Controlled Flying Birds and Workforce Development Highlight Festo Hannover Announcements

I remember the first trip I made to Festo in Germany many years ago. I thought, this is “just” a pneumatics company. What could be interesting about this trip? Then I witnessed what their R&D engineers did with pneumatics. And saw that the company if far deeper than “just” pneumatics.

Even though we could not experience in the flesh, so to speak, this year’s press conference and demonstrations did not disappoint. The company discusses financial results, strategy, general information, an application – assembly of insulin injection pen, workforce issues, and the always delightful demonstration of pneumatic/electronic far-out thinking with this year being a bionic swift (bird).

Most companies I work with have an education and training component. Festo has a division that is dedicated to education from children to adults. Check out the Festo Didactic information below. Maybe you can purchase a bionic bird education kit for your local school’s science and technology program (see information below). I’m living in a new community, but I’m looking for local contacts to help out.

Financial years 2020/2021

Festo’s results were stable despite the pandemic. The Festo Group had to cope with a 7.5% decline in turnover in the 2020 financial year due to the pandemic. Turnover was 2.84 billion euros (previous year 3.07 billion euros). Overall, however, thanks to forward-looking cost-cutting measures and employment protection, the operating result in 2020 was slightly higher than in the previous year.

“This has enabled us to guide our workforce safely through the crisis year and to create a good basis for being ready for the global economy to pick up again. At the same time, it gives us the financial freedom to invest in our future now as well,” said the Chairman of the Management Board, Dipl.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Oliver Jung.

As in the previous year, the company’s R&D ratio was 8% of turnover. 

For 2021, the company expects a catch-up year. “We started the year well, with strong growth in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the end of the pandemic cannot yet be estimated. We are therefore continuing our savings course. At the same time, we continue to invest in our growth and innovation strategy,” Jung affirmed.

Strategy 2025+

Digitalisation and AI determine the product roadmap with smart and intelligent products as enablers for energy efficiency and sustainability in customer solutions.

Festo is focusing on the capability shift upgrading employees’ skills in the digital transformation.

The need for home schooling and virtual training (Digital Education) is growing rapidly in the pandemic. In the lockdown, Festo Didactic successfully launched its new digital learning platform, Festo LX, for technical education and provided a free homeschooling version for mechatronics courses in schools.  

The LifeTech business segment with medical technology and laboratory automation is experiencing a real boom with growth rates of over 100%. Festo is continuously expanding its Technical Engineering Center for LifeTech in Boston, which opened in 2018 and is one of the world’s most important development locations for life science, in order to further develop this promising growth market.

Festo’s products make an important contribution to the fight against COVID 19. In particular, laboratory automation enables high throughput in COVID 19 tests.  Automation is also key in vaccine development and production.

Sustainability needs automation and education

“As a company and society, we have to manage the balancing act in the pandemic of simultaneously finding ways out of the crisis and focusing our future activities on sustainability. Automation and technical education are a key to this. We also have a high social responsibility for sustainable development here,” said Jung. The goal is to gradually develop production in the direction of a circular economy.

“At Festo, we are convinced that pneumatics in particular offers massive advantages over electrics in many areas, and that no other technology can match it. We are currently developing this further in the direction of smart and digital pneumatics. There is still a lot of potential here,” confirmed Jung.

In 2020, Festo has also made great progress internally in climate protection and thus towards its climate target of saving at least 30% CO2 by 2025 (Scope 1 and 2).

Festo has the greatest leverage for climate protection with its customers, through the appropriate product selection of pneumatics and electrics (Scope 3). This is because around 90% of CO2 emissions are generated during product operation and only around 10% during production. Smart products and services, digitalization and AI are giving new impetus to energy efficiency on the way to CO2-neutral production.

As a family-owned company, Festo thinks and acts responsibly and with a long-term perspective. Festo stands for clear values, utmost quality and customer-oriented innovation. It has set standards in industrial automation technology and technical education ever since its establishment, thereby making a contribution to sustainable development of the environment, the economy and society.

Festo is advancing digitalisation in all its corporate divisions. Festo is leading its customers and employees into the digital future. To this end, the company is developing new future-oriented concepts founded on the triad of innovative and energy-efficient technologies, intuitive human-machine collaboration, and education and further training.

