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Converge OT with IT for Business Benefits in Manufacturing

At the recent Cisco Live 2013 event in Orlando, I talked about the business value of converging operations technology (OT)—used for industrial automation systems—with IT business networks, in order to create more secure, end-to-end, standard communications and control.  Regarding business value of IT/OT convergence for machine builders/integrators and consequently their manufacturing customers, I referenced a case study involving Comau Group that Al Presher from DesignNews recently picked up in a blog entitled “Connectivity Enabling Smart Manufacturing.”

Automotive welding

Automotive welding

Comau is a leading supplier and partner for most global automakers, integrating welding and assembly lines that coordinate dozens of robots and ancillary automation across multiple stations.

The order-to-engineering sign-off cycle requires months and the consequent build and commissioning to full production adds many more months for a new or refreshed manufacturing line.

Multiple fieldbus protocols at the device level complicate both design and implementation, requiring more integration services—time and money—to make the system work.

By designing a converged IT/OT “Connected Machine” solution that utilizes IP-standards-based, off-the-shelf modularity with a network architecture validated for both business and controls topologies, Comau has been able to reduce engineering cycles and cut integration time by more than two-thirds.  Quoting an Engineering Manager from the company, “Installation, commissioning and debugging for 10 stations with 12-15 robots takes a couple days, rather than 1-2 weeks.” Read More »

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Cisco at Rockwell Automation Fair – Plant and IT Converged Networking

February 23, 2012 at 9:46 am PST

Last Fall Cisco was a major exhibitor at the Rockwell Automation Fair in Chicago. Rockwell Automation have just published a video where Kevin Davenport from Cisco (Cisco is a Rockwell Automation Strategic Alliance Partner), talks about the company’s Industrial Ethernet switch technology for a secure Ethernet  enabled factory, developed in collaboration with Rockwell Automation.

Hear Kevin being interviewed by Theresa Houck, Editor of the Journal from Rockwell Automation Magazine, as Kevin talks about some of the jointly developed technologies that Cisco and Rockwell were previewing at the show. Read More »

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I can see clearly now!

Hopefully everyone is back from the Christmas/New Years Holidays by now and already hit the deck running. I know we in the Manufacturing team are already off, well, most of us. I started the New Year by having cataract surgery. So I am going to combine some Healthcare with some Manufacturing in this blog. Consider yourself forewarned!

First, what to expect from us this coming year: much more on the value of mobility and the ability to collaborate across the global workforce, wherever they are (yes, that is Borderless Networks); then a lot on the vast amount of data presenting itself to the factory and from the factory to the enterprise (you will hear the term “data deluge”); also the impact of “the cloud” on the factory; also the growing prevalence of tablets and other smart devices in manufacturing operations. And we will undoubtedly have new areas of concentration throughout the year as new technologies take hold in manufacturing.

So, that is the preview of the year. But now I want to talk about my personal experience with Healthcare and how it relates to Manufacturing. Read More »

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Happy holidays and a tease for 2012

So my end of year blog to machine builders, and the loyal followers from whatever company.

The model is changing. Think about how personal electronics have changed your life. Do you listen to a CD in  your car anymore? I remember back when I drove a “company car” but they allowed me to add things, and I added a 6 CD changer. It was in my trunk. This was in 1996. Do they even put CD changers in cars today? My wife just bought a new 4DSC, and ya know, there is no CD slot. So if we go for a trip I have to listen to her music. Fortunately we have a mesh.

So, huge changes in the music business model. Same for the book industry. Witness this: when we leave for a weekend I take my iPad. I have several books I want to read stored there. Are they on my iPad or the Cloud? I don’t care. I want them when I want them. And before today’s technology existed I would have needed to carry many different books with me. In my case today they are on my iPad, but tomorrow? Who knows? Can I get instant response from the cloud? I bet I can.

In the factory can you afford to ignore the cloud? You know your employees in the plant are going to be using devices that are far more advanced than what they have in the factory. Soon they will be suggesting that they can do “this” (whatever this is) better if they could only…. More on this topic early in 2012. Read More »

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We’re not going to crash? Do I really want to know? TMI!

November 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm PST

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the fair. The Rockwell automation Fair that is.The Pilot comes on the intercom and says something like:

 “Hi, it’s the captain here. I want to tell you that we can’t get the flaps into the right position. We need number 15 and we can only get to 14.” (or he said something like that). “We’ve tried a few times and it doesn’t want to move.”

So we (the passengers) are all thinking: “What does that mean – are we going down?” Most of us don’t pilot planes so we don’t know how serious the situation is. We all agreed in our seating row that it was ‘TMI’ -- Too Much Information? I think he realized that, because he then said words to the effect of:

Read More »

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