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Improve Worker Safety and Maximize Uptime with Caterpillar and Cisco

The promise of digital transformation brings many important business outcomes and corporate strategies. A staggering majority of companies acknowledge that digital disruption is inevitable according to a recent Manufacturing thought leadership survey. With this disruption and transformation, there are some benefits to workers. In fact, I’m particularly passionate about the impact and improvements to worker safety and employee quality of life. These are specifically relevant to mining, manufacturing, and energy and any other verticals with harsh and rugged industrial work sites.

This came to life for me last week when I had the honor of working with our customer Caterpillar, at the Phoenix International Raceway Track. Ryan Newman, a top driver in NASCAR for the Caterpillar racing team was in Phoenix to move towards the next round of the Chase Sprint to the Cup. We invited Ryan try a new experience quite different from his typical driving at 200 mph. Instead,  we had him driving one of the largest bulldozers in the world (at 230,000 pounds), a Cat D11T situated 150 miles away. Cars are flying by in the background while we walk Ryan through directions on how to drivRyan_NERV truck2e a remote bulldozer.

You would think that a professional driver would know how to do this, but remote operation is very different. The initial joke was that Ryan had to do some right turns (in NASCAR it is a circular track with mostly a left turn for the vehicle to follow). Ryan of course made this look easy and hit the ground running. After his, and a few others, practice runs Read More »

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#CiscoChat: The Power of Connected Machines

mazak tweetchat

It is no secret that Manufacturing and related industrial verticals will be significantly impacted by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the new business models evolving from digital disruption. Many industry luminaries and market-leading companies agree that one of the most exciting aspects of digital manufacturing is the concept of Connected Machines, where previously non-networked equipment such as robotics, machine tools, packaging and other specialized devices in production operations can now be converged onto a common network infrastructure.

My colleague Bryce Barnes was recently quoted in an Engineering.com article describing this trend:

“What does it mean when you connect everything together? It’s about the value of moving information. Think about what a smartphone does. No one predicted a device that can access almost all of the sum of human information. The total number of machines in the world is enormous, about 65 million. Most are operated and managed locally. Moving data from those machines is a challenge.”

Manufacturers are now just beginning to harness this new generation of machine-to-machine systems, mobile applications, and cloud-based services including analytics — all digital capabilities to drive efficiencies (such as reducing unplanned downtime) and innovation (such as offering new value-added services) Read More »

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The Future of Manufacturing in a Connected World: Learn More at Automation Fair

Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion around digital disruption in various industries and in particular, how manufacturers need to jumpstart their digital transformation and adopt digital business models.  We think the future of manufacturing in a connected world requires a roadmap as you go thru the journey of becoming a digital manufacturer. Attending educational conferences such as the upcoming Automation Fair, Rockwell Automation’s largest user conference which is coming up from November 17-18 in Chicago, can help tremendously.

As my colleague Chet Namboodri outlines in his blog, “Countdown to Automation Fair: Spotlight on Digital Manufacturing”, Cisco will have a presence in Booth 1045 at #AutoFair15  and will demonstrate solutions and products that can help enable digital transformation. I will be presenting on ‘The Future of Manufacturing in a Connected World: How to Get There Today’ (T85) where I will describe why the integration of control and information on the manufacturing floor will be essential for manufacturers Read More »

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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.

Read More »

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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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