When designing products for industrial automation, connectivity and the introduction of cloud computing make monitoring more sophisticated. In this era of the smart factory, Johannes Petrowisch, Global Partner & Business Development Manager of industrial automation software expert, COPA-DATA, discusses the benefits of cloud computing for users in the manufacturing industry.
Head in the clouds
The role of cloud computing in the manufacturing industry is not always clear. Manufacturers are not well known for investing heavily in the latest IT systems and technologies on a regular basis, so why are so many now deploying cloud-computing software in their organizations?
As industrial automation becomes more intelligent and manufacturers embrace machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, cloud computing is set to become the obvious solution to store and manage the ever-growing expanse of production data. The cloud helps users reduce costs, change business models, provide new services, increase agility, optimize performance and ultimately, drive profitability.
Performing a meaningful evaluation of a manufacturing facility’s energy efficiency is only possible when complete energy consumption figures are available. To make sense of the copious amounts of data produced on the shop floor, many manufacturers are deploying energy data management systems (EDMS).
Generally, EDMS is set up locally and embedded into the existing IT infrastructure, but there are a number of different scenarios available, including moving the EDMS to the cloud, a possibility which enables company-wide analysis of energy data.
Manufacturers want actionable insights from the data they collect. Predictive analytics, or machine learning, often deliver a complete new service to sell.
For some users, there is concern surrounding the storage of production data off-premises. Although these concerns about data loss, security breaches and lack of data ownership are all valid, these fears aren’t as justified as they might seem.
Most cloud providers invest heavily to ensure the infrastructure is safe and resilient to any attacks. For example, Microsoft and its cloud platform, Azure, is ISO 27001 certified and therefore provides disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). By automating the replication of factory data, Azure will provide a secondary data center to act as a recovery site.
Above the clouds
Moving to cloud computing isn’t just about moving data storage off-site. Used correctly, the cloud can enhance an organization’s performance in production, efficiency and potentially, its entire business model.
Filed Under: Design World articles, IoT • IIoT • internet of things • Industry 4.0