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The 2014 Automation Conference – IoE and Beer

The 2014 Automation Conference (TAC) was held March 20-21, 2014 in sunny Chicago (Yes, sunny Chicago!! I made sure to pack some California sunshine for the Windy City) attracted a diverse group of automation and manufacturing thought leaders and subject matter experts from leading machine builders, system integrators, manufacturing end users, standards bodies and educational institutions. The focus and objective of the conference was to have peer to peer discussions and dialogue around the technologies and next generation automation strategies that are enabling and driving the Internet of Everything (IoE).

“This conference is designed not only to make you think about the application of automation, but also to help you take action” -- David Greenfield, Automation World, editor in chief and TAC event director

The conference achieved this goal and more.  The framework of the sessions encouraged audience collaboration and dialogue around the challenges and practical steps and strategies being designed and deployed to achieve an integrated and scalable IoE architecture that drives value across the entire manufacturing value chain, as depicted in the video below:

I can “wax poetic” around all the great individual sessions held at the conference around Big Data, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), mobility, virtualization, cloud computing, cyber-physical security, network switching, CPwE (Converged Plantwide Ethernet), safety systems, workforce retention and optimization, but I think its more fun and interesting to summarize the highlights of the conference through the  context of a use case that was shared at the conference.

What better way to meet that objective than to leverage a manufacturing use case around beer!!!!

Automating Brewing Operations from Two Different Perspectives

I attended this session where Highland Brewing, Sierra Nevada and Vicinity Manufacturing gave an interesting perspective around the challenges and strategies in deploying their next generation manufacturing operation.

Highland Brewing is a regional brewer of craft beers based in the Southeast and Sierra Nevada is a larger brewer with more of national brand.  The interesting contrast between the two is that Highland Brewing is designing more automation into their operational facility and Sierra Nevada is scaling their automation and IoE strategies across all their facilities.   Both perspectives and approaches have the same objective.  How do I effectively integrate all the various technologies into an intelligent, flexible and scalable system/architecture to meet the following business outcomes:

  1. Increase Customer Loyalty
  2. Supply Chain Optimization
  3. Operational Excellence
  4. Energy Sustainability
  5. Disruptive Innovation

To paraphase Kevin Wheeler, Director of Operations, Highland Brewing Co,“Our core competency is crafting great beer. We have an opportunity to drive efficiency into our operation by an integrating IoT/IoE platform … the challenge is figuring out the best approach.”

Like Highland Brewing, manufacturers must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoE. For those that get it right, the future represents a huge opportunity to create product and service advantages.

Are you having challenges putting together the “IoE technology puzzle?”  Is security the main barrier to IoE adoption?

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Don’t Miss this Mfg.net Webcast on IoT and Manufacturing

For many manufacturers, understanding how industry trends impact their business and learning about peer best practices are top priorities. Once current area of focus — tapping into the transformational  value  of the Internet of Things (IoT) on manufacturing — is top of mind for best-in-class companies.

A vision of IoT and its impact on manufacturing business performance are introduced in the video below.

So what is the opportunity for IoT in YOUR manufacturing environment? To help you answer this question and more, Cisco is co-hosting a series of webcasts in conjunction with Mfg.net that are designed to educate and equip executives from production operations, IT, controls and automation on implementing and optimizing IoT for manufacturing.

Don’t miss the opening webcast on June 3rd, when executives from Rockwell Automation, Steelcase and Cisco join Mfg.net editor Joel Hans in what is sure to be an insightful and lively discussion on what is the opportunity, why it’s important and where to get started.

Please register at this link now.  We look forward to your joining, and thanks for taking time to read this brief announcement!

mfg.net webcast

 

 

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Manufacturing in America – Turning the Corner

April 9, 2014 at 9:51 am PST

What does manufacturing mean to America? While there may be no quantitative right answer to that question, in my opinion, manufacturing is the creation of new jobs, the empowering of individuals, and teamwork that helps make dreams a reality. Manufacturing has long been wrongly perceived as a dirt and grime industry that lacks the appeal necessary to build and grow a strongly educated workforce, vital to our nation’s industrial and economic growth.

Recently, I watched a video released by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) titled, “What Manufacturing Means to America.” The video addresses the current state of the manufacturing industry and provides fresh insight into utilizing the skill and talent of America’s workforce. It shows that with the right education and skills, manufacturing can be the key to a better future and making dreams come true. Read More »

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Cisco At Hannover Messe 2014

Hannover Messe is once again upon us.  The world’s premier industrial technical showcase will be held in Hannover, Germany from April 7-11, 2014.  Last year’s faire had a clear focus on the “The Integrated Industry”, often referred to “Industry 4.0 and “Smart Factory” 

This year the motto for the world’s biggest industry fair is  “Integrated Industry – NEXT STEPS!”  The next steps towards the intelligent, self-organizing factory are examined from every angle and field of study. From M2M to 3D visualization, from bulk forming to nanotechnology, everything is focused on taking the next step.

Hannover Faire

Cisco will feature our industry leading technology and product solutions that empower the “Integrated Industry – NEXT STEPS!” in the  SmartFactory KL booth located in Hall 8, Stand D20.  SmartFactory KL is a demonstration that showcases the integration of multi-vendor solutions and products into a highly flexible production plant.  The demonstration will showcase how  interoperability enables:

  • Quick setup and modifications of multi-vendor assets
  • Modular, extendable concepts to fit the needs of the SmartFactory 
  • Product changes in real-time
  • Construction of a versatile R&D platform for production automation and related IT

Cisco provides a complete and unique breadth of infrastructure including wired and wireless routing and switching, physical video, compute, and communications solutions to uniquely support and enable current and future SmartFactory 4.0 requirements.

The SmartFactory demo shows how you can leverage Cisco’s Connected Factory architecture to converge IT and Operational Technology (OT) systems and create an integrated enterprise smart engine that:

  • Integrates Cisco’s video and unified communication platforms with real-time plant floor data
  • Scales and leverages global experts remotely for increased operational efficiency and innovation
  • Secures plant assets and improves operational workflows at each work cell
  • Analyzes and views KPI information on any device at anytime with location based services

So, come by and visit us at Hall 8, Stand D20.  Our Cisco Subject Matter Experts will be available to discuss topics that are specific to your business and technology imperatives.

See you at the show!!!

 

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Attending The Automation Conference Should be an Automatic Decision

MFG TACWebHeader

Last week, I got a great response to a blog on ‘Making Smarter Manufacturing and IoT a Reality Today’, where I illustrated some use-case business scenarios and strategies to leverage the IoT industry trends now. One way savvy manufacturers, industrial companies and supply chain and operations teams stay current with evolving trends like IoT is to send their key players to industry educational and networking opportunities. One such opportunity to learn how to better leverage IoT for improved real-time decision support, amongst many other benefits, is coming up. The Automation Conference is a professional, educational event hosted by the editors of Automation World and Packaging World and is happening at the Chicago O’Hare Marriott from May 20th to 21st.

Cisco is proud to be one of the sponsors at this event, which is focused on delivering practical application advice and visionary insights for automation and control engineers, operations and engineering management, manufacturing systems/IT and networking professionals, as well as industrial systems engineers, machinery designers and software development professionals involved with discrete and process industries and production operations.  Many of these industry leaders are wrestling with not just how to leverage IoT, but also key manufacturing issues and opportunities around industrial cybersecurity in production operations, reducing costs, improving efficiences, building new business capabilities and revenue streams and addressing skills gaps.

I hope to see you in Chicago on May 21st.

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