Volume 2 Issue 9 August 2020
In this Issue
Welcome to Industree 4.0 for August 2020, exclusively sponsored by SAP. We lead off with a great article from John Robinson of SAP. That is followed by regular columnists Pat Dixon and Jim Thompson. We'll wrap with other perspectives from around the industry.
By John Robinson

John Robinson is currently responsible for development of the Industry 4.0 go-to-market strategy for the northern region of Europe, Middle East, and Africa at SAP. Prior to joining SAP in June 2019, John’s career included senior roles at EY, Atos and Schneider Electric. His client experience includes most of the world’s largest manufacturers across all sectors and provides him with a unique insight into the challenges of digital transformation in manufacturing.

What Is The Future For Industry In The Post COVID-19 Paradigm?
The world continues to be gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic. The global supply chain is experiencing a level of disruption that has never been seen before. Some manufacturers have ceased production completely, some have seen greatly reduced demand, and others have seen a huge increase in demand. Every manufacturer is impacted by this crisis in some way and, for many, this poses an existential threat.

Prior to the crisis, Industry 4.0 was an area of great interest to many manufacturers. It was an exciting topic with huge potential benefits and was seen by many as a positive and future-thinking topic.

Today, many of us are focused on the here and now. Our health and the health of our family, friends, and colleagues. The ability to access the food and supplies we need. Our job security. The financial impact on our employers, our clients, and our partners. Beyond that, we also have to consider the wider economic impact and the unknown amount of time it will take for things to return to some level of normality.

At this point in time, it seems insensitive and inappropriate to discuss Industry 4.0 in the way it was discussed pre-crisis. The business drivers of Industry 4.0 pre-crisis were focused on competitive advantage, cost reduction, productivity, sustainability, and innovation.

The goal was to make well-run businesses run better. The focus for many manufacturers now is survival first and foremost and beyond that, damage limitation.

The immediate financial impact on manufacturers is already resulting in a huge reduction in non-essential spending and investments. Many Industry 4.0 solutions currently being considered or being deployed fall into the category of non-essential business activities.

This raises a few challenging questions that I have asked myself as someone dedicated to manufacturing and Industry 4.0:

  • Is Industry 4.0 even a topic that manufacturers should be thinking about?
  • Is Industry 4.0 relevant anymore?
  • If it is relevant, why is it relevant, and what role does it have to play moving forward?

The short answer is yes, I believe Industry 4.0 is not only as relevant as it was before, I believe it is actually far more relevant moving forward, and I would like to explain why.

The priorities for most manufacturers today fall into three distinct phases:

  • Phase 1: Survival
  • Phase 2: Recovery
  • Phase 3: Business as usual in the new post-crisis paradigm

The goal for all manufacturers will be to get to Phase 3 as soon as possible and at the lowest cost. In defining the operating model for Phase 3, they will factor in lessons learned from the crisis and try to build a more resilient and agile business. They will be asking themselves some fundamental questions such as:

  • Where were the weaknesses?
  • Where did we make costly decisions and why?
  • What would have helped?

I believe that the key finding will be that the systems and processes in place were not fit for purpose. It is too early to say for certain, but it seems clear from events unfolding before us that one of the major weaknesses is a lack of real-time visibility across the business; visibility that is essential to support critical business decisions.

Examples are:
  • What is the demand for products, and where can we manufacture them?
  • What are our current raw material, work in progress (WIP), and finished goods inventory levels?
  • What is our manufacturing capacity, both in terms of human resources and asset availability?
  • What is our spare part inventory, and where are they?
  • Where are our raw material shipments, and what alternatives do we have?
  • How is our finished goods distribution network operating?

Most system architectures currently consist of a heterogeneous mix of applications and data silos. This architecture results in latency of information and a lack of a single, real-time view of the business status. As soon as this architecture was tested beyond its normal operating conditions, it failed, and this is why it is not fit for purpose.

I believe that another key learning from the crisis will be driven by manufacturers’ reliance on human capital and the impacts of social distancing. If we go one level deeper than the supply chain view, then manufacturing, in particular, will be highlighted as a big area for improvement.

