Vol 2 Issue 2
November 2019
In This Issue

Standard Time?

In these articles, I have addressed many of the "buzzwords" of the Industry 4.0 era. Terms such as IIoT, cloud, edge, machine learning, big data, asset management, and others are being used today in ways that seem to lack clarity and are contradictory. My hope is to give clear definition to these terms so that we can better understand what this technology offers.

Perhaps it is time to develop a "standard"; a dictionary of terms that is formally adopted by a recognized organization. In the same way that we have standards to ensure compliance with communication protocols, test methods, and operational procedures, we could have a standard the provides uniform comprehension of Industry 4.0 terms.

Why do this? What would a standard do for us?

Imagine you are working with a supplier to implement an application at your mill. You have been discussing Industry 4.0 capabilities and you are excited about what you think you are going to get. When the application is delivered, it does not match your expectations. Capabilities that you thought you were going to get aren't there or exist in a way that is unsatisfactory. The supplier sincerely thinks they delivered what they were offering. This is what can happen when we have conflicting or vague interpretations of terms.

For example, a very large supplier in our industry recently stated in a webinar that an IIoT sensor is defined by the property that it is measuring, such as vibration, and has nothing to do with connectivity to the public Internet. Others are saying that Internet connectivity is the only attribute that make a sensor IIoT (industrial INTERNET of things). If you purchased an IIoT application and found that you could not access the data from the corporate office, would you be satisfied?

A standard could be a basis for both parties to ensure they are talking about the same thing. It could be referred to in a contract or specification, in the same way we reference other standards, to ensure there is a common interpretation. Instead of every firm having to write their own language, a reference to a formally adopted standard would save that effort and provide uniform application.

Of course, we can't standardize the world. Not everything lends itself to a standard and having ourselves too locked in can make us inflexible when we need to negotiate, and suppliers want to innovate. The practicality of such an effort needs to be considered.

Also, there are some formal definitions in place. For example, the Working Group on Industry 4.0, under the authority of the German government, created the term and meaning of Industry 4.0. I my opinion, while this is the formal organization that provides the term and its definition, I do not find clear statements to describe what is and what isn't an Industry 4.0 application. I would hope that a "standard" could clearer meaning, resolve conflicting interpretations, or fill in definition where it is lacking.

I am in conversations with some people in our industry about the merits of such an effort. If you have interest in being part of the discussion or have an opinion regarding the merit of such an effort, feel free to email me at PDixon@Global-Business.net.

Pat Dixon is Southwest Region Engineering Manager for Global Process Automation (GPA), a controls system integration firm.   

His LinkedIn profile is https://www.linkedin.com/in/dixonpatrick/.


The Devil is in the Details

As we as an industry move into Industry 4.0, Manufacturing IoT, or whatever it may be called within your company, it is important to not underestimate the effort needed for implementation. IoT sounds great, is great and will provide tremendous efficiency improvements throughout your organization, IF properly implemented.

Acquisition costs for software, hardware and hardware installation are the top line considerations and important when evaluating packages and suppliers. What is often underestimated is the effort needed internally once these initial steps are complete.

Storerooms provide an excellent microcosm of the entire process. If your facility is over six weeks old, there are already handwritten notations in your storeroom. Older and the problem only gets worse.

Let me outline the size of the implementation problem. Let's just suppose you have 200,000 items in your storeroom. Each one of these needs a Bill of Material (BOM) with certain fields completed. You have someone enter a few of these in your new system. This is likely a manual entry system.

You pick a half dozen items at random and discover it takes 5 minutes per item to enter it, check for accuracy and so forth. That's 17,000 hours, or 8.5 effort years. So, you need a temporary staff of 9 people to get this job completed in a year.

But...that is a staff of 9 competent and trained people. Additionally, this will require at least a couple Subject Matter Experts (SME's) to answer the inevitable questions that will arise as various items have no description or don't fit the BOM fields. You'll have to multiply your time estimate by some efficiency factor.

