The road to the connected factory was made easier today by the announcement of new features which will be highlighted in two new design guides for industrial networks.  The design guides help manufacturers deploy an industrial network that pulls best practices from operational technology (OT) and IT.

Many manufacturers are looking to gain the business benefits of a connected factory.  A connected factory gives the business more access to real-time information on factory operations, inventory, supply chains, the machines on their production lines, and more, so that manufacturers can better manage their businesses. By converging industrial and enterprise networks, manufacturers can advance their business agility and build a gateway to the Internet of Everything.  Many manufacturers have been challenged by the task of connecting these industrial factories, so Cisco, together with industrial partners like Rockwell Automation, are enhancing these design guides to ease the convergence process.

Today, Cisco announced upcoming enhancements to Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) for Plant Networks so manufacturers can integrate industrial systems with business IT systems. Design guides for the Cisco Connected Factory solution bring best practices of OT and IT onto a converged, highly secure industrial network architecture.factory floor mgr_50percent

The enhancements to the Connected Factory Solution, include:

  • New Industrial Products and Operating Systems: The solution updates includes the Cisco IE2000 and Allen-Bradley Stratix 5700 fixed-form factor industrial switches. It also includes the most recent Cisco Catalyst 3750-X aggregation platform and the Cisco ASA 5515 firewall.
  • Plant Network Security: Identity Services can protect the Plant network from within.  One of the most immediate implementations of Identity Services in manufacturing will be to safeguard contractor convenience ports by applying policy enforcement to the use of these often unsecured ports in a plant network.
  • Significantly Enhanced Resiliency: Plant Ring topologies and Resilient Ethernet Protocol, or REP, using a special resiliency protocol to maintain Automation and Control applications from outages such as link failures.

The Connected Factory Solution builds on our industrial Cisco Validated Designs for Ethernet-to-the-Factory and the Cisco and Rockwell Automation Converged Plantwide Ethernet. By integrating  factories through these design guides, manufacturing managers are able to better capture information throughout the manufacturing process. They can more reliably automate the production process, increase manufacturing flexibility, speed product introductions, reduce network downtime and support next generation visual factories.  When combined with business process improvement, this allows for significant returns from increased uptime, worker productivity, and an increase in overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE.

Cisco is committed to helping manufacturers enhance their factory for the future with integrated networking, wireless, security, video, compute, and communications designed for industrial environments.   Please check out our offerings at www.cisco.com/go/industrial.


Tony Shakib

No Longer with Cisco