Laying the foundations
with an IIoT platform
IIoT platforms provide the foundation for your entry into Industry 4.0. The system is a central collection point for services, also known as applications, concerning the subject of IIoT. Such platforms provide a full range of structures and the corresponding methods needed to also operate the selected services properly. These comprise, for example, the stability and security of the platform and its services, or a corresponding user, rights and role management system.
The correct platform is always chosen in accordance with the required application. However, you should always ensure that the selected platform is scaleable and is able to meet future requirements. It is crucial here to set up a link with the correct cloud service providers who can scale the computing capacity and data memory at the touch of a button. It should also be possible to operate the individual services independently from one another in order to allow you to expand or replace them if necessary. At the same time, however, there should be clearly defined interfaces for connecting services in the use case in question, thus generating even greater benefits.
The following section provides you with a brief summary of the most significant terms used in the field of IIoT and then describes a custom-made solution for the beverage and liquid-food industry.
Understanding the IIoT
with the aid of significant buzzwords
There are a lot of buzzwords circulating with regard to IIoT, but it is not always clear what they exactly mean. Some of the most significant buzzwords are explained in the following section.
Digitalisation or digital transformation
“Digitalisation” and “digital transformation” are terms which basically describe a large number of advantages for companies. Digitalisation not only optimizes individual processes but also forms the basis of innovations which could not be implemented thus far due to technical and economic limitations. Now new solutions and products can be created in all areas, for example, on the basis of comprehensive data analyses and findings. Access to large, structured quantities of data can help to optimise value creation, recognise customer needs faster and meet their needs better, or help to guarantee a higher product quality using greater production process transparency. In the industry, just about everyone agrees that, long term, it will only be possible to remain competitive in this fast changing world if the company undergoes a digital transformation.
However, this transformation requires focus in two areas: organisational (e.g. budget, personnel) and technical (e.g. data, infrastructure) readiness. Both must be afforded the necessary attention before a holistic digital transformation can be achieved in a company.
The term “multi-tenancy” also means multi-client capable. With a platform, this means that several clients share the same (cloud) architecture, and the corresponding software and hardware. The positive results for you: Licence costs are lowered, overheads and (hardware) resources can be better utilised and high safety standards can be quoted at moderate prices. It is also possible to distribute updates to all of the users in a quick and uncomplicated manner.
It goes without saying that multi-tenancy platforms must ensure that the data security of the user is guaranteed and the data cannot get mixed up. These requirements were already taken into consideration during the development of such platforms through, for example, the creation of name areas for each user and basing them on encryption algorithms. Data protection agreements make the background architecture transparent, allow a detailed insight to be gained and make it possible for the data to be backed up.
Data collection and visualisation
The collection of standardised data is one of the most important fundamental requirements for every IIoT application and Artificial Intelligence (AI) project. This first step is unavoidable if you wish to work towards predictive maintenance, for example.
However, in the beverage industry, it is not possible to pick out the required data from machines of every design and every construction year with 100 percent success as the Installed Base is built upon a high variety of technologies. To overcome this hurdle, assistance is available in the form of an Edge Device which allows data to be transparently collected and processed for systems of any age or type - thus laying the foundations for progress towards achieving a smart factory of the future.
The next step entails the visualisation of the collected data which is required to make analyses and plans possible in the first place. In addition to the data quality, the design of the user interfaces plays an important role. To ensure that you can navigate quickly and clearly, you are provided with services which do not require any previous knowledge on how to use them and which make the uncomplicated use of their functions possible thanks to the most basic graphics, i.e. through the use of icons and virtual machine illustrations.
The term “micro-services” refers to a software architecture with many small, self-contained services. In contrast to monolithic software which unifies and centralises all of the functions in itself, micro-services have the advantage that they can be developed independently from one another while also being able to be flexibly combined. Depending on their use and combination, they can also be intermeshed, thus ensuring additional benefits. Furthermore, feedback can be recorded as quickly as possible and the individual services individually adjusted to suit you and your requirements. Scalability, expansions and combinations – even with external products – can therefore be implemented in principle at any time. The communication interfaces simply need to be defined.
If you decide in favour of products which utilise this architecture, you can benefit from an increased speed and agility in your company and will be best equipped for future developments.
The theme of Industry 4.0 has gained a great deal of significance over the last few years. One fundamental reason for this happening is the relatively inexpensive expansion of hardware to include digital services. Bottling lines are moving further and further away from being purely a mechanical construction. Additional software makes it possible to monitor and control the system in an uncomplicated and automated manner.
In addition to cost and time savings, the subject of user experience also plays a key role. The primary focus should therefore be on solutions designed according to UX design rules. Its seamless, uncomplicated integration into your working day is possible with a high level of acceptance within the user group thanks to an easy-to-use and clearly arranged solution which can be operated from your tablet or smartphone.
with the right partner
Once an understanding of the most important basics has been achieved, the next step deals with how digitalisation could look for you in particular. To answer this, it is first important to clarify what your own requirements are, how your company can benefit from the use of digital solutions and what foundations need to be created before you can keep up with the competition when it comes to digital upgrading.
But we have good news for you: We will not leave you to do this alone!
We will gladly provide support along the way in the form of a custom-made IIoT platform called Share2Act. This platform was developed specifically for the beverage and liquid-food industry and supports you at every stage of the total value chain.
You are provided with everything you need from us, from a single source: Everything from the initial consultation through to the implementation of Share2Act in your company and an in-depth knowledge of the industry.