Digitalization is an aspirational goal for many plants, but most are not prepared for the obstacles that threaten to derail their efforts. Selecting the right interconnected devices can prove daunting, and once the devices begin collecting information, you might just find yourself drowning in data.
Whether your plant has fully embraced digitalization or is just beginning the journey from pen and paper to mobile technology, advice from peers in your industry who have overcome the stumbling blocks on the path to digitalization can prove invaluable. Here are five quotes from industry experts to help guide you toward a more connected, data-driven plant in 2018.
"When you think IoT, is your first thought newly affordable, available sensors being added to products after they’ve been manufactured? I believe 2018 will change that perception as IoT takes a decisive step forward in its evolution. If we think of IoT as like a product’s nervous system, 2018 will see it grow from picking up signals at the periphery to being the brain of the product—constantly sending, receiving, growing, and gathering information from the center of the product throughout its lifetime and, in the process, enabling new services and revenue streams."
Antony Bourne, IFS
Three game-changers for the manufacturing industry in 2018
“ 'If you build it, they will come' might work for Iowa farmers chasing baseball ghosts, but don’t count on it for success with your IIoT project. Before you start, find end users who are committed to using the data and who will champion your project by assisting with funding, implementing procedures to use the data, and informing management of the final results."
Michael McEnery, McEnery Automation
10 steps to IIoT success
"Companies can begin with the software that they already have on hand – MES and SCADA applications that help control the process and plant. These applications will make it easier to learn more about a plant’s systems and how to keep them running at peak performance, avoiding the pitfalls of unexpected downtime with preventive maintenance procedures. These applications can also be used to collect and organize data to do more analytics by leveraging a common data model and data storage. By utilizing this on-premises software, you can structure information so that it is easier for IT personnel and data experts to correlate across multiple plants by ultimately moving data to the cloud."
Matthew Wells, GE Digital
Start your journey toward smart MRO
"We’re living in an important revolution, whether we realize it or not. Every industrial company will be transformed; this includes manufacturers, machine builders, and system integrators. Wide adoption of technology, including in the consumer space, has added many minds looking at ways to deploy it in creative ways to solve real problems. If technology was an obstacle in the past either because of price point or complexity, today it has become an enabler. It is also less of a differentiator."
José M. Rivera, CEO, CSIA
Automated for the people
"What’s next for us is getting rid of as much paper as possible. We’re really taking every piece of paper that’s out on the shop floor and seeing, what are we using it for? What list is this, and how can we automate it? As we have drop-in orders, a piece of paper is static, and having something where we can update the guys in real time, helps them act quicker and react to things without waiting for somebody to get out on the shop floor and reassign all the paperwork. It’s paperwork and then really tracking the downtime at the line and being able to drill down even deeper but not making the system cumbersome for the operator. Because you don’t want to make a downtime tracking tool that becomes another downtime."
Tyler Grahovec, Pacesetter Steel
Smart data: Know your team's needs