Industry 4.0: fit for the future

Tony Chapman, General Manager, Customer Services at Siemens UK & Ireland, discusses how data-rich, Industry 4.0 ready, proactive services can help ensure plants are fit for the future and best-placed to support growth.

Siemens UK & Ireland’s services provision has provided proactive support for the manufacturing and process industries for 50 years and, with the influence of Industry 4.0 growing on the nation’s industrial base, we’re committed to continuing to help companies drive efficiencies and productivity benefits across their sites.

Tony Chapman, general manager - customer services. Siemens UK & Ireland.
Tony Chapman, general manager – customer services. Siemens UK & Ireland.

The so-called next industrial revolution – the cyber-physical ‘Industry 4.0’ – relies on manufacturers and processors being able to access and manage untold volumes of big data to truly understand what is going on.

This data is transmitted through cyberspace and can then be analysed. Only through thorough analysis can insightful decisions be made to drive efficiencies and improve productivity.

However, adopting an ongoing, proactive analytic approach is time and resource intensive, especially when a company also has to focus on maintaining operations.

This is where today’s proactive services from Siemens can be invaluable. For example, data rich asset analytics can enable predictive maintenance programmes – ensuring sites do not have to wait for part failures or downtime before replacing equipment to protect productivity levels.

While Siemens offers proactive services which can provide the necessary insight into the performance of a plant and potential improvements that can be made, it can also offer crucial protection for the masses of big data in cyberspace that Industry 4.0 relies upon.

Siemens - PQ April 2016Siemens together with the SAP HANA platform, has developed its industry-leading open cloud architecture platform for industry (SCI) to help protect the data that needs to be accessed, handled and stored.

The innovative concept, ‘MindSphere’ is a vision for an app-based ecosystem that will be a highly accessible data repository for industrial users.

It provides data value services based upon a global platform and easy device connectivity, and in the world of data management provides for data acquisition, data analytics and simulation, pre/post data processing and big data storage and transfer on a remotely-hosted, but secure basis.

With open standards for connectivity to both Siemens and third party products, as well as plug and play connectivity and open application interfaces for individual customer applications, it also offers a selectable cloud infrastructure including public cloud, private cloud or on–premise hybrid cloud solutions.

Siemens Manufacturing LinkIt is clear data plays a central role in both today’s and tomorrow’s plants. But, it is only through the protection and effective analysis of this data and decisive implementation of insightful improvements derived from the analysis, can manufacturers really ensure the tangible opportunities presented come to fruition and that they reap performance and productivity benefits set to support future growth.