In 2018, Industry 4.0 achieved “viral” status as it was a frequent theme of articles, workshops, and webinars in the industrial marketplace. Of the potential benefits, Automation World said, “Industrial Internet of Things, isn’t just a new way of trying to get you to loosen your purse strings. It brings the promise of improved business outcomes.”

So, is Industry 4.0 just another over-hyped technology wave or an important new platform of innovation? To provide more insight into the state of Industry 4.0, I interviewed several respected InSource partners to ask about their experiences last year and where they see Industry 4.0 heading in 2019.

My guest panel included:

Matt Newton, Senior Portfolio Marketing Manager at AVEVA. AVEVA is a global leader in engineering and industrial software. In 2018, AVEVA combined with Schneider Electric’s industrial software business to create a $1B industrial software company with a portfolio focused on driving digital transformation across the entire asset and operational life cycles to maximize return on capital and improve profitability. For over 20 years InSource has proudly selected AVEVA as the foundation of our Manufacturing IT Solutions portfolio and have combined their award-winning industrial technology, including Wonderware, Citect, Indusoft, Avantis and Prism with deep application experience to help our clients become more productive and profitable.

Barry Dickerson, Former Vice President of Global Sales at Callisto Integration. Callisto Integration is a leader in the design, development, and implementation of advanced systems for the manufacturing industry. A global AVEVA Endorsed Systems Integration partner, they have delivered solutions to customers since 1988. Their solutions cover the manufacturing supply chain from materials receiving through manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution centers. Two-thirds of their customers are in the Fortune 500, operating in a variety of industries including Food & Beverage, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Discrete Assembly, Aerospace & Defense, Power Generation, Metals and Automotive.

Brent Humphreys, Principal Technology Strategist a and Dan Engelhard, Sales Director at Stone Technologies. Stone Technologies, Inc. is a national AVEVA Endorsed Systems Integrator Partner. Stone has provided manufacturing consulting and industrial automation services, including process control and manufacturing execution system (MES/MOM) design, software development, and commissioning since 1996. They are a recognized leader in complex process and business information applications and is the “go to” integrator for many Fortune 500 Companies. Stone specializes in Business Intelligence, OEE, and downtime, batch management, WIP tracking, production, and energy web-based reporting and process automation/control.

Does your company implement Industry 4.0 solutions? If so, what might you consider your top three areas?

Matt Newton (AVEVA), feels their Industry 4.0 portfolio is complete, offering a portfolio of solutions in all areas but autonomous machines and additive manufacturing

Brent (Stone), is well versed in the AVEVA offering, as an endorsed Systems Integration partner. We are creating Analytics solutions and AI with Digital Twin Models and Big Data-driven by IIoT. It is difficult to separate into separate disciplines because they are all legs on the same stool.

Barry (Callisto) agrees that Industry 4.0 is an integral part of the solutions they create for their clients. “The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is core to what we do and have always done at Callisto. He believes second is Horizontal and Vertical integration and, not surprisingly, corresponding to the increasing number of platforms, our third area is Cyber Security where we conduct an inventory of assets of the network and make sure they are secure.

Which Industry 4.0 areas show the most market interest right now? 

At AVEVA, our most active segment is Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Customers are actively piloting solutions for predictive asset analytics and preventive maintenance. Our solutions in Augmented Reality(AR) to augment operations and maintenance are a close second.

Dan (Stone) shares that Analytics and AI are the biggest wins for our clients right now. Whether this is driven by traditional data sources or by IIoT/Big Data, the goal is to use data to unlock additional value, drive continuous improvement projects, and provide new insights into the process, quality, and customer demand.

Barry (Callisto) also sees the most interest from clients in exploring Big Data/Analytics to improve operational efficiency, followed closely by Digital Twin initiatives, which seek to create digital replicas of both physical assets and process. The digital replica contains a model with attributes and capabilities of the physical asset, providing a platform for companies to collect data about the assets and ultimately enhance their performance.

All three companies see strong, growing interest. Dan shared a sentiment expressed by all three companies, “Almost every customer we talk with is interested in addressing this.”

Could you briefly describe a solution you developed or saw this year that represents a unique or innovative implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies

For Matt, the application of augmented and virtual reality by Italpresse Gauss to launch an innovative maintenance service for their metal casting machines was cutting edge. With their new tools, HME and AMe, based on core technology from AVEVA, operators can point a camera-enabled tablet to a machine part, and extract augmented data and maintenance documentation to diagnose and repair faulty components or processes. A video overview of this solution can be seen here .

Barry shared Callisto’s cutting edge work at KwikTrip to create a digital operations platform for a greenfield 200,000 square foot bakery. The bar set by their client’s ownership team was very high: design the new bakery to be “great for KwikTrip, good for the industry, and a showcase for the partners involved in its construction.” The application, presented at the AVEVA User Conference in Dallas last September, feels next gen, as operators in this partially “lights out” factory use iPads connected to their on-prem cloud to run the plant. Data is pulled from the edge devices directly to the cloud. Everything is web-based and we are leveraging mobility to make operators as efficient as possible. A short slide-show featuring some of the technical design and implementation using AVEVA OMI can be found here.

Brent shared a Stone client’s project to provide a standardized tool set that produces machine performance data, digital twin, and analytics tools for Machine Learning/Deep Learning on process data. The enterprise-wide project required deploying new infrastructure, including firewalls and edge computing devices at all company manufacturing sites to enable data collection. From this foundation, they built the connectivity to both existing control systems, as well as new IIoT sensing for vibration, temperature, and power consumption through third party providers. This latter piece enabled the company to collect machine utilization where existing controls couldn’t provide data, and the cost of traditional IO was significantly more expensive.

Were there any lessons learned as the Industry 4.0 project developer or from the user?

Matt summarized his three takeaways:

  • Best practices – customers who have the best experience have established a project team that is cross-functional and represents the different disciplines to look at the business.
  • Understand the value case for adopting the technology. There must be a business reason or underlying hypothesis for doing an Industry 4.0 project, not just technology because it is the shiny new thing.
  • Avoid pilot purgatory – clients that are most successful go through the effort to document a set of requirements, success metrics, and a realistic timeline.

Dan and Brent from Stone echoed some of these same themes:

  • The focus on these projects should remain on the business and how the business will get additional value from the solution. Much is said about the technology, but the real achievements are in finding ways to liberate the data and make it actionable. Early wins with a project will be in utilizing data from traditional control systems and legacy solutions.
  • Much of the IIoT focus is on streaming live data (telemetry data), but there are likely other data sources with valuable information and context that will be necessary. Batching systems, existing performance solutions, quality systems, etc. all add to the richness and quality of the data set available for analysis.

And Barry summarized some of their lessons learned from the KwikTrip Program

  • Because the success of an Industry 4.0 program like this involves touching so many levels from control to ERP, it is even more important to have good collaboration with the ERP/MES team and even OEMs, to make sure they see the vision and help the OEM design equipment to be data ready. Industry X.0 requires someone to serve as a collaboration facilitator between teams.

 And the conclusion is?

All three companies agreed that Industry 4.0 has crossed the disillusionment threshold and is now strongly moving to an adoption phase. Their shared excitement stems from seeing their clients unleash the potential of digital transformation with tools that are lower cost, easier to use and disruptive as they break through the barriers of traditional models.


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