Over the last three decades, the world has undergone a far-reaching digital transformation. The infrastructure making this possible is built on the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW), transforming our daily lives and activities with convenience, greater connectivity, and instant access to information. Examples include everything from multiple cell phone features to navigational systems in our cars, live streaming of movies and media into our homes, instant access to information, reservations, and more. The list goes on and on. This technology is referred to as the Internet of Things or IoT, which has changed how we live and do business today.
Manufacturing operations are extremely complex, which is why digital infrastructure has been slower to occupy this space. The industry looked inward to strengthen the efficiency and profitability of operations. Improvements focused on control systems for the factory floor through automated control systems that improve safety, reduce human interaction, strengthen local data collection using improved SCADA systems (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), and accessing equipment via the internet. These steps served as the initial building blocks for digital transformation within operations.
This movement further accelerated as digital technology proved to be more reliable. Our industry realized the potential and initiatives gained traction. The fourth Industrial Revolution, known as Industry 4.0 or I 4.0, quickly gained popularity. The possibilities and advantages of Industry 4.0 spread around the globe, and today we have the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT.
The IIoT platform is enabling the development of new technology by leveraging information from existing control capabilities. Currently, line control systems can display and collect performance information, providing an interface for operating equipment. However, this presents disparate information that is difficult for operators to translate. New digital technology expands this platform by introducing a “human factors” concept of situational awareness to improve performance while incorporating preventative and predictive tools into our operations.
What does this mean for your operation? In this blog series, we’ll summarize important features of this technology and identify ways you can take advantage to realize the maximum impact. We’ll use the example of Davis-Standard’s DS Activ-Check™ to describe the architecture of a cloud-based system, review relevant terminology, and discuss how improved situational awareness can add value to your process.
Stay tuned on September 28th for the second part of this exciting series! We look forward to sharing what we know about this exciting topic.
Have any questions about the first part of this series? Comment below.
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The D-S Connect Blog Team