The Manufacturer and HPE Services have partnered to offer exclusive access to information on Connected Manufacturing. This knowledge source will provide you with information on what IoT, Industry 4.0 and Smart Technology mean to your business and how to embrace them.
The aim of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Services and The Manufacturer (TM) collaboration is to demonstrate the benefits of ‘Connected Manufacturing’ and provide practical advice on how to implement improvements within your business.
As part of the partnership, TM’s editorial director, Nick Peters, spoke with Nigel Upton, who heads up Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Smart Cities programme. They met at Discover, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s global expo at London’s ExCel in November 2016, where HPE unveiled a series of new technologies and systems that take the fourth industrial revolution to a new level.
According to Upton, the next stage of ‘Connected Manufacturing’ has to involve networking together factories in the same supply chain, exchanging data and information in order to slash lead times and accelerate planning, production and delivery.
This won’t come as news, as OEMs are already making clear that supply chains must be connected if the full benefits of 4.0 are to be felt. And yet, for every advance connected technology offers, it also creates a new question or problem.
At the device level, operators are being told they can collect data from sensor-monitored machines and use it to manage service levels, predict fail-points and optimise uptime. The issue for many manufacturers is not quite knowing what to do with all that data. It takes heavy computing power to turn it into information, which means they must look to leverage the cloud.
But inevitable problems arise with the sheer amount of data that must be sent off-site, while network latency and bandwidth issues mean the information that comes back is not necessarily of 100% use. If a critical part is failing, the operator needs instant knowledge and control.
At a plant level, there is so much data being collected from a multiplicity of IIoT connected devices on different platforms and talking different languages that a kind of digital Babel evolves. Again, data is no good unless it can be turned immediately into information.
And at the network level where manufacturers in the same supply chain network are expected to talk to each other, more concerns rear their head. What happens if proprietary IP-related data is somehow mixed in with operational data? How can it be kept separate? Are we opening a backdoor into our systems?
The answer HPE has come up with, and which they showed off at Discover, involves a suite of products and services that not only accelerates the data-crunching process but offers reassurance to companies concerned about data-sharing issues. The company argues that this step-change in functionality should help remove doubts about 4.0 adoption.
At its heart, the new HPE technology elevates Industry 4.0 into a platform that creates for manufacturers whole new ways of secure working and value creation.