Industry Edge 4.0

By Sourabh Tiwari, CIO & Head - IT, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (India)


Sourabh Tiwari, CIO & Head - IT, Overseas Infrastructure Alliance (India)

Overseas Infrastructure Alliance is a leading project development and management company offering end-to-end solutions in infrastructure projects, along with project execution via its patented 'Project Staff Method'.

Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution, turning factories into smart factories, filled with sensors that collect data to intelligently optimize operations, driving more and more automation. Factories are becoming smarter, automated, flexible and more efficient using new technologies. Data center technologies and digital tools are playing a vital role. Instead of simple machines, the aim here is to create cyber-physical system- network of collected machines that collect a massive amount of data through sensors, act for a new level of insight and perception. The factory processes can be integrated with the supply chain and even customer relationship management (CRM) allowing vast increases in flexibility and customization. Industries 4.0 play a vital big role in world’s largest manufacturer and enhance world economy all over the world.

Robots are a big part of this. (Changing precision technology solution), help for manpower reduction and defect rates. Factory floors are managed with mission-critical IT, housed in a specialized data centre, inside the factory or outside (cloud) facilities. Factory IT has to be rugged, immune to the danger of manufacturing environment, includes dust, pollution, vibration and electromagnetic pulses. Networking is the real key. This requires an Industrial internet; Information technology (IT) merges with Operational technology (OT) - branch of the organisation handling mechanical devices and physical infrastructure. This would help to mitigation security risk from networked mechanical equipments – which are emerging as a serious concern. At the same time, OT managers experience IT benefits too. In manufacturing, IT customers are stronger than OT customers. IT/ OT have managed to maintain separate domains, as manufacturing relies more on mechanical system that Industry 4.0 cannot emerge without these two finally coming to terms with each other. All approaches define and depend on the specific challenge and the cost.

• R1.0 (Steam and Water) - In the 18th/19th centuries, factories emerged with steam and water power, creating the first wave of automation.

• R2.0 (Electricity) - At the end of 19th century, electricity arrived as a more flexible power source.

• R3.0 (Computer) - In the last 20th century, numerically-controlled machines such as lathes, CAD/CAM etc. and robot arms began working with data from computer-aided design files.

• R4.0 (Full Digitalization) - Beginning this century, all process are automated and connected, factories are instrumented with sensors and become more flexible and efficient.

The data lifecycle begins on the factory floor, with the industrial Internet of things sensors capturing readings from machines involved with the production process. Real-time data could be captured from Distributed control systems, manufacturing execution systems, Asset management systems etc. brought together to build digital twins. Physical assets are modelled in data, creating a “digital twins” which can be fed up with external data, allowing an understanding of what’s happening inside the machine without stopping it. Also, allow keeping a complete digital footprint of their products from conception stage to delivery stage. With edge data centre, run own private cloud solution for the necessary processing. Effective data journey is about mixing the real-time electronics of the machines on the factory floor with the response of edge facilities, and big data insights that require massive computing power can be accessed via cloud run. It’s clear that digital infrastructure is bringing a whole new approach to manufacturing while, at the same time, the industrial vertical is demanding new capabilities from sensors, edge data centres and micro-facilities.

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