IT, New Media & Software

Thursday, 13 December 2018 09:35

Smart Connected Machines for Digital Transformation

Written by 
Automation Fair 2018 – Blake Moret

“Smart manufacturing” is on the mind of every industry executive and decision-maker. Most, however, don’t know where to start. Rockwell Automation knows that the start is always at the machine - with the digital transformation to smart, connected machines. 

Gaining access to production data enables machine builders to manage and optimise the assets they supply to their customers. That access also allows manufacturers using equipment, and system integrators helping those manufacturers integrate and maintain that equipment, to optimise their facilities.

 In the food industry, it’s making sure that every bite of cereal tastes the same. In life sciences, it’s ensuring the right dosage, every time. In the world of energy, it is efficient and safe production.

Additional Productivity, Now

Data that’s a natural by-product of automation processes can be transformed into insights that unlock an additional level of productivity. “Our industry is traditionally conservative”, says Rockwell Automation USA Chairman and CEO, Blake Moret. It is not enough, he says, to know how to meet your production goals, companies need to act. “There’s a need to be more agile than ever before, to act more rapidly and be a first mover to capture share.”

The influence of information technology (IT) is causing the automation industry to pick up the pace. The need for speed was simply not as urgent in the past. In today’s environment, speed really is of the essence.

Investments Pick Up the Pace 

The strategic partnership between Rockwell Automation and PTC will help companies realise the full potential of digital transformation. Companies yet to recognise the impact digital transformation will have on production will now have this capability within reach.

Automation and information technologies transform how, when and where value gets created in the operation. They establish a digital foundation that allows machine builders and end users to more effectively compete. “Our investment in PTC is one of our biggest moves to ensure that we can accelerate the pace and offer more innovation as part of the Connected Enterprise”, says Moret.

The starting point for many machine builders and end users is the data. When properly collected, analysed, displayed and used, data really does have the potential to revolutionise manufacturing operations. The end goal of creating a data-capable infrastructure is not just optimisation of existing assets; it also can lead to the digital transformation of the entire enterprise.

Putting these capabilities in place opens a whole new world. Unleashing the capability of data will deliver better analytics, more accurate predictions, robust adaptations and the ability to deploy advanced visualisation and AI solutions that can help everything from design and testing to installation, commissioning and maintenance. More than access to data, it’s clean and contextualised data that can be turned into actionable insight.

Expanding Human Possibility

When the strengths of technology are combined with an engaged, enthusiastic workforce, anything is possible. “When you combine the imagination of people with the power of machines, anything is possible.” The knowledge of that possibility is what drives Rockwell Automation forward. Rockwell Automation has partnered with PTC Inc. to enable integration with data from multiple plant-level applications to drive enterprise-level insights.

In a manufacturing environment, linking people, machines and data across an entire business is how machine builders and end users become more effective and productive. For machine builders, the focus is on future-proofing an end user’s investment. For end users, it’s about leveraging new smart, connected capabilities to be better able to take advantage of the innovations to remain globally competitive.

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