Connecting Concrete to Carpet

Something I have heard mentioned repeatedly when talking about the Industrial Internet is the convergence of IT and OT. Call it “shop floor to top floor” or “sensor to cloud” or, most entertaining to me, “concrete to carpet,” what it’s all about is the vertical transition of data from the plant M2M communications to enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES).

This transition can be trickier than it seems, making the effective collaboration between controls engineers and IT engineers central to achieving success.

SIblog Intel Beckhoff 05 29 15An Intel case study of their collaboration with Beckhoff explains the situation in this way, “The hurdle is obtaining the data easily and via standard interfaces as traditional machine control technologies were not designed for built-in direct connectivity to ERP and MES. This has driven IT organizations to become more involved in helping make the necessary connections.”

Another important consideration is the large quantities of data that must be exchanged, from the sensor to the datacenter and back. In the paper, Intel explains that, “The corresponding protocols and standards offered by PC-based control make it an ideal solution for these tasks.”

The case study recounts the success Husky Injection Molding Systems found working with Beckhoff to develop a powerhouse Industrial PC (IPC). Husky’s goal was to reduce raw materials cost while still ensuring top part quality. The new IPC serves as a multitasking centralized controller and, since it’s 2013 launch, enabled productivity and cycle time gains from 3 percent to 12 percent, depending on application.

To learn more, please read, “Collaboration Accelerates the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0” or visit intel.com/industrial or beckhoff.com.