It sounds straightforward: Industry 4.0 needs Technology 4.0, but what exactly distinguishes a modern IT system for manufacturing? What points do companies need to pay attention to if they want to leap the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
According to management consultants, “Made in Germany” is currently experiencing a renaissance in Industry 4.0. In other words, German companies are playing a leading role internationally when it comes to IT for Industry 4.0. The market research and consulting company Information Services Group Germany GmbH (ISG) has identified the five leading providers in Germany in its study “IoT Industry 4.0 – the way to the digital factory” – including FORCAM GmbH in Ravensburg.
MES or IIoT platform: What is hip?
The most important thing, according to ISG: modern production data acquisition no longer collects data in closed IT systems. “Rather, flexible, modular, and fundamentally open solutions are needed to take advantage of the great possibilities and opportunities of the networked digital age in manufacturing.” According to this, modern IIoT platforms offer a counter-design to the monolithic MES concept (MES=Manufacturing Execution System). It must meet the following requirements for digitally controlled production:
- Connectivity: connection of all equipment and systems (shop and top floor),
- Flexibility: Easy reaction to changing production requirements,
- Speed: real-time processing of all data,
- Transparency: real-time conversion from Big Data to Smart Data,
- Openness: Open Programming Interfaces (Open API),
- Mobility: Work from any location on all mobile devices,
- Globality: Processing of different languages, time zones, and computer clocks.
Technology 4.0 is a bit like a good wardrobe: it consists of different parts (apps) that fit together, even in various combinations, and which are at the same time open for new apps with which they also harmonize.
Combinability, flexibility, and openness – as an IT solution, this is best achieved with a single platform that integrates all elements. The central part, the “Connectivity” or “Edge” layer, functions like a bridge over which all data is steered in the right direction.
FORCAM FORCE Bridge is responsible for the fast and straightforward connection of all machines, devices, or sensors and must itself be able to network the heterogeneous production landscapes. In addition to data acquisition, the connectivity layer contains further apps for the integration of existing IT platforms. With the help of adapters, external systems can be connected smoothly. The apps can be put together according to your needs.