Productivity – Festo’s core competency

Innovation for the best possible productivity, a global presence and close, long-term partnerships with its customers are the hallmarks of Festo. In the 1950s, Festo became the first company in Europe to use compressed air as a drive medium in automation. The company now offers over 30,000 products and system solutions for pneumatic and electrical automation technology which, thanks to a large variety of modular systems, can be tailored to specific customer applications in many different factory and process automation industry segments.

Added value through digitalisation
           
Smart products, connectivity, the mining and interpretation of data, including via the cloud, and dashboards for visualisation, already offer added value for customers. Products like the energy efficiency module E2M, IO-Link-capable components, the CPX-IOT gateway or interfaces like OPC-UA contribute to this process. Another basic requirement for successful and consistent digitalisation is mechanical, electrical and intelligent connectivity through software solutions, enabling all customers to find their bearings quickly and intuitively. 

Festo is promoting this with an open automation architecture and a large product portfolio made up of axes, motors and controllers. Standardised software tools are also being developed: configurators for smart engineering, the Festo Automation Suite for easy commissioning and the digital maintenance manager Smartenance for reliable operation. Digitalised pneumatics such as the Festo Motion Terminal VTEM makes pneumatics more flexible than ever before. The reason: apps define the function, the hardware remains the same.

In addition, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence are shaping the agile product development of the future. Since 2018, the competence in the field of AI has been strongly expanded. The Festo AX (Festo Automation Experience) software platform is an AI-based software solution that allows production processes to be improved, e.g. with preventive maintenance of assets and machines, monitoring of quality in production or energy consumption.

With AI-based solutions for operations and maintenance processes, the overall equipment efficiency (OEE) of customers is to be improved.

Qualification in the digital transformation

As a leading provider of technical education and training, Festo Didactic is responding to current megatrends such as digitalisation and the energy transition. Because these trends are changing industry and production processes. Festo Didactic supports its customers with learning solutions and supports them to ensure the employability and productivity of employees and companies.

Festo Didactic offers a comprehensive range of learning solutions. Learners acquire technology knowledge and soft skills both in team-oriented and practical training on physical learning systems with industrial components, but also location- and time-independent through digital online learning opportunities. The new digital learning portal Festo Learning Experience (Festo LX) creates individual learning experiences for learners and teachers.

The fast way to a safe insulin pen

Syntegon’s assembly system for medical technology with the Festo automation platform 

Diabetes is on the rise worldwide with around 10 million people being diagnosed with the disease every year. This pushes up the demand for insulin pens for self-injection. Syntegon’s Danish subsidiary has developed an automated system for assembling these pens using the Festo automation platform.

“I have a dream,” says Michael Andersen, Sales Director of Syntegon Technology Sandved in Denmark. “I have a dream of our machines doing on-the-fly format changes. That would be the culmination of our philosophy of flexibility and agility that we strive for in our company,” adds the automation expert.

Flexibility and agility

“By using the Festo automation platform, which includes the servo press kit, we are already very close to making this dream come true,” says Andersen. In fact, Festo’s servo press kit YJKP – a preconfigured modular system consisting of software, controllers and standard electrical drives – can be easily integrated in the plant and offers a high degree of flexibility thanks to the preinstalled software. This means that the modular press system with servo drive for electric pressing and joining up to 17 kN is ready for immediate use and, compared to similar solutions on the market, is both intuitively to parameterize and cost-effective.

“We have installed more than a 100 servo press kits in the automated assembly lines for insulin pens,” says Ulrik Keldke, Head of Syntegon’s engineering department in Sandved. The precisely adjustable pressing and joining forces ensure consistent quality and low reject rates. “What we particularly like about the Festo servo press kit is that it’s quick and easy to commission, and the machine operators don’t need to be trained to use it,” explains chief engineer Keldke.

Quality and safety

“Automating the assembly line is a prerequisite for meeting the requirements for the end product: the insulin pens must be safe and user-friendly,” says Andersen. The pens must not break when used by the patients, as that would put them at risk. The Servo Press Kit keeps the tension and pressure constant. “The glass of the syringes should never be subjected to irregular pressure as they would break,” Keldke says. The automated systems ensure that the insulin pens are always in order and can deliver the exact amount of insulin.

Depending on the machine type, Syntegon’s assembly lines produce up to 300 pens per minute. The degree of automation is scalable according to requirements and can also be adapted at a later date. The machine concepts are based either on a rotary table for low to medium outputs or on a linear transport system for high outputs. The system can be expanded with automatic feeders and stations to increase output and the degree of automation.

