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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.

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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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Digital Manufacturing: Transforming Your Business Model

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Today’s announcement of Cisco’s Digital Solutions for Industries at the Global Editor’s Conference highlights our unique approach to help customers capture the promise of digitization. As Tony Shakib’s blog notes, “Digital transformation necessitates a combining of business and IT strategy that connects everything, embraces analytics, and takes a holistic approach to data security that spans technology and operations.”

Digital disruption is already happening across manufacturing and other industrial sectors, and we’re stepping up to help businesses in these segments harness the benefits of digitization across their value chains. For example, using innovative models like machines securely connected (thru Cisco Connected Machines) for real-time monitoring and analytics across Cisco’s Intercloud, digital manufacturers are optimizing their plant operations with improved control, increased efficiency, less downtime, higher productivity and duty cycles, and more flexible manufacturing.

Research suggests that a significant number—as many as 40 percent—of incumbents will be left wounded, probably mortally, by digital disruption over the next five years. In the face of these pressures, CEOs recognize that those companies who can leverage digital technologies and business models will come out ahead. This video provides an overview on the challenges, opportunities and benefits of Digital Manufacturing:

For forward-thinking manufacturers, digital transformation is not just a new challenge but a major opportunity—maybe the most significant in decades—to pull ahead of competitors. Digital Manufacturers are seizing the opportunity Read More »

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Security for the Digital Manufacturer: Recap of recent #CiscoChat

Earlier this week, I hosted a #CiscoChat along with other team members of the @CiscoMFG team including Nancy Cam-Winget (@ncamwingw), an industrial security expert and Distinguished Engineer at Cisco, along with cohost Gregory Wilcox (@gswilcox_ohio) of our strategic alliance partner Rockwell Automation (@ROKAutomation). We had a thought-provoking interchange on how new digital business models impact industrial security interests, as well as some of the other inherent security risks for manufacturers.

If you missed the chat, the full recap is here, and below, I summarize a few of the highlights and insights for me.

Why is security for manufacturers such a top-of-mind concern, discussed across engineering, production, supply chain and boardroom alike?

By 2020, there will be an estimated 50+ billion intelligent things connected to the Internet. The emergence of more “smart” connected factories, in which machines and devices Read More »

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#CiscoChat: Industrial Security: Critical for Digital Manufacturing?

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Manufacturing is undergoing radical advancements, much like the ones we’ve seen in healthcare and education, thanks to the Internet of Everything (IoE) and all of the people, data, processes and things it connects.

By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 50 billion devices and objects connected to the Internet, including many of the devices in the manufacturing world. “Smart” factories where machines “talk” to one another, fleet vehicles such as trucks and forklifts with sensors that monitor their movements, and even wireless inventory tracking devices are all in play at manufacturers across the globe. Manufacturers are embracing a new generation of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Person-To-Machine (P2M) systems, as well as mobile applications and cloud-based services that drive efficiency and innovation across their value chain.

All of these connected “things” and processes allow manufacturers to Read More »

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Using the Internet of Things (IoT) to Digitize Your Factory

We’ve been hearing a lot about the Internet of Things or IoT. How it’s going to accelerate efficiencies. Grow profits. Disrupt industries. So it’s time to consider if IoT is real & if you should do something about it right now.

As is often the case, revisiting history can help us better understand what the future holds for us. Imagine it’s 1995, and you’re just starting to hear about this thing called the World Wide Web. How’s it’s going to use the Internet to disrupt commerce/communications and how it’s going to create a digital divide of haves and have-nots? At that time, companies like Compaq, Kodak and Sears were in the Fortune 100 and mobile phones were predominately used for phone calls.

Since then, startups like Google and Amazon have disrupted computing, shopping and entertainment, as well as mobile-web applications that dominate how we live our lives. The companies that survive are the ones that have deployed e-commerce platforms to engage with customers and suppliers, and have strategies to integrate the Web into their business.

Now fast-forward to 2015 and the projected $3.9 Trillion Value at stake for IoT in Manufacturing. Which begs the question: How do we make IoT work for us? And how can it drive change in the various manufacturing verticals?

IoT@ Work in Food Manufacturing

SugarCreek offers an excellent case study for how IoT can be utilized to optimize production, improving factory capabilities and enhancing analytics specifically for consumer packaged goods (CPG) or food & beverage (F&B) manufacturing. By way of background, SugarCreek is the largest independent processor of bacon, meatballs, sausage patties and chicken for both food service and retail. They are about to finish up the refurbishing of a brownfield plant, to create a 418,000 square foot Factory of the Future. Take a look at this video to see an overview of Sugar Creek’s business:

Actually, SugarCreek is ahead of the trend that Food Manufacturing magazine describes:

“IoT is a logical extension of the push to create more intelligent manufacturing processes. By embedding interactive technology in key machines, food manufacturers gain the ability to automate the optimization of equipment in real time, dramatically reducing or eliminating the risk of equipment failures capable of shutting down the entire process”.

Ed Rodden, the CIO of SugarCreek & I will be co-presenting the SugarCreek case study at the upcoming Smart Industry Conference happening from October 5-7 in Chicago. Ed will describe the decision process for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)smart industry 2015 platforms in their new manufacturing plant, including insight into primary use cases, converged factory technologies and new architectures.

I will describe the IIoT process that SugarCreek went through. How we considered each key area of factory operations from product enhancements to how to better enable their workforce. We held workshops with key plant & IT stakeholders to discuss business outcome for each area that included:

  • Reducing expenses by optimizing plant operations
  • Increasing revenues by improving plant capabilities
  • Contributing to a safer & cleaner environment

In order to drill into the technology required in each area, we considered specific pain points & use cases such as how they could strengthen Quality Control through the utilization of technology to identify & eliminate packing material that may be mixed in with meats or how they can increase plant capabilities by including more sensors into their production process. Solving each pain point required a combination of devices, networks & applications to provide a complete technology platform. We will go thru how we conducted a high level return on Investment (RoI) analyses to help the company to quantify the costs & benefits of each platform & prioritize the platforms that would provide the greatest bang for the buck. Find out more details by attending our session.

We hope you can join us for this conference and in particular, this session on Industrial IoT. See you in Chicago!