Achieve digital transformation | CRA Notice
Digital transformation is the mantra of today’s manufacturing industries. Yet, according to ARC research, only about a tenth of industrial companies surveyed recently said they were currently implementing Industry 4.0, while another fifth of respondents consider themselves “ready for Industry 4.0”. However, as the benefits of digital transformation become more apparent, expect these shares to increase significantly in the coming years.
One of the barriers to progress in digital transformation is connectivity. Industrial plants are full of systems and devices connected via aging proprietary networks that often don’t connect well to each other. While seamless connectivity is a prerequisite for a smooth digital transformation, only the newest factories designed with connectivity in mind have the modern infrastructure needed to access and assess all the data needed to achieve the goals. of Industry 4.0.
Siemens is best known as a provider of end-to-end factory solutions, including industrial services. To help customers improve connectivity in their factories, Siemens offers Industrial Connectivity Services (ICS), a set of standardized consulting, implementation and optimization software and services that analyze and optimize the connectivity infrastructure in existing factories.
Industrial Connectivity Services Enable Digital Transformation
Digital transformation means digitizing manufacturing and business processes with the aim of improving economic performance. Digitized processes share data with stakeholders at all levels to improve efficiency and even predict impending problems, but that data needs to be exposed first, and that’s where ubiquitous connectivity is of paramount importance.
Factory floors today are a hodgepodge of old and new systems and devices. Machines that are decades old can be installed next to new and recently installed equipment. Older machines, if connected, often use legacy networks and protocols to communicate. But old and new machines have something in common: they are treasure troves of raw equipment and process data which, if accessed and shared, can be used to optimize production processes, anticipate problems and, ultimately helping companies achieve their digitization goals.
With such a patchwork of connectivity in existing factories, many industrial companies are wondering:
- How to connect machines with different controllers and networks?
- How can we exchange data between the workshop and our ERP system?
- How do we manage the availability of missing data and the poor quality of raw data?
- How to federate the data of the different “silos” of our company?
The answer to these questions is to pursue a connectivity strategy that systematically connects old with new and makes data widely accessible to key stakeholders.
No two manufacturing plants are the same, which is why ICS Consulting helps users take inventory of existing systems and their connectivity patterns. Regardless of the age of the existing equipment and whether systems from non-Siemens vendors are deployed, consultants work with the user to develop a connectivity concept and establish a standardized connection between production networks, the industrial edge and the cloud. ICS consultants help the user create an implementation roadmap to achieve the defined goals.
The Implementation part of ICS implements the connectivity solution using standardized software. “Industrial connectors” are gateways that establish a connection between the production network and higher-level information systems such as human-machine interface (HMI) software, manufacturing execution systems (MES ), enterprise resource planning (ERP), or any cloud-based system. apps. These universal connectors are hardware independent with unlimited scalability, and software connectors can be deployed via dockerization. For example, the ERP connector for the industrial edge provides edge applications with a configurable and secure connection to SAP R/3. It manages the necessary credentials so that the user can concentrate on processing, combining or displaying ERP data in the workbench.
Finally, the Optimization phase adds expert advice on data management to optimize the user’s production based on long-standing expertise.
The Brownfield Industrial Connector Connectivity Gateway is control independent and provides standard software for connecting computer digital controllers (CNCs) as well as automation systems and sensors in general. The service includes consulting, implementation and maintenance to ensure seamless data transfer.
The final part of the ICS offering is Connectivity Operations. With this service level agreement, Siemens maintains the customer’s system and ensures a guaranteed level of system availability by monitoring and managing incidents. Customers can also seek advice from Siemens connectivity experts to connect a machine to the Brownfield Connectivity Gateway.
Connectivity Case Studies
To help understand how customers are taking advantage of the ICS offering, Siemens refers to case studies at several customer sites.
Connecting Machine Tools via Brownfield Connectivity Services
In the first case study, a steam and gas turbine manufacturer wanted to collect information from fifteen machine tool controllers and visualize their states (NC program status, operating mode, operating time for machine states , NC start counter, stop condition, feedrate, spindle speed), as well as power consumption information from a power monitor.
The ICS solution consisted of connecting CNC controllers through Brownfield Connectivity Services (BFC) using local dashboards, and sharing this data with MindSphere Fleet Manager. The result was the exposure of power information that made power consumption in the factory transparent. According to the customer, the benefits were increased efficiency and tool availability, as well as greater transparency for large components and long NC programs.
Integration of applications from order entry to production
In the second case study, a manufacturing company wanted to increase shop-floor transparency, shorten time-to-market for engineer-to-order products, and create closed-loop production for better production planning. production. The solution was to create an end-to-end IT infrastructure that integrates all digital applications, from order entry to production.
The Siemens ICS team connected disparate functions ranging from production preparation, order creation and resource maintenance to production planning, order orchestration and progress tracking. According to the company, improvements in connectivity and application integration have improved production quality and reduced production time, reduced manual effort through digitized production planning, as well as creating a generated blueprint for holistic OT/IT integration.
Many industrial companies are struggling with their digital transformation. It’s easy to get lost in the details of integrating legacy systems to produce a reliable and consistent stream of payload data to fully digitize and orchestrate production processes with business processes. To support its customers on their digital transformation journey, Siemens offers Industrial Connectivity Services – a complete set of universal connectivity software, consulting, implementation and maintenance services supported by personnel with relevant knowledge. in the field. These services help users integrate legacy and modern systems and create a data-driven foundation for transformation into a truly digital business.
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Keywords: Siemens, Connectivity, Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, ARC Advisory Group.