrial settings.

Made to measure - choosing the right network for the connected factory
The Industrial Internet of Things is growing. Before you can even start to think about what new technologies and services to introduce, you need to ensure that you have the network in place to deal with the stresses and strains of the production environment - this means building an industrial-grade hardened Ethernet and a comprehensive notification system to keep the manufacturing environment safe for the employees.

More Stories By Heitor Faroni

Heitor Faroni, as Director of Solutions Marketing, is responsible for the strategy, messaging, go-to-market and business development of network solutions at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Prior to this he created the Enterprise NA Bids and Proposal team. Previous to Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, he held the positions of Director of Strategic Initiatives and Vice President of Products Sales at Verso Technologies. At Clarent Corporation and ACT Networks Heitor held the position of Director of Sales Engineering for Latin America.

Heitor has more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in both enterprise and carriers markets. He holds a BS in Computer Science from the Brazilian University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
This month @nodexl announced that ServerlessSUMMIT & DevOpsSUMMIT own the world's top three most influential Kubernetes domains which are more influential than LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Medium, Infoworld and Microsoft combined. NodeXL is a template for Microsoft® Excel® (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016) on Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10) that lets you enter a network edge list into a workbook, click a button, see a network graph, and get a detailed summary report, all in the familiar environment of...
IT professionals are also embracing the reality of Serverless architectures, which are critical to developing and operating real-time applications and services. Serverless is particularly important as enterprises of all sizes develop and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. Serverless and Kubernetes are great examples of continuous, rapid pace of change in enterprise IT. They also raise a number of critical issues and questions about employee training, development processes, and opera...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
AI and machine learning disruption for Enterprises started happening in the areas such as IT operations management (ITOPs) and Cloud management and SaaS apps. In 2019 CIOs will see disruptive solutions for Cloud & Devops, AI/ML driven IT Ops and Cloud Ops. Customers want AI-driven multi-cloud operations for monitoring, detection, prevention of disruptions. Disruptions cause revenue loss, unhappy users, impacts brand reputation etc.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get tailored market studies; and more.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...