During the crisis, production plans have been changing on a much higher frequency as a result of changing demands, availability of raw materials, availability of key staff, and availability of assets. Manufacturing has a much higher volume and frequency of transaction than the supply chain. Manufacturing is real time, not near-real time.

As manufacturers move into the recovery phase, they will still be asking the same questions they are asking during the crisis. Eventually, we will reach the new normality, and manufacturers will be keen to make sure this cannot happen again.

The role of Industry 4.0 in the future
Industry 4.0 has a different role from today on. Its role should be:

  1. Help to make sure that more companies survive
  2. Shorten the recovery phase and help return businesses to normal operations as soon as possible
  3. Provide the platform to develop new, more resilient businesses in the medium to long term

Industry 4.0 can achieve this because many of the capabilities it offers could have greatly reduced the impact of this crisis on us all. Just a few examples are:

  • Real-time visibility into the availability of raw materials, finished goods, WIP, people, and assets
  • Use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to constantly reassess and re-plan activities
  • Robotic process automation to support non-value-adding, labor-intensive activities
  • The use of mobile technology, augmented reality, and virtual reality to enable workers to perform tasks they were not trained for more easily, which could have assisted with skills shortages due to self-isolation or repurposing of manufacturing
  • The same technologies together with digital twins and remote support from OEMs to improve availability of assets
  • The same technologies could also have enabled more remote working and virtual working to help with the issue of lockdown and social distancing
  • 3D printing of spare parts that were stuck in the supply chain
  • Use of AGVs, autonomous vehicles, and drones to again reduce reliance on people and to further assist with social distancing

Many of these technologies and solutions were seen as “nice to haves.” Many were waiting to cross the chasm into mainstream adoption. Rather than retreating away from them, I believe we should be thinking about how we can use these technologies now and in the future.

Can any be deployed to help deal with the crisis? Beyond that, how can they be used to help us recover more quickly and develop more resilient and robust businesses that are better equipped to deal with this level of disruption in the future?

There is one other critical factor in navigating our way out of this. I have felt for a very long time that the key to successful digital transformation was not technology but collaboration. We need to break down the silos both within organizations and in the external supplier ecosystem.

I don’t think this has ever been truer than it is today, and the fact that I can see it happening in so many different areas gives me a lot of hope. And while none of us have all the answers, we do possess lots of ideas, a desire to make a difference, a willingness to listen.
By Pat Dixon, PE, PMP

President of 
www.DPAS-INC.com, offering project management and engineering for industrial automation projects.

co-authored this month by Ian Verhappen, Senior Project Manager, CIMA+

Since Industry 4.0 is the connectivity of industrial operations through the Internet, the means of communication matters a lot. Security and performance were built into proprietary systems of the Industry 3.0 era, but in Industry 4.0 there are no guarantees and these concerns need to be addressed through careful network design.

This article will not be a comprehensive tutorial on data communications, but the intent is to list the technologies that are being discussed and used in Industry 4.0 for connectivity and bring appropriate context to better understand what they are and what they do.

At the field level, which we call Level 0, we have instrumentation. These devices measure process variable such as flow, pressure, temperature, and others that can be used as inputs to a process control system. We also had final control elements, such as valves and motors, that could receive output signals. Beginning in Industry 3.0, we could connect these devices with point to point wiring to transmit an analog electrical signal, which the controller converted into digital form inside the control system.  

Of course, in the paper industry we have some special sensors such as basis weight, moisture, and others that have special processing in a QCS. The digital representation of this could be transmitted through a serial link to the DCS (distributed control system) in Industry 3.0.

This analog era progressed into a fuller application of digital technology with smart field devices. These devices could digitize internally and communicate with controllers in a digital format. One of the earliest digital protocols for Level 0 was HART, followed by bus protocols such as Fieldbus and Profibus. Bus protocols allowed a single cable to connect multiple field devices. I remember the first demo of Fieldbus that I saw in which a valve was connected to an orange cable and on the screen the system automatically recognized the device with its manufacturer, model, serial number, and configuration data. Amazing!  

