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Shamdutt Kamble is head of competency and delivery for industrial automation solutions at global information technology, consulting and outsourcing firm, Wipro. With over 23 years’ experience he is responsible for providing innovative technology solutions for industrial automation customers worldwide. Here he discusses how manufacturers can best benefit from utilising the latest advances in automation technology


here’s no doubt that factories and manufacturing plants have changed

dramatically over the last 30 years or so. When you consider a modern manufacturing facility, you tend to picture a flurry of activity on the plant floor, with cutting edge technology driving the plant forward. Finely-tuned machines mill millions of parts, carried by conveyor belts and nimble mechanical arms to an assembly bay where they are bonded and coated using cutting edge chemical processes. Despite this image, the profitability of many of these plants and factories is constantly under threat because of constant new technological advances. This isn’t just limited to the machines and materials but also the high tech practices and platforms that are being deployed in the plant. All of the robotic arms, advanced

process control and automation systems in the world can’t ensure the profitability and productivity of a plant without the right practices and platforms in place. There are a huge number of variables and constraints which govern the limits of plant maximisation and where these practices and platforms play a part. For example, manufacturers have to manage various facilities, plant operations, processes, and other assets. At the same time they also need to make plants and facilities as flexible as possible in order to handle as many different orders, react to dynamic markets and deliver products quickly. Manufacturers are also required


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to ensure that products meet quality standards, and all at a competitive price. In the past, manufacturers have met these challenges by implementing things like MES and SCADA. However, they are no longer enough to keep plants profitable and productive in the face of fierce market conditions. These programmes lack key features like real time performance measurement, performance predictive and autonomous decision ability. The high tech platforms needed to run today’s manufacturing plants are referred to as SPM (Smart Plant and Manufacturing). SPM platforms help to optimise plant performance in uncertain and dynamic market conditions. Generally speaking, SPM focuses on three key areas: complete plant performance analysis; incorporating decision intelligence; and the implementation of next generation technology like big data, cloud, augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IoT). Plant performance analysis is a process

Wipro offers a

comprehensive suite of solutions across the manufacturing value chain

that involves three aspects. Firstly this means the indexing of performance for productivity and quality metrics for cost across the whole operation. Second, by integrating the automation of operations surveillance with closed loop production performance control, plant operators are able to manage manufacturing and production variability in a dynamic environment. This results in the minimisation of process errors, equipment losses and other inefficiencies. Finally, performance analysis is also capable of predicting performance losses based on equipment degradation, equipment faults and process anomalies. The second focus of SPM is the

incorporation of decision intelligence into plant production. Decision intelligence drives performance optimisation by aligning operations and processes to adapt to the given plant states and conditions. Contextualised events and data such as machine locations, time of operations, tool conditions etc. are modelled to identify plant state and conditions. For given performance fault mode (productivity, quality related) and context model inputs, decision intelligence identifies right corrective actions for executions at plant managers and operators level. Finally, by implementing the latest

proven technology trends, manufacturers and plant operators can be empowered to better manage and control plant activities. This includes technologies like cloud, big data analysis, mobility and BYOD, augmented reality and the industrial internet of things. What’s more, when a unified data model is applied to these technologies, the result is a scalable architecture that can be used to manage the plant anywhere from line level to enterprise level. Since SPM is an open platform it makes global standardisation easy, with simple IT-OT integration and scalability. The benefits of smart plant and

manufacturing are obvious. SPM can help cut plant cut costs by 15 per cent per unit on average, as well as boosting net profit margins by 10 per cent and improving order fulfilment by upwards of 12 per cent. These numbers show that SPM is the next big thing in manufacturing.

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