Industry 4.0: production lines get smart as the Internet of Things extends to manufacturing
We are going towards the 4th Industrial Revolution, thanks to the agreement between Tecnest and Eurotech, a leading supplier of smart devices and Machine-to-Machine technologies for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
“The application of the Internet of Things to industrial production plays a key role in the so-called Industry 4.0,” said Fabio Pettarin, President, Tecnest. “It’s a momentous change fostering extensive connectivity between machines, products and systems. The scenario created by such connectivity is quite interesting: it will be possible to analyze data to predict issues or failures, and systems will be able to self-configure to adapt to changes. And not only: the Industry 4.0 will change the factory concept itself and the relationships between suppliers, manufacturers and customers.” In Italy, the Smart Manufacturing market in 2015 accounted for almost 10% of total industry investments, while in 2016 further 20% growth is expected (forecast by Osservatorio Smart Manufacturing, School of Management, Politecnico di Milano).
The project was developed by two exceptional Friuli-based companies that have joined their skills to promote a leading-edge technological solution. On one side, Eurotech, the global corporation based in Amaro that has developed Everyware Cloud, a Machine-to-Machine software platform to connect physical devices (machinery or other equipment) to IT systems and software applications; on the other, Tecnest, based in Tavagnacco, with almost 30 years of experience in software solutions for the manufacturing industry.
“Our IoT tools and technologies can be applied to several industries. The agreement with Tecnest is focused on the manufacturing industry to develop a solution for the Factory 4.0. According to estimates, the advanced digitalization of a factory can result in 10% higher efficiency,” said Roberto Siagri, President and CEO, Eurotech.
Involved technology and solutions
“With our technology, each machine or production line becomes smart: they can detect their operating status and communicate via the Internet. The resulting data flow is transferred in real time to a cloud platform that provides a set of interfaces ensuring a lean and quick connection to several applications," Eurotech’s Siagri explains. “In the industrial domain, this means for instance that you can collect production data from an existing fleet of machines or new equipment, and make it accessible on the cloud to Manufacturing Execution applications like Tecnest’s”.
Data generated and collected from machinery must then be interpreted and delivered to all corporate functions and value chain actors, in order to monitor and improve manufacturing and supply chain operations. This is where Tecnest’s specific skills and solutions for the management of production planning and supply chain processes come into play, specifically their J-Flex software suite.
Towards Industry 4.0
“Our solutions have always helped manufacturers optimize their production processes, monitor the factory in real time to take action in case of critical events, and improve production performance,” said Pettarin of Tecnest. “The integration with Eurotech’s IoT platform represents another step towards the new paradigm of Industry 4.0: machine-to-machine interaction will support product customization and the production of small batches, while data collected and distributed on the cloud will ensure integrated communication across the entire supply chain. We will make the transition from the optimization of individual cells to a fully integrated production and IT flow, automated and more efficient."