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FEATURE SMART FACTORY


AVOIDING THE TRAPS OF DIGITALISATION


brought into this automated process. By visualising the data which is being collected, employees can share their expert insights and knowledge to help manufacturers understand what is important to measure – from machine performance through to functions such as logisitcs and purchasing. Only then can the true impact of digitalisation be seen.


To keep up with the change of pace, many manufacturers are now starting out on their own Industry 4.0 journeys. But while there is no magic formula to this transformation, there are some common stumbling blocks which can be avoided


I


t’s easy for manufacturers to fall into the trap of believing that digitalisation


requires a complete overhaul. In practice, however, that approach would be unreasonable for most manufacturers, requring a considerable period of system shutdown and typically over-investment as existing machinery is replaced and the complexity of technology increases virtually overnight. Not only does this make it difficult to manage, but almost impossible to see where upgrades have contributed to ROI. Taking small and strategic steps to


digitalisation can prove more beneficial for most manufacturers. Upgrading to Industry 4.0 in manageable steps not only allows businesses enough time to make well-researched and considered decisions, but also gradually introduces employees to the new technology around them.


GETTING OFF ON THE WRONG FOOT Industry 4.0 is about flexibility – of manufacturing processes, of machinery, of facilities, of people, of outputs. With that in mind, selecting the correct standard at the start of your digital journey is


18 MARCH 2019 | FACTORY EQUIPMENT


essential, but is a step some machine manufacturers and end users overlook. To be truly flexible, any upgrades need


to be able to accomodate change. For machines, that requires connections which not only meet the standards of today, but also to be easily modified in response to future changes.


A LACK OF PLANNING In the digitalisted factory, data sits at the heart to create an environment of connected manufacturing and continuous improvement. In harnessing that data, sensors are key. Attached to cells, machines or tooling equipment, these sensors measure variables such as temperature, pressure, vibration and power consumption to provide an inside view of the machinery which powers their facility. The problem, however, arises in how that data is evaluated and interpreted. When taking their first steps into the Industry 4.0 arena, manufacturers are often overwhelmed and can fall into the trap of using vast numbers of sensors to collect mass amounts of data. To overcome this, people need to be


Taking small and strategic steps to digitalisation can prove more beneficial for most manufacturers


OVERLOOKING SECURITY As the world around us becomes more digital, cyber attacks become increasingly prevelent. So while Industry 4.0 brings a host of benefits for manufacturers, it can also make them more susceptible to these attacks – if the correct precautions aren’t taken. Studies have shown that the vast majority of manufacturers feel under- prepared when it comes to digital security, and only expect their vulnerability to grow. The good news is that preventative


action can be taken, equipping manufacturers with the tools they need to protect their data from cyber attacks. Proven IT security process, for instance, can be quickly and seamlessly extended to production, such as network segmentation and firewalls. Further to this, instruments which enable users to centrally manage all IoT devises and simulatenously install security updates at all locations around the world are also available, ensuring manufacturing operations remain protected.


RE-INVENTING THE WHEEL When setting out on the journey to Industry 4.0, some manufacturers set out to create their own solutions. The thinking is logical – creating a system which is unique to them will suit their specific needs. The reality, however, is quite different, requring huge amounts of time and money. Simply writing the documentation for a proprietary solution can take a tremendous amount of time, not to mention the fact that standard solutions are more user- friendly and can be moulded to a manufacturer’s precise requirements. By using a standard solution,


Bosch Rexroth www.boschrexroth .com T: 0345 604 4106


manufacturers can be up and running within a matter of hours, with all IoT- connected machines centrally managed in their network. Using a standard solution also minimises unneccesary complexity, enabling easier connection between machines and control systems.


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