Then there are the items that are in stores but not in the storeroom. You know, those items that are too big or too impractical to put in the storeroom. It doesn't make sense to store nuts and bolts and pulper rotors on the same shelf, does it? What do you do with these anomalies?

So, here is the problem. We can have all sorts of senior level buy-in, a sophisticated hardware and software implementation team, but in some areas the quality of the final result, hence the ability to gain the return on investment expected, can be dependent on a team of clerical folks. This clerical team may lack the motivation of everyone else involved, yet they are just as important as anyone else. They just may be more important than some others who we think of as key to the project.

It is key that the details be properly recorded. It is foolish to think that others who already have full time jobs can do this "in their spare time." They are full time for a reason. Additionally, if such work is done on a start-stop basis in and among other tasks, there are two problems that arise. The first is the lack of efficiency in starting and stopping a distinct and disparate set of tasks. The second is maintaining a continuity of quality in the inputs.

For instance, if one day you describe a certain item as a pulley and the next day you describe a similar item as a sheave, your data becomes a bit of a mishmash and another issue has been exposed. That issue is this: one of the first things you need to do is develop a dictionary or lexicon of nomenclature, so we call all similar items by the same generic descriptor through out the facility. This effort needs to be thorough, exacting and first in your planning.

In summary, purchasing and installing the hardware and software is simply the beginning. There are many other tasks that must be considered and executed successfully before you can declared your IOT installation complete and useful.

His LinkedIn profile is

Stora Enso's 5G solution recognized at Industry of Things Awards

Stora Enso's implementation of 5G to enable 360┬░camera solutions in the production environment was awarded 2ndplace in the Industry of Things World Awards.

Read the entire article here.

Daniel Brightmore


PLCs and controllers are being used as intelligent gateways to IIoT
PLCs/PACs are the unseen workhorses in our processes and material handling/packaging equipment today. Yet they're ubiquitous with prices on some models starting under $100, and many use either open-source or proprietary operating systems (OSs). Today's controllers often are capable of withstanding not only harsh physical environments, but also dumb programming mistakes made by harried technicians and engineers, and would-be hack attacks emanating from outside or inside the industrial network.

Read the entire article  here.
Wayne Labs, Food Engineering


Which Industries Will Benefit Most from the IIoT?
A common statement among historians about the 1849 gold rush was that the people who were most likely to make money from their endeavors were the ones who made the tools for the miners and not the actual miners themselves. As so many industries including transportation, manufacturing, technology, energy and healthcare pursue the benefits associated with the industrial internet of things (IIoT), this colloquial wisdom stands true. The IIoT can equip companies with the information and data to run their businesses more effectively. It's no wonder why over half the companies who successfully use this technology have reported increases in revenue.

Read the entire article  here.

Joseph Zulick is a writer and manager at  MRO Electric and Supply

AI for IIoT: How Artificial Intelligence Will Take the Industrial Internet of Things to New Heights

  • The Artificial Intelligence sector will be a $190 billion industry by the year 2025. (Source: Market & Market)
  • 40 percent of the digital transformation initiatives in 2019 are powered by AI. (Source: IDC)
  • There will be more than 64 billion IoT devices by 2025, up from about 10 billion in 2018. (Source: Business Insider)
  • Business investment will account for more than 50 percent of the overall IoT spending in 2020. (Source: PwC)
  • IoT has the potential to generate $4 trillion to $11 trillion in economic value by 2025. (Source: McKinsey Global Institute)
Forestry sector uses Fourth Industrial Revolution processes

Plantations require a new approach in understanding the variability - in resource assessment, quality of processing, and manage the variability to identify elite gerplasm for commercial plantation deployment; identify key site and species interactions; ensure silvicultural practice matches the down-stream processing needs; and undertake tree improvement

Read the entire article here.

David Thien


Coming up next month...
  • IoT Solutions World Congress--Digitizing Industries
  • What is 5G...and will it revolutionize Industry 4.0?
  • Microsoft and Nokia collaborate to accelerate digital transformation and Industry 4.0
  • and much more

Industree 4.0 is exclusively sponsored by SAP