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Countdown to Automation Fair: Spotlight on Digital Manufacturing

Enabling Digital Manufacturing means not just embracing the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) but also taking the time to get smart on the latest best practices, technologies and solutions. There’s no better place to do that than the upcoming Automation Fair #AutoFair15. As always, this event is a ‘can’t miss’ conference for all of you who are in controls, operations or IT for industrial companies.  This year, Automation Fair will be held in the MidWest, in Chicago’s McCormick Convention Center from November 18th thru 19th.

As part of our strong strategic relationship with Rockwell Automation, Cisco will once again have a significant presence at this event including speaker presentations, participation in industry forums and our own booth (#1045) as well as participation in the Industrial IP Advantage booth (#1340).

Our goal is to help customers start their own digital manufacturing transformation and to showcase how they can– connect theAUTOMATION_FAIR 2015_BANNER_AD_150x685 factory to the enterprise, protect company assets, collect the right data and effect performance. Here’s a quick snapshot of the exciting solutions that enable digital manufacturing which we will be demonstrating in the Cisco booth:

  • Connected Machines: This week at Discover 2015, we are struck by how well received by customers our joint SmartBox offering with machine builder Mazak has been. Literally every machine shop customer, big and small, with whom I spoke with is struggling with visibility on utilization and actual quality throughput. Enabling OEE dashboards on every machine tool is going to be a huge hit. Mazak themselves achieved +17-pts improvement in utilization across their 800,000 sq-ft production operations by deploying the SmartBox beta within their own facilities over the last several months. This Connected Machines demo leverages our work with Mazak and leading robotics manufacturer Fanuc to showcase several leading edge manufacturing solutions such as predictive maintenance, plant PC virtualization, remote and mobile access, energy management, video collaboration and security.
  • Connected Assets for Location: Inventory control and WIP management are critical to driving production efficiency. Missing or misplaced material can bring a plant to its knees. With factory wireless and real-time location services, your assets are tracked and location immediately known. Historic views of paths taken by assets can reveal opportunities for efficiency.
  • Training Certification: Operational and informational technologies are converging into a united industrial infrastructure. While these technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, there is a growing skills gap, creating a need for individuals equipped to manage and operate the manufacturing facilities of the future. Learn more about the Cisco Certified Network Associate Industrial (CCNA Industrial) certification which is for plant administrators, control system engineers and traditional network engineers in the manufacturing.
  • Security for Manufacturing: Manufacturing is the number one targeted Industry for cyberattacks and security breaches. Combined with an aging industrial machinery infrastructure, there are significant security risks and challenges. The security for manufacturing demo showcases an effective before/during/after solution. This holistic security solution addresses the critical needs of securing manufacturing operation while improving productivity and reducing operation downtime.

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Cisco Partners with Mazak and MEMEX to Connect Machines

At the Mazak Discover Conference being held in Kentucky this week, I have the honor presenting daily keynotes during one of the largest industrial user events. It is an exciting week, as we are announcing an industry-shaping collaboration with Mazak Corporation, a global leader in the design and manufacture of machine tools, and MEMEX who provides an industrial Internet communications platform for machine-monitoring. Called a “SmartBox,” this technology will enable real-time manufacturing data and analytics from Mazak machines to significantly improve machine efficiency (OEE) for Mazak’s manufacturing customers. .

The SmartBox is a component within Mazak’s iSMART Factory concept and takes advantage of our Cisco Connected Machines solution to provide insights into machine operations. Using a fog computing model, manufacturing data is gathered via the MTConnect protocol. MT Connect software agents run directly on our ruggedized, industry-leading Cisco Industrial Ethernet (IE) 4000 switch – providing real-time visibility and insights into data right on the factory floor.  In addition to switching and compute capabilities, we are also embedding network level security to help prevent any issues with unauthorized access to or from the machines and equipment within a network. Take a look at this video on the Cisco IE4000 switch for more detail:

So far, the feedback I have been receiving at this show has been overwhelming- customers feel that this solution will provide immense value to their manufacturing operations. Mazak and customers will be now fully aware of program stops, feed holds, Read More »

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Introducing “The Smart Bottling and Distribution System” from Cisco

