Total Efficiency Manager 4.0
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Micro-Training Course: Industrial applications of IoT to the MAESTRI Total Efficiency Framework
The IoT in industrial ecosystems
The evolution of technologies used in the industrial ecosystems has usually followed the advancements of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems. Many aspects of ICTs are involved in this evolution, like environmental sensing, data communication technologies, data mining, data storage, and so on. In recent years, specific fields like application logic and decision-making are features where modern ICTs support and maintain the progress of manufacturing systems. Furthermore, the computing technology ecosystem is today facing with the Internet of Things (IoT) innovation, driven by both technological and methodological changes, which include communications paradigms among devices as well as instruments to enable the creation of value added services on top of them. As consequence, the accelerating growth of miniaturized embedded systems and the constantly increasing interest within ubiquitous computing is showing the direction for the next-generation industry, since it already leverages on modern microelectronics and wireless data communication.
Thanks to the growth of such technology services, today’s production environment is living a new era of innovations and changes that have the potential to bring higher efficiency, flexibility and interoperability among industries, even if belonging to different production ecosystems. The IoT introduction into the industrial applications enables to enrich the value of the information traversing specific application, thereby supporting the development of actual intelligent environments, even in industrial and energy intensive ecosystems where this has been never considered. Furthermore, an elevated level of flexibility is needed into these environments, and today this is achievable thanks to the IoT framework available combined with high level of pervasiveness and ubiquitous computing. Integrated with intelligence, pervasiveness and flexibility, industrial applications can enjoy improved service quality, achieve better efficiency and accelerate the business innovation (UCKELMANN, D, 2014). A vast number of IoT development already exist in the industry fields, namely for oil and gas level monitoring, automated stock calculation, explosive and hazardous gases detection, machine auto-diagnosis and assets control, etc. The main characteristic of these developments is that are vertically designed, since mainly leveraging on specific technologies to handle specific problems. In addition, other systems, SCADA, MES, ERP and EAI, provide limited vision on the status and performance of the production systems from both the economic and environmental perspective.
The IoT and process optimisations
The Internet of things, the natural extension of the Internet, added the key concept of connecting things, sensors, actuators, and many other smart technologies apart the sole computers: the vision of having an immediate access to information about physical objects is now fully related with the possibility to provide innovative services with high efficiency and productivity. Indeed, the fact that the industrial scenario can take several advantages from the introduction of the IoT paradigm has been widely ruled by a number of publications. For example, BI, Z. (2014) states that IoT has is crucial technology that will definitely affect the industry and will have a great impact on the economy. BI, Z. (2014) also underline that an IoT system is well aligned with the architecture of an industry, since an enterprise can be modelled as a set of components and a set of interactions among them. From those premises is it possible to underline that the IoT match the industry on two main side: in one side, the IoT represents all the new technologies and communication protocols that enable the flexible, efficient and effective sensing and data acquisition in the production environment. On the other side, the IoT meet the industry in the orchestration, aggregation and federation of logical component, systems and subsystems. Furthermore, modern industries face a challenge raised from the increasingly complexity and dynamicity of the production environments. The IoT and the pervasive computing has enabled companies continuously adapting to these changes. Within (EU COMMISSION, 2016) is evident how European research strategy today specifically addresses this need while stating that future shop floors have to endorse flexibility and define networks in which a tight collaboration between humans, machines and robots is key for performance e.g. maintenance operations and changes in product set-up. These will be reality enabling machinery and robots to collaborate and adapt their behaviour in order to give a response to unforeseen changes, situations or problem. Finally, modern industry also faces with the worker’s well-being under working conditions, as a crucial part of manufacturing element. Human factors indeed need to be considered in order to achieve sustainable and efficient organizational. For example, the advances in the area of wearable sensors, useful for sensing human parameters, make it possible to enable a wide range of user-factory’ value added services. As stated by NEUBAUER, M. (2015), sensing human conditions, such as the level of comfort or stress, allows for continuous adaptation of the manufacturing process behaviour on the top of randomly changing human needs.
The MAESTRI’s IoT vision
Within the business environment, vertical and horizontal integration is the key condition for seamless information flows from different business units as well as between business partners. Unfortunately, there is still a huge gap to achieve this integration: the MAESTRI project propose a vision for filling this gap. Specifically, The integration of IoT topic is not of course centred in development of ICT specific components, but rather to get the best capabilities and functionalities of this powerful technology in order that processing industries are aligned and benefited with these high-level technologies application and usefulness. The proposed approach advantages on the deeper integration, in the production environment, of the Internet of Things paradigm, envisioning a seamless interconnection of heterogeneous devices, systems and subsystems in order to achieve higher degree of interactions between the shop floor, the legacy management systems and the end users, supporting end-to-end business optimizations addressed by MAESTRI. The full integration of the Internet of Things allows managing assets, optimizing performance, and developing new business models, paving the way to the hyper-connected factory, which improve energy efficiency and optimize resource management and savings.
To know more about the monitoring of performances and efficiency, the MAESTRI project made available the following materials:
>> MAESTRI D1.2 Technology Watch
>> MAESTRI D5.3 Final MAESTRI Platform Architecture Design & Specification
All reports related to the development of the IoT platform and its validation ara available here:
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