With these smart devices and digital Level 0 protocols came configuration (device description) files. These files are used to identify what configuration data is in the device, and to communicate with the device the system has to have the compatible file. Since different devices from different manufacturers could have different configuration, management of these files become challenging. To help, Asset Management Systems were developed to maintain an inventory of devices and configuration files and match them up.  

At the same time, standardization of these configuration files was in development. Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) was developed as a result of this effort, but further work incorporated EDDL into a more comprehensive approach called Field Device Integration (FDI). With FDI we have a common approach for managing smart Level 0 devices for configuration, commissioning, and diagnostics.

At this point we have brought technology up to the present day for Level 0 communications. Today we have all previously mentioned means to connectivity still in operation. There are lots of analog point-to-point connections along with a mix of digital protocols being used with their associated means of maintenance. It should be noted all of this technology applies to Industry 3.0 era systems. None of this technology has anything to do with Internet connectivity, and therefore has nothing to do with IIoT.

When we consider the connectivity between controllers/data acquisition devices/PLCs and the control system above them, we are now at Level 1. Industry 3.0 began with proprietary connections. Along the way, Modbus was developed as a means for devices like PLCs to send data back and forth over a serial link. Modbus is a standard that is still heavily used today, but it requires careful layout of registers and identification of what is going where. It is primarily intended for Boolean and 16-bit integers, so when floating point values are involved there needs to be creative use of the registers and bit packing/unpacking to make it work. I had to develop a floating-point Modbus conversion on a project last year, which shows we still rely heavily on legacy standards.

Along came OPC. This allowed easy connectivity to tags in controllers/data acquisition devices/PLCs by just browsing to them. All you had to do is know the name of the tag or parameter you were looking for and select it, and now you have the data. Easy! The problem was it was originally based on Microsoft DCOM, which provided a widely used security mechanism but could result in a vexing situation when things didn’t work. My article “The Myth and Magic of OPC” (http://www.dpas-inc.com/publications.html) describes the frustrations that many had with the original OPC. That lead to the evolution into OPC-UA, which removed the DCOM dependency.  

Today, Modbus is still in wide use both in serial and Ethernet forms, but OPC is the way most Level 1 communication works. Again, it should be noted that this connectivity has nothing to do with Internet connectivity. Therefore, Industry 4.0 (and therefore IIoT) are not in the discussion of Level 1 communication.

This brings us to Level 2, at which point we connect our control system to the rest of the facility or higher levels outside of the facility. This is where the edge begins.  The Level 3 network could have onsite historians, domain controllers, and file servers and can also have Internet connected (cloud based) connections to corporate resources or vendors. This is where the performance and security that were not a concern in Industry 3.0 are now major issues. I had an experience 2 years ago at a facility that lost view to the process because tags were added to a Level 3 historian that sucked up the bandwidth at Level 2. Careful network design and system administration is a new component of process control in Industry 4.0.

All of this is leadup to the subject of MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport). Though originally developed in 1999, it is the hottest buzzword in Industry 4.0 Level 2 communication. MQTT is an OSI Application Layer (Layer 7) like HTTP and hence like other web-based protocols requires tagging such as HTML or XML for web pages to represent the data but specifically applicable to use in Industry 4.0. It features a lightweight protocol with report by exception to reduce bandwidth usage. It incorporates security. It also pairs with Sparkplug, which provides context to data. With Sparkplug, a tag defined in a Level 1 device carries all of its configuration data all the way up through Level 3, so you only have to configure in one place. Much like the magical demo of Fieldbus I saw years ago, you can pull up a tag from a remote location and gets its description, ranges, units, and everything else you need without additional configuration. Wow!

This was a long way of describing the Industry 4.0 buzzword of MQTT, but it is difficult to understand without the context of history and the levels of communication below it. MQTT, along with Sparkplug, is a sweet solution to the performance and security concerns of Industry 4.0.


