Attendees of this week’s Rockwell Automation TechED event are no strangers to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Indeed, automation and controls professionals represent “where the IIoT rubber meets the manufacturing road,” said Frank Kulaszewicz, senior vice president architecture and software, in his keynote address to a packed house of more than 2,200 at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort and conference center in Orlando, Fla.
Control devices, sensors and networks—the world that TechED attendees inhabit every day—are the source of the data that feeds the IIoT. “What that data needs is contextualization and analytics to turn it into information, which in turn can be used to make data-driven decisions,” Kulaszewicz said.
The Rockwell Automation approach to the Industrial IoT increasingly centers on providing its customers the ability to turn that data access, contextualization and analytics into business value as quickly and easily as possible, according to Kulaszewicz.
From the standpoint of data and information flows, this means channeling data from smart connected assets up through the company’s scalable, Integrated Architecture platform and into a flexible information solutions environment, “an open, scalable ecosystem for our applications and those from our partners and customers, too,” Kulaszewicz explained.
One way that Rockwell Automation is accelerating time-to-value is with tools that literally stand themselves up through automated discovery of assets and zero-configuration dashboards. Another is through increased scalability, which means users can quickly deploy fit-for-purpose applications such as for execution or analytics in the cloud, on-premise or at the edge. “The whole purpose of fit-to-purpose applications is to provide faster implementation, faster time-to-value for our customers,” Kulaszewicz said.
For example, the company’s FactoryTalk ProductionCentre applications can be deployed quickly and incrementally to fit a particular customer’s needs. Kulaszewicz pointed to a recent project for Andersen Windows, which needed to quickly boost real-time visibility into its material consumption patterns, and in so doing was able to boost production throughput and quality as well. And at Metso, a provider of mining machinery, which needed improved visibility into crusher operations to head off unplanned downtime. A pilot implementation proved successful, and in short order the application was rolled out to other types of machines and to other customers.
“There are many opportunities to positively impact operational productivity, asset reliability and maintenance, as well as risk management,” Kulaszewicz said. “The IIoT is bringing us into a new world.”