Taking smart manufacturing to the next level

Ana Neto Technical Leave a Comment

With the modernization of manufacturing, machines became connected to PLCs and sensors, and the manufacturing processes became more complex.

But how smart is this modern “smart manufacturing”? There is still a gap between the factory automation at the production floor and the enterprise software, as they are not connected.

Higher management never receives real-time (or even near real-time) information from their production plants. To make matters worse, they sometimes get the wrong information from the production plants, as data collection involves manual processes (and therefore includes human error).

What do I get by connecting machines and business software?

IIoT is a great way to collect a massive amount of data from connected devices on a production plant. Using that data, you can:

  • Trigger changes to the actions machines and robots are running at the moment.
  • Fix a defect in the product that is being created by performing self-healing tasks before continuing a process.
  • Analyse and understand the current reality of business. It is possible to have insights on how to become more productive, more predictable, or more flexible. The more data you collect, process, and present to the business deciders, the more assertive predictions and recommendations become.

Smart manufacturing monitoring

Smart manufacturing – Now is the time

Until recently, IT departments had a long, expensive, and hard path to follow to make a solution available for getting manufacturing machines to talk to the company’s business software.

Although the fundamental standard OPC UA has been around since 2006, you had to build the connection to the business software from scratch and you were probably not sure where to start.

This is no longer the case due to the OPC UA connector built on the Connect Bridge integration platform.

The Connect Bridge platform already had connectors to most business software: Microsoft SharePoint, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft Exchange, among many others. The new OPC UA connector can be used to pull machine data and then push it to the business software.

The integration software built using these connectors adapts perfectly to the specific business needs but has all the advantages of a pre-tested, secure solution.

How can this be? The Connect Bridge integration platform accepts simple SQL statements through standard ODBC, JDBC, and Web Services drivers. Connect Bridge then translates these queries to standard API calls native to the target system. The final solution can be such as the one you can see in this demo video below.

Smart manufacturing + Smart sealing for auditable processes

Digital Transformation for Industrial Solutions

When building your custom software using Connect Bridge and the OPC UA connector, you can seal machine reports, SCADA or PLC data right from the machines.

These Smart Seals use Blockchain technology. You can seal selected documents with one click. You can also choose to seal all documents. Using the Smart Seals on the relevant documents and reports makes the production process auditable by design.

The Smart Seal is impossible to falsify or tamper with because it uses Blockchain technology. You can verify a document’ seal at any time. This way, Blockchain finally becomes an advantage your company can use right now. Blockchain enables a product-driven business process that is both lean and auditable.

Takeaway

Now is the time to have your machine’s data give you the information you need, when you need it (right away) and where you need it (in the business software you already use). Take advantage of what you already have, add a little Connect Bridge magic and end up with a practical and down-to-earth software solution that delivers what you need.

To see how this works for yourself, think of which software you would like to integrate and ask for a free demo.

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