More background information on MQTT and Sparkplug can be found at “Sparkplug MQTT Topic & Payload Definition Version 2.1” Cirrus Link Solutions, https://s3.amazonaws.com/cirrus-link-com/Sparkplug+Topic+Namespace+and+State+ManagementV2.1+Apendix++Payload+B+format.pdf, April 2019 and “MQTT Version 3.1.1 Committee Specification” http://docs.oasis-open.org/mqtt/mqtt/v3.1.1/csprd02/mqtt-v3.1.1-csprd02.pdf

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
For an old mechanical engineer and papermaker like me, the Dixon/Verhappen article this month leaves my head spinning. However, I thought I would bring us back to the ground by describing the progress of IOT, just the "Internet of Things," at our home. This at least gives me some insight and hopefully helps you a bit, too, if software and instrumentation is not your strong suit.

Of course, I have been a computer geek for a long time. I bought my first Apple computer around Christmas 1979 and have bought countless computers since then, from laptops to workstations, to iMacs.

However, my baby-step journey down the personal IOT path began in 2014 when we installed the first solar panels on our house. These came with a controller and app for my phone. At the same time we went to a high end air conditioning system, with, of course, its own app. In 2017, the solar system was doubled in size and we are about to raise its capacity by 50% in the next week or so. The next thing to come into our lives and add another app to our phones was a wireless security system, which has now grown to countless motion and glass break detectors, seven water leakage detectors, seven smoke alarms, one carbon monoxide detector and so forth and so on. Then came Alexa, and there are four of these in the house now. Last year we added an auto lawnmower, with its own app and this past February we add an irrigation system with its own app. We remodeled the master bathroom recently and the heated floor has its own app.

Last year it was necessary to replace our WiFi router so we installed one with three nodes that triangulate off each other so you are never without WiFi.

I am in the process of installing motion detecting cameras (more WiFi connections). Our washing machine has a WiFi connection but I have not activated it, for for the life of me, I don't know why we need a washing machine on WiFi.

Then there are three VOIP lines plus three smart phones that use our network when they are around.

I don't think our home is much different than many paper mills, a mishmash of systems, some talking to each other, some not. One automaton has poked its head up and is trying to turn all this mess into a IOT system--that is Alexa. However, so far, her results are mixed...I ask her how the automower is doing and she responds with SiriusXM "70's on 7."

I hope our little newsletter here is directing you towards better solutions!
Industry 4.0: Thriving Through Transformation
By Chad Geretz

Business Development Manager
While automating your processes isn’t the only answer, it can play a major role in establishing a significantly more efficient and sustainable production model. The application of Industry 4.0 technology during this time will save jobs, it will keep your employees safe and educated. It will create new opportunities for innovation and business expansion. It’s good for the consumers, it’s good for the manufacturers, and it’s good for the workforce.
Why IIoT Projects Fail
By Olivier Pauzet

While some manufacturers do reap significant benefits from IIoT applications, many others have found that developing and then scaling IIoT applications from proof of concept (POC) to commercialization is a project that is difficult to complete successfully.
Small, independent manufacturers could be crucial to reshaping industry post-COVID- Here’s why
By George Juraj Salapa

Co-founder, Bardicredit GmbH
Despite the recognized benefits of industry 4.0 and the wider appreciation that this trend represents for the future, smaller manufacturers do face challenges in its implementation. For one, management at small manufacturers don’t have access to often benevolent capital markets to raise funds.
The Shift That Will Accelerate Smart Manufacturing Jobs
By Bill Berutti

Bill Berutti has more than two decades of experience leading global, high-growth cloud and enterprise software businesses. Before joining Plex, Berutti served as the president of a $1.5 billion division of multi-cloud management software firm BMC Software. Prior to BMC, he spent 17 years at PTC delivering solutions to manufacturers.

Nearshoring and the availability of smart technology, combined with a skilled workforce capable of using it, have the power to kick the smart manufacturing movement into overdrive in the years ahead. Industry 4.0 might be realized more quickly than we anticipated. 
Industree 4.0 is exclusively sponsored by SAP