Back in the day when the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) was called Machine-to-Machine (M2M), the promised benefit was for OEMs monitoring their machines on customer sites. Providing that the customer allowed it, the OEM could collect data on performance of the machine and its components, offer maintenance services, and alert customers to potential problems.
Customers generally were leery about allowing connectivity to the outside world. This could become an open port for hacking and even open a gateway for stealing Intellectual Property. Over the ensuing 15 years, many improvements have been made in networking and security. Now, Rockwell Automation is releasing a gateway and cloud analytics platform that hopes to deliver just such benefits.
As Rockwell states in its release, “IoT-enabled assets and machines can improve operations when information that matters is delivered to the people who can use it best. Yet, equipment builders who invested heavily to build smart machines often are blind to the use and performance of their products after deployment.” Rockwell Automation announced FactoryTalk Analytics for Machines cloud application – a new Microsoft Azure cloud-enabled capability that empowers equipment builders with information.
As part of the company’s expanded Information Solutions strategy, the application provides access to performance analytics from deployed systems in order to gain valuable insight to support their customers. For manufacturers going through a digital transformation, this capability capitalizes on connected technologies to help drive higher availability and output while reducing maintenance costs.
“The sophistication of plants today has made specialization and collaboration essential,” said Axel Rodriguez, SaaS/Cloud products manager, Rockwell Automation. “Your manufacturing operations and maintenance teams have a lot on their plates. Allowing your equipment builders – who know their machines like the backs of their hands – to become collaborators in performance analytics can free up the best minds to focus on optimizing entire lines, plants or applications.”
OEMs can embed a FactoryTalk Cloud gateway device onto the machines they provide. Once commissioned, the machine starts collecting data. The data from selected controllers is sent to the FactoryTalk cloud application securely with minimal configuration by the equipment builder or the end user. The equipment builder then has access to real-time analytics and actionable information via prebuilt dashboards. It’s that simple!