Consistency and reliability

Syntegon Technology, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology, sees itself as a provider of integrated solutions. The assembly line for insulin pens can be expanded into a complete line with other systems from the company. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can thus be provided with machines for all process steps, from filling, capping, assembly, testing, to labelling and packaging – preconfigured and from a single source.

The machine control system is based on electrical and pneumatic components and modules from the Festo automation platform. This ensures a consistency of supply since Festo products are available worldwide and offer open interfaces to higher-level controllers. The CPX-E-CEC module from Festo establishes the connection to the process control level, allowing it to be used with Profinet or, for other customers in Europe, with EtherCat. Especially for North American customers, however, the system could also be supplied with an Ethernet/IP module.

Bionic Swift: A Bionically Inspired Robotic Bird

So, the cool demonstration this year was the Bionic Swift. This year’s engineering innovation has been incorporated into the “Bionics4Education” program. Its target market is high school education and also industrial training. 

It is one of the oldest dreams of mankind: flying like a bird. The lift and propulsion of birds have been ingeniously achieved by nature. Birds measure, control and regulate their movements continuously and completely autonomously. The inspiration for the development of the Bionic Swift educational kit came from the Bionic Learning Network, a research association with universities, institutes and development companies whose goal is to produce novel technology carriers through the application of bionics. In 2020, the BionicSwift was presented to the public for the first time. Festo Didactic wants to bring the world of bionics together with the education sector in order to promote working in interdisciplinary project teams as well as problem-oriented learning and creativity at schools.

The Bionic Swift is a robotic bird inspired by the bird world. Festo based its development on the natural model of the swallow. With the experimental set, scientific and technical correlations as well as the fascination of bird flight and the topics of lightweight construction, energy efficiency and aerodynamics can be impressively conveyed in STEAM lessons using a project-based approach.

The mechanisms of action of the flap of the wings can be explored in a playful way by students in class. Weighing less than 45 grams, the ultra-light flying object Bionic Swift shows particularly agile flight behaviour. Due to its extreme manoeuvrability, even tight turns can be realised. The Bionic Swift experimental set is recommended for up to three learners and from the age of 15. 

The references to biology and technology that can be taught in STEAM lessons or at extracurricular learning venues are numerous and reach from the structure of tubular bones to wing take-off and landing to the basics of movements in the air. This allows teachers to teach technical learning content via a new, cross-curricular educational learning path. Accompanying teaching material, as well as the assembly manual, can be downloaded free of charge from our website

CIP Security, Resource-Constrained EtherNet/IP Devices, Updated Terminology Headline ODVA Hannover News

ODVA’s annual Hannover Messe press conference highlighted new technologies that extend EtherNet/IP and CIP Security to “resource-constrained” devices. Thanks to advance in 2-wire Ethernet, devices that were too small or too inexpensive for a network chip can now join the EtherNet/IP network. There is an international movement to change traditional networking terminology, for example “master-slave”, that would be offensive to many. Here are the news releases.

CIP Security

ODVA announced that CIP Security has added support for resource constrained EtherNet/IP devices. CIP Security can now provide device authentication, a broad trust domain, device identity via Pre-Shared Keys (PSKs), device integrity, and data confidentiality for resource-constrained devices such as contactors and push-buttons. Additionally, a narrow trust domain, user authentication, and policy enforcement via a gateway or a proxy are available options. 

The recent integration of single pair Ethernet has opened up the door to overcoming lower-level device constraints and ultimately to expanding the footprint of EtherNet/IP. Adding simpler devices to EtherNet/IP allows for the benefits of additional remote diagnostics, asset information, and parameterization capability. The addition of more nodes to the network within the context of IT/OT convergence makes device level security a fundamental need to ensure that indispensable assets and people are protected from physical harm and monetary loss. 

The new CIP Security specification has added a Resource-Constrained CIP Security Profile in addition to the EtherNet/IP Confidentiality and the CIP User Authentication Profiles. The Resource-Constrained CIP Security Profile is similar to the EtherNet/IP Confidentiality Profile, but is streamlined for resource-constrained devices. The same basic security aspects of endpoint authentication, data confidentiality, and data authenticity remain. Access policy information is also included to allow a more capable device, such as a gateway, to be used as a proxy for user authentication and authorization of the resource constrained device. 