When it comes to the Internet of Everything, few industries have as much opportunity, or as much at stake, as manufacturing. Specifically, certain verticals such as Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Food and Beverage manufacturing face unique challenges and opportunities. According to the Price Waterhouse 2015 Consumer Goods Report , the current market is seeing “changing consumer attitudes toward products and brands, as the great fragmentation of consumer markets takes another turn. In response, companies must dramatically shift the route they take to reach consumers in terms of both product distribution and communications.” In particular, bottlers have to adopt to these industry trends as well as changing distribution, fleet and territorial roles. Success in this new era requires smarter, more streamlined operations and the ability to respond to opportunities and problems in real time.

At Cisco, we are constantly seeking new ways to connect data, people, processes and things to help businesses thrive. Our goal is to continually drive solutions that simplify systems for our customers so they can focus on adding real value to their business. That’s why we’re excited to announce The Bottling and Distribution Smart System powered by Cisco, a user-friendly portal that we created while working with leading global bottling and distribution enterprises.

Our customers in the bottling and distribution industry have told us that their businesses suffer when they have to patch together different solutions for reporting, fleet management, maintenance records and more. Read More »

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IoT for Food Manufacturing: Beyond Food Safety to Savvy Marketing

Recently, Cisco announced a very cool partnership with pasta maker and Italian foods provider Barilla Foods, ‘From the ground to the grocer, Barilla makes use of Cisco’s IoE to give consumers insight into the journey of their food’.   This partnership is the result of working together across the food industry as well as Barilla’s vision to provide more transparency and visibility to their customers. In this age of well-publicized food contamination, fraud and other issues, the Internet of Things (IoT) can truly be a key enabler for strategic-thinking food, beverage and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. In addition, as Nic Villa writes in his blog The Internet of Food – Improving Lives, the “Bringing the Internet of Everything to life in the food sector makes our lives healthier and our choices easier. This new digital revolution merges technology, sustainability and well-being…”

The power of what Barilla is implementing is incredible for a few different reasons. Let me explain. Beyond just food safety, it is a savvy marketing strategy.   Barilla can now improve their marketing to highlight the information that the millenials want – where did food come from, what did it go thru and were there any issues? This cool video from Barilla’s Parma, Italy factory shows the amazing processes that happen in the factory just to produce pasta:

Track and Trace Opportunities to Meet Regulatory Requirements

With track and trace technology, many customers will have the information at their fingertips as to where their food came from. Manufacturers can not only use this information for regulatory compliance but can now also add the information to enhance their Read More »

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Connected Machines: Reducing Unplanned Downtime and Improving Service

Many manufacturers operate at high volumes, and unplanned production downtime is costly. One leading auto manufacturer estimates unplanned downtime in a factory can cost them as much as $20,000 per minute. Often these line down situations are the result of production machine failures that could be avoided if data from the machine was available to anticipate the failure so a planned repair could take place in a standard maintenance window. I’ve traveled the world recently and visited with the world’s leading manufacturers across many sectors. What I have seen is that almost all of them are focused on reducing unplanned downtime with predictive maintenance.

This issue is also driving plant floor machine builders and their manufacturing customer to prioritize their digitization and IoT efforts to connect machines to enable real time access to new types of structured and unstructured data from production processes. This is a recurring theme reiterated in a recent survey by SCM World and Cisco. We asked plant managers and business line executives what “things” they were connecting now and in the years ahead. Production equipment was listed as a top priority, with 62 percent planning to connect these resources by 2020.

SCM slide CM blog

Machine Builder OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are facing new business imperatives, as well, to grow services business and customer intimacy. As their manufacturing customers demand the highest possible availability, quality and uptime, OEMs are striving to become more agile and proactive. They’re looking for solutions to enable zero-touch deployment and provisioning. They’re exploring ways to control support costs with remote connectivity and monitoring. They’re also taking more control of the aftermarket for parts and tools. Connectivity and remote access are essential capabilities to enable new predictive maintenance and machine-as-a-service (MaaS) business models.

By some estimates there are more than 60 million machines in factories throughout the world and 92% are not network-connected.1 So the task is enormous and only achievable with a simple, secure and scalable solution from a company that can deliver it globally.   Read More »

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