The Industrial Internet of Things: toward total integration
Industrial Internet of Things opens new integration possibilities? On the Automation World blog, Luigi De Bernardini’s point of view
Industrial and economic analysts predict that over the next ten years the demand for mass-produced, highly personalized products will guide innovation of production processes and organization. This will require the convergence of mechanical, electronic, and information technologies.
Innovation in fields such as robotics, automation, Cloud Computing, 3D printing, social networking and connectivity will lead to a new form of production identified as smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things. This imminent convergence of multiple technologies will not merely lead to new manufacturing processes, but to a more radical transformation of business processes that are directly linked to production. Processes in which human beings, machines and resources will communicate among each other in a very natural way, resembling what is happening today in social networks.
Proprietary interfaces and the development of custom integration systems will be outdated by the adoption of Internet-based standard protocols that will allow you to combine, in a flexible way, components from different vendors to quickly and effectively adapt the production processes to the market demands.
Flexibility has become the key to surviving and competing in today’s economic environment. It is further destined to become the core element around which any productive organization is structured, expanding processes beyond the traditional walls of each plant.
Production will, in fact, continue to become ever more interconnected, until each component is interconnected with all others, generating the Industrial Internet of Things.
Logistics will need to be first to adapt. Increased flexibility goes hand in hand with the need to reduce stock levels, which many companies have already embraced as part of lean manufacturing initiatives. This results in the need to improve the procurement process, often involving a large number of parts from global suppliers with greater transport times. This increases the number of manufacturing steps needed.
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