Implementation of CIP Security for resource-constrained devices requires only DTLS (Datagram Transport Layer Security) support instead of DTLS and TLS (Transport Layer Security), as it is used only with low-overhead UDP communication. 

Terminology Updates

ODVA announced that the April 2021 publication of the DeviceNet and ControlNet Specifications have replaced the usage of the words “master” and “slave” within ODVA references. Developers of devices for ODVA networks will now utilize the words “client and server” (EtherNet/IP, including the integration of Modbus devices), “controller and device” (DeviceNet), and “system time supervisor or active keeper” (ControlNet) to describe these functions. With the goal of eliminating terminology that is hurtful, these changes are the first in a series to update the entire library of ODVA specifications and documents to rectify the use of these terms. 

EtherNet/IP for Resource-Constrained Devices

ODVA announced that The EtherNet/IP Specification has been enhanced to allow vendors to bring the network to resource-constrained devices in-cabinet, including push buttons and contactors. Cost, size, and power restrictions have historically limited the usage of EtherNet/IP at the edge, where many nodes are still hardwired. However, the continued decrease in the cost of semiconductor chips has enabled increased connectivity of simple devices, as evidenced by the rapid expansion of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The sustained, strong growth of EtherNet/IP combined with accelerating IT/OT convergence has made it possible to deploy EtherNet/IP within cabinets on lower-level automation devices such as contactors and push buttons.

The inclusion of resource-constrained devices within cabinets on an EtherNet/IP network is enabled by recently published enhancements to The EtherNet/IP Specification including the physical layer In-Cabinet Profile for EtherNet/IP along with low overhead UDP-only resource-constrained EtherNet/IP communication. Resource requirements have been reduced via enhancements such as an IT friendly LLDP node topology discovery mechanism, auto-commissioning support, and auto-device replacement support. Additionally, a specification for a new select line circuit facilitates the efficient delivery of system wide sequential commands. 

The EtherNet/IP in-cabinet bus solution reduces interface components through use of single pair Ethernet (IEEE Std 802.3cg-2019 10BASE-T1S) and reduces node cost via multidrop cabling that spans a single cabinet with one interface per device and one switch port that supports many devices. Cost is further reduced via cables that use composite network and control power to eliminate separate parallel runs. The select line for topology eliminates configuration switches by enabling discovery based on relative position and allows for direct connection with programming tools during assembly for parameterization. Assembly time is lowered by eliminating most wire or cable preparation with insulation displacement (piercing) connectors. Nodes will also be able to be replaced with compatible nodes of the same type during normal system operation without any engineering tools in a plug and play manner. 

This will be made possible through reduced hardware requirements enabled by UDP-only EtherNet/IP communication, usage of single pair Ethernet, and shared in-cabinet external power and cabling. Adding low-level in-panel devices to the network will enable the benefits of additional remote diagnostics, asset information and parameterization capability, automatic node topology discovery, and plug and play device replacement. 

Cognitive Internet Technologies for an Agile, Innovative and Competitive Industry

My first Hannover interview was with Tobias Steinhäußer of the Fraunhofer Institute. I have just begun learning about the Dataspace Connector organizations and work, and Tobias mentioned its relevance to what this particular center at Fraunhofer is up to. This organization sits at the cutting edge of technology and standards for Industrie 4.0. Following is its news release.

The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Internet Technologies CCIT will showcase key technologies for an agile, innovative and competitive industry at the digital Hannover Messe (#HM21) from April 12 to 16, 2021. The scientists will present cognitive systems for future-proof assembly and production, the Dataspace Connector as a basis for sovereign data exchange through participation in GAIA-X and International Data Spaces, and transparent machine learning methods for industry.

Cognitive Internet technologies combine the physical world of things with the digital world of data and learning algorithms to create highly intelligent applications. They collect data from different sources, learn to understand them and optimize existing applications or open the door for new business models. 

“At Fraunhofer CCIT, more than 20 Fraunhofer institutes are pooling their expertise to develop cognitive Internet technologies for the industry of the future. In doing so, the researchers are taking the next step in the development of Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things: they are combining the strengths of people and digital technology. We look forward to presenting specific application scenarios and solutions at the Hanover Messe 2021,” says Christian Banse, head of the Fraunhofer CCIT office.

