Rockwell Automation has launched an ambitious plan to accompany automation in manufacturing plants, regardless of their level of digital maturity. We look at the benefits it brings.
Industries are not stopping in the race for automation and need strategic partners with enough experience to guide them on that path. At the Rockwell Automation campus in Medellín, Colombia, they work on various fronts regarding the future of industrial automation and the software that supports it.
César Arango, Engineering Manager, Rockwell Automation, said: “When I talk about the future, I refer to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) proposal in the cloud, that is, the possibility of hosting all of an industry’s software in the cloud and not on local servers.”
In addition to having deployed the necessary programs as well as benefiting from the associated saving costs, workers can access various aspects of the operation process without being in the plant.
SaaS offers advantages such as multi-location, immediate connection and collaboration between multiple locations. The suite that provides these services is FactoryTalk Hub, focused on software to support an ecosystem of industrial applications. And it is in line with what companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Salesforce and PTC, among others, have done.
“88% of executives expect to optimize technology through services that are in the cloud, not by using their servers. Services is where we start to play,” said Arango.
Rockwell Automation intends that in the next five years, IT and OT (Operational Technology) converge to take advantage of the significant advantages and computing capacity that the cloud offers and, thus, give better tools to the OT world.
This convergence will open many possibilities such as providing access to the software from anywhere, sharing information internally and with clients, enabling on-demand scaling, and as a result, generating cost reduction and performance improvement.
The products they have been developing allow the client to view the status of a plant in real-time or have analysis based on Big Data to identify deviations of any of the devices.
Arango points out that if a conveyor belt in a factory stops, the entire plant must stop. And this may be since no one perceived the vibration level was changing slightly for a few days. It is something that could be foreseen. This solution aims to optimize costs and generate fewer failures in the plants.
FactoryTalk in three stages
In FactoryTalk Hub, there are three main chapters: Design, operation and maintenance. For its development, Rockwell Automation has made a strategic alliance with Microsoft. In the Design Hub, the tools allow you to migrate from previous versions of drivers to the most up-to-date ones to develop the capacity of emulation and design through the cloud.
For example, if you are looking to design a cookie production plant, you can simulate the entire process in the cloud through software before creating it in the physical world.
The Medellin team engages in the Design Hub with file type conversion tools, Logix controller update, project analysis and digital engineering, emulation tools, digital twins and many other emerging technologies.
The Operation Hub, Plex Systems (recently acquired by Rockwell Automation) is a leader in cloud-native innovative manufacturing solutions operating in 2,400 plants in 37 countries and processing around 8.5 billion transactions per day. Through software with the same name, it allows managing and automating production. To connect on-premises or edge devices to the cloud requires IoT technology.
As the Maintenance Hub, Rockwell Automation, with its subsidiary Fiix, provides a cloud-native computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) powered by AI.
Then there is the FactoryTalk Vault, launched a year ago at the Automation Fair. This application drives the management and control of industrial automation programs, allowing companies to optimize their backup costs. It combines with design tools to keep their control software versions in the cloud updated.
About Rockwell Automation
Rockwell Automation is a provider of industrial automation and Digital Transformation solutions. Rockwell Automation sectors include intelligent devices, software and control, and lifecycle services. The company operates its business approximately 100 countries worldwide, including United States, China, Canada, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia.Click below to share this article