Manufacturing and industrial automation environments have become increasingly complex. They house different types of equipment—along with different manufacturing software applications—each with a different purpose. Yet somehow, it all has to work together in order to solve real-world manufacturing objectives. On top of that, businesses are looking to utilize the data and information that these manufacturing systems produce.
Oct 24, 2012, 8:34 AM
Aug 21, 2012, 7:18 AM
Walking into the world’s largest polymer manufacturing plant, you’d see nothing unusual. Your guide would proudly show you the pristine new control room or the 40 towering, shining steel silos. You’d probably not meet Christine—even though without her, the whole thing would come to a grinding, expensive halt.
Hidden away in a windowless, tiny office, Christine and her small team are managing those silos. Almost all the production risk is on their shoulders. Get it wrong and the silos overflow, or a product is contaminated, stopping production and costing millions of dollars an hour.
This team needs a simple process to follow; every action they have to perform increases the risk. If their process includes digging through a SAP screen for each silo, exporting data to Excel so it can be properly viewed, sending data to other teams for MES, DCS, and Labs data to be added, and then sharing it with a third party logistics team, something is going to go wrong.