By Larry Turner, President and CEOm Hannover Fairs USA
With the advent and acceleration of Industry 4.0, we are living in a rapidly evolving, more agile manufacturing landscape. Manufacturers of all sizes are now able to capture the added value and benefits of Industry 4.0. They can lower production costs, improve output and quality by harnessing new categories of machinery. Manufacturers also can implement processes that are more flexible and responsive to consumer demands and realize the payback from a deeper focus on standardization and security.
Seven years ago, Deutsche Messe, our German parent company and organizer of Hannover Messe, formed a strategic partnership with The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). This partnership successfully launched the first industrial automation technology trade show co-located with IMTS 2012. Since that first show, our exhibitors have displayed technologies that go into the Industry 4.0 concepts.
We certainly have witnessed broad based changes in industrial automation, industrial IT, power transmission and fluid power technology since IMTS 2012. Many of these advanced manufacturing changes will be showcased this year at Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives North America (IAMD USA), which is part of the newly branded Hannover Messe USA platform of four industrial technology trade shows co-located with IMTS 2018. Here are some of the exciting Industry 4.0 trends that will be on display and discussed September 10-15, 2018 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Adaptive machines achieve batch size one manufacturing
The additive machinery concept has been a part of the Industry 4.0 landscape since our industrial technology show launched in 2012. This September during IMTS 2018, attendees will be able to experience the latest in adaptive machines that can be configured to meet specific production requirements and reconfigured to support many real-world production and packaging applications. Once again returning exhibitor B&R Industrial Automation Corp. of Atlanta will be showcasing its exciting new version of track technology and MAPP technology software for adaptive machinery. During IMTS 2018, B&R will be discussing how it is changing business models that are based on the adaptive machine to achieve the latest automation strategy.
“Instead of adapting a product to manufacturing, adaptive machines are able to advance and produce a product for individualized, customized orders all the way to cost effective, efficient batch of one manufacturing,” said John Kowal, Director of Business Developments at B&R Industrial Automation.
B&R’s innovative track technology combined with its MAPP technology software is capable of synchronizing moving shuttles with many devices, such as robots, laser etching, scanning, vision inspection, and actuators that are picking and placing components. Shuttles now can move independently allowing flexible, simple setup that doesn’t hold up production. “B&R’s MAPP technology allows adaptive machines to reconfigure with different production modules on the same base machine platform,” said Kowal.
Manufacturers benefit from standardization
“During the last six years, we have seen the transition from mere awareness to a heightened focus on the implementation of standards on the factory floor,” said Aurelio Banda, President and CEO of Beckhoff Automation, LLC in Savage, Minn. “The industry’s focus on standardization is absolutely a huge trend that is forming around Industry 4.0 and IIoT initiatives.”
The EtherCAT industrial Ethernet system, OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) and major cloud communication protocols all provide a way forward for communication between machines on the factory floor, up to manufacturing enterprise systems and beyond to cloud-based systems. These can be housed onsite in a private cloud or externally in a public cloud. “As Industry 4.0 concepts have developed, all those mechanisms that move data around facilitate greater connectivity and rich data environments,” said Banda. At the plant level, more intelligent devices and standards that help communicate between devices and transmit data from sensor to cloud are now integrated inside machines.
The next aspect is how to implement modern analytics systems to create more insights from these rich data environments at the machine, plant and enterprise levels. For example, MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) an open, standardized communication protocol is widely accepted for fast and efficient data transmission from the machine controllers to applications and services from cloud providers. MQTT can hand off data sets locally at the factory level or offsite for in-depth analysis.
“MQTT really gives manufacturers a way to leverage Industry 4.0 from the machine level to the enterprise and cloud levels,” said Banda. “It becomes a game changer for manufacturers, allowing them to test new hardware, software and services for analytics in a brisk fashion. Connecting plant systems to the cloud via MQTT offers quick ROI and the possibility to generate valuable metrics about product quality, among many other things. It also affords the possibility to create new services for revenue generation in machines and factories without having to make big on-premises investments, such as buying more servers and onboarding more IT staff.”
Another longtime exhibitor, Harting Inc. of North America in Elgin, Illinois, showcases why more and more companies are moving machines into a standard connection process and away from hardwiring. Harting’s Han-Modular connectors let manufacturers integrate data, signal, and power in the machine, allowing the machine’s connector footprint to maintain the same standard. Using these industrial connectors, manufacturers can increase productivity and streamline processes by utilizing quick connection and disconnection, and can future proof for smart manufacturing to add more functionality as needed.
“With a standard connection process, the connector footprint always stays the same and you can change the location of the machinery and connectivity modules as your needs change,” said McKenzie Reed, Industry Segment Manager for Automation at Harting.
Also during Hannover Messe USA, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the premier IIoT global standards organization, will be speaking at the event. Because the industry recognizes the need for interoperability from the machine level to the product, a group of industrial technology companies, many that will be exhibiting at IAMD USA, are working with IIC towards Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) that will result in a true industrial Ethernet standard.
“B&R is part of a smart factory task group that has put together end users to act as a TSN test bed,” said Kowal. “We are working together with IIC to make it easier for manufacturers of all sizes to adopt the standards.”
Manufacturers can participate in the manufacturing test beds and can gain first mover advantage by providing feedback and by participating as a casual observer all the way up to hosting their own test bed in their facilities. “Our smart factory task group is making sure that users understand the value and are prepared to adopt the standards as products are commercialized. It’s an exciting time to be in machine automation because things really are changing,” said Kowal.
Continued focus on security
We continue to see tangible advances in security for the exchange of data and information between devices and machines since we launched our first industrial technology show at IMTS 2012. Longterm exhibitors and emerging technology companies alike are providing secure solutions and new standards are being put in place so that manufacturers’ systems can now have the same level of security that banks have.
For instance, MQTT has top level security for secure data transmission as do the OPC UA communication mechanisms that feature inherent encryption when transmitting from device-to-cloud.
“Compared to six years ago, the security topic is better addressed and the solutions are more accepted because of the standards that exist today,” said Banda.
Due to overwhelming demand by IMTS attendees, we have nearly doubled our Industry 4.0 footprint on the show floor and will be showcasing a host of the latest security features for Advanced Manufacturing. Additionally, the Industrial Internet Consortium will be discussing cybersecurity during our 2018 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit (GAMS). This year’s GAMS will offer manufacturers an in-depth examination of the ways to measure and securely manage plant floor data.
Larry Turner is President and CEO of Hannover Fairs USA Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Deutsche Messe.