Trustworthy electronics and intelligent sensor technology

In an agile and flexible industrial production, trustworthy electronics and intelligent sensor technology record and communicate data in real time. Fraunhofer CCIT shows examples at its digital #HM21 booth: With the intelligent screw connection, which permanently monitors hard-to-reach places and areas by means of a thin-film sensor system, screw connections, e.g. on bridges, wind turbines or also on machines in production lines, can be monitored wirelessly and energy-autonomously. This combination of different Fraunhofer technologies and their integration in a screw/clamp connection is already available as a product-ready technology solution.

Fraunhofer CCIT is also developing a scalable sensor network that can integrate different sensors and the associated data communication for condition monitoring tasks, e.g. even directly in rolling bearings or in machine-to-machine communication. This means that these systems can be adapted to each individual case with different measurement variables for a wide range of meaningful damage characteristics. With intelligent sensor technology, radio technology and autonomous energy supply, the condition of machine tools can also be continuously monitored. This is a key element, for example, in forming and also in machining, in order to optimize processes. Among the indicators are the tightening forces and temperatures on the tool surface.

The self-measuring localization system FlexLoc allows mobile machine tools to be placed or networked easily, flexibly and in real time in the hall infrastructure or tools in the human-machine interaction. For example, by attaching sensor nodes, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) can also interact with a person carrying an associated tag.

Secure data rooms

A controllable, sovereign and traceable exchange of data across company boundaries is essential in order to survive or even lead the market in digital competition with agile, intelligent service offerings. This requires software solutions that enable the safeguarding of complex processing chains by covering a wide range of security and interoperability requirements while being easy to integrate into existing IT infrastructures.

The Dataspace Connector (DSC), which will be presented at the Fraunhofer CCIT booth, meets these requirements: It has an extensible architecture that enables companies to exchange data in a sovereign manner and can be adapted flexibly, easily and comprehensibly to the companies’ individual business processes and requirements through appropriate configurations. 

Companies can integrate the Connector solution, which is available as open source, into an existing container infrastructure, for example. Since the data is protected before it is exchanged via connectors and provided with usage rules, the data provider retains control over his data even after the exchange and thus an overview of what happens to the data. Through appropriate extensions, the DSC also supports the three security levels specified in DIN SPEC 27070. This means that companies can easily and efficiently start using the European GAIA-X data infrastructure. The DSC is licensed under Apache 2.0 and freely available. 

Fraunhofer CCIT is continuously developing offers for securing business processes so that conditions of use can be enforced in a comprehensible manner. These solutions enable trust in distributed business processes even with increasing complexity of processing chains and thus address the requirements of industry. 

Machine Learning for Industry 4.0

Industrial companies can apply the data gained through digitization in innovative artificial intelligence solutions. “Informed Machine Learning”, which was also shaped by the Fraunhofer CCIT, enables companies to transparently track the decision-making processes of learning systems and to intervene at the right points – an important prerequisite for assessing quality, reliability and risks. The research teams will be demonstrating examples of specific application scenarios in industrial production, including quality control at their digital trade fair stand.

An intelligent system consisting of a conventional image recognition process and innovative AI methods detects damage and defects such as paint inclusions or hail damage on reflective surfaces (e.g. car body parts) and automatically categorizes the defects found. Another technology combines voice and gesture control to create a multimodal dialog assistant for industry. The system enables completely digital defect documentation in production directly on the component with very little time expenditure. Users can choose between intuitive pointing gestures and a laser pointer as input method and mark defect locations on a component quickly, precisely and intuitively. Another exhibit shows cognitive tools that digitally assist workers, for example during the maintenance process on a forming press. The module attached to the screwdriver recognizes individual work steps and compares them with the target process. An additional localization system (QR code tracking) ensures that the work steps are performed at the correct location. The worker receives live feedback on the progress of his work via an app.

A3 Comes Together As One Organization

No, I have not been on vacation this week. Hannover Messe—from the comfort of my office in Illinois. No walking 10 miles a day. No padding the frequent flyer miles. No German food (my wife could have but chose not). In one interview today I was told that the digital format with ease in connections and conversations has worked out well for him. Those of us in America just had to somewhat adjust our clocks to Central European Time zone.

Here’s a short news piece out today. It’s been coming for a time. Today is the big day.

A3, which represents more than 1,100 member companies active in the automation industry, combines nearly 50 years of leadership and strong relationships within the robotics, machine vision, motion control & motors, and artificial intelligence communities to create the leading automation trade association. Under the new A3 brand, anyone interested in automation can take full advantage of the new home on AUTOMATE.ORG—from education and safety, connecting with new customers and suppliers, training, getting started, and more. Additionally, with just one membership, companies looking to maximize their involvement will have access to even more benefits.

