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 »
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” – Popular US Postal Service motto
Many of my US colleagues have told me that they grew up hearing the phrase above and thinking how reliable their mail service is, even under the harshest conditions, they always got their mail. We in Cisco think that your network should be as reliable and resilient, and work under all conditions, particularly now when the Internet of Things (IoT) requires a level of resiliency at a scale never imagined before, and under conditions beyond what the traditional datacenter or wiring closet can offer.
These days, one of the challenges that the Internet of Things has to deal with is that it “…is already connecting the physical world today, but the real world, unlike the digital world, is much more uncertain and variable. We have to connect objects in unpredictable environments, often subject to Mother Nature or just the movement of our earth and its inhabitants…”
In fact Cisco defines the Internet of Things as “the intelligent connectivity of physical devices driving massive gains in efficiency, business growth and quality of life.”
In order to establish intelligent connectivity to physical devices, networking equipment have to be able to coexist in the same environmental in which the physical device are operating.
Very often, these physical devices are operating in harsh environments both from a temperature prospective (like in a smelting furnace or in a mining field located in Siberia), from a dustiness prospective (like in a cement production plant), from a vibrations prospective (like on a train or on a mining truck) etc.
To properly operate in these environments networking devices have to be specifically designed with highly ruggedized casing to protect the device’s internal components, and with specific connectors to avoid any possible water penetration or to get unplugged because of hard vibrations.
As 2014 kicks off and gets rolling, the economic supply-and-demand landscape is starting to look much different than recent years. Many manufacturing companies are rethinking strategies, investments and competitive approaches to take advantage of an emerging industrial renaissance globally. Savvy manufacturers are utilizing the Internet of Everything (IoE) to converge and secure real-time visibility between business networks (information technology, IT) and control and automation systems (operational technology, OT) and to reduce costs, improve uptime, increase asset utilization, and lock-down on end-to-end security.
In fact, as part of our overall industry presence, we will be discussing this very topic at an upcoming session at Cisco Live Milan. At the “Connecting Manufacturers for Productivity, Growth and Time to Value with the Internet of Everything” (session # BRKIND-1229), held on Wednesday 29 January at 4:30 pm, we will discuss how IoE solution architecture provisions immediate, secure access to plant performance and production automation systems for management and expert teams worldwide, providing open-standard, IP-based communication and control infrastructure for production operations.
Many of our customers tell us that because Cisco’s solutions for manufacturing have proven, validated architectures, we reduce the risk for operations and control engineers. In addition, we provide them with access to networking knowledge, design guidance and expertise and more, so they can rapidly deploy smart and connected factories. If you are coming to Cisco Live Milan, please join our Cisco Manufacturing Industry and IT/OT Business Group executives and subject matter experts to learn more about best practices for this growing segment. Similarly, for the Oil and Gas industry, we have a session called “IoE in Action: Solutions and Case Studies in Oil and Gas” (BRKIND-1230) which will offer guidance and strategies to companies in this segment.
Cisco Live Milan is a chance for you to learn more about networking issues for industrial environments and figure out how to leverage IoE to meet your goals – whether it’s reducing costs, speeding time to market or improving operational effectiveness.
If you are already registered to attend Cisco Live Milan, you can register to attend this session on your Cisco Live Schedule Builder today. For more general information on Cisco Live, please visit the main event website here. See you in Milan!
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.”
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 »