A3 President Jeff Burnstein explains why the change, and how will combining the existing associations—the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control and Motors Association (MCMA) and A3 Mexico—into one A3 help organizations looking to benefit from automation.

As we grew through the years, it became increasingly difficult to explain how the individual associations differed from each other, why companies had to join multiple associations, and why they remained separate at all in a world where companies are looking for automation solutions that often involve all of these technologies and more.

Look at all the technology advances that did not exist when we first started out as the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) in 1974: mobile and collaborative robots, smart cameras, embedded vision systems, deep learning, simulation, remote operation, AR/VR technologies, sophisticated grippers, 3D printers, and more.

So, four years ago, board members of the individual associations met in Atlanta and decided that the challenges faced by each group were the same. They recommended that we explore merging into one front-facing brand that would attract companies not just in our current technology spaces but also in areas like artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and other automation technologies underrepresented in our association. The technology world is changing, and we had to change along with it.

The culmination of that effort is our united Association for Advancing Automation. Anyone interested in how to successfully apply automation technologies, from small companies just starting their journey, to experienced users expanding their applications, has a new home.  This new home features a robust offering of valuable benefits for automation suppliers, integrators, users, consulting firms, technical schools, universities, start-ups and more.  

Come join us as we learn to use automation to make the world a better place.

Manufacturing Executives Say Real-time Data Key to Innovation and Competitive Advantages

The results of a recent survey. Where do you fit on their maturity index? Hopefully you are using the technologies and obtaining positive results.

Analog Devices, Inc. announced a newly commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Analog Devices, that shows that industrial manufacturers who have made investments in connectivity technologies (“high maturity”) are better positioned to drive innovation and gain a competitive advantage compared to firms that have been slower to implement connectivity (“low maturity”) across the factory floor. 

The study, based on a survey of more than 300 manufacturing, operations, and connectivity executives across the globe, found that 85% of high maturity firms are currently using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies across much of the factory floor, compared to 17% of low maturity organizations. Over half (53%) of low maturity organizations report that their legacy equipment is unable to communicate with other assets.

“This past year was a true catalyst for digital transformation and many businesses needed to navigate and adopt connectivity strategies that helped them to become more agile and lay the groundwork for future innovation,” said Martin Cotter, SVP Industrial, Consumer & Multi-Markets at Analog Devices. “We see significant opportunity in the adoption of connectivity solutions, including 5G, to help organizations get data more quickly, enabling end applications.” 

Findings from the research include: 

  • Connected firms believe that improving network reliability (including adding 5G networks) will create significant opportunity: 68% of high maturity firms say this will enable them to make better use of existing cloud infrastructure and 66% believe their industrial data and IP will be more secure. Conversely, only 21% of low maturity firms believe that improving network reliability will help improve security. However, all respondents agree that improving network reliability will improve efficiency by freeing up employees who are constantly resolving downtime issues. 
  • Low maturity firms struggle with security risk: 54% say that their lack of sophisticated cybersecurity strategy puts their business, customer, and employee safety at risk. 
  • The human element continues to pose challenges: Almost half (47%) of low maturity firms say they lack the expertise to understand which connectivity technologies to invest in, indicating a skills gap. Even high maturity firms report that it is not easy for them to access the insights they need to make labor planning and safety decisions.  
  • Real-time monitoring of equipment and productivity demonstrates an acute awareness of the high cost of unscheduled downtime: High (5%) and medium (17%) maturity firms reported much lower occurrence of unscheduled downtime of their industrial technology or equipment each week than low maturity companies (53%). These interruptions, lead to higher cost of holding inventory and labor per unit, loss of production and customer confidence and decreased work capacity.

This research shows us that while many firms are benefiting from the promise of industrial connectivity, others have significant legacy and talent-related hurdles to overcome. Innovation is hindered by both a shortage of in-house expertise and interoperability of systems and data, two major hindrances to manufacturing modernization.

Methodology: For this study, “Seamless Connectivity Fuels Industrial Innovation” (March 2021) – commissioned by Analog Devices – Forrester Consulting conducted a global online survey of 312 industrial connectivity strategy leaders. Survey participants included decision-makers in IT, operations, cybersecurity, and general management manufacturing roles. The study was conducted in October 2020.

For the full study click here.