FIOT – A Digital Transformation Strategy
of the Manufacturing Plant
How to turn your production plant's data into information that will help you make prompt decisions? This is what digital transformation is all about. At FOXON, we call it the FIOT.
FIOT projects aim to launch a plant's digital transformation. This is a step-by-step process that involves:
The FIOT represents the ecosystem of a digitally transformed factory, as developed by the company FOXON.
Such comprehensive factory digitalisation benefits maintenance, production, quality, energy and the entire management. Condition monitoring (CM) enables the plant to monitor trends in the development of the quantities measured and identify imminent machine faults before they can impact on a machine's operation. Long-term automated OEE monitoring helps make production processes more effective and efficient. Systematic energy consumption monitoring allows the factory to optimise consumption and reduce the carbon footprint.
Putting all of this data together and understanding it in context enables staff to obtain a full picture of what is happening in the plant.
We invite you to draw inspiration from projects implemented by FOXON.
The Key to a Successful Digital Transformation
1. Collect data from machines and standardise it
Start from the bottom. A production line's control systems contain plenty of useful data. All you need to do is access it. You can then gain information about your production (e.g. OEE, cycle time, downtime and quality) as well as technological data (e.g. temperatures, pressure, energy consumption, vibrations and flow rates).
In addition, all of this data needs to be standardised, which means converted into the universal OPC/MQTT communication protocol, stored in one database and sorted in such a way that it can be used in higher-level systems.
In the FIOT, we collect data from many different shop-floor-level systems, for instance PLCs, CNCs, IoT sensors and robots from various manufacturers. We can also monitor the quality of PROFIBUS and PROFINET networks.
The FIOT is not a software application but know-how as to how to choose applications from the technologies available that will be the best for you.
2. What to do with the data next? Integrate it with other OT and IT systems
The data, prepared as described above, can then be provided for many employees and systems from across the plant. It is stored in one central datahub, the UNS, which makes this data available for other systems.
The data can be useful for:
The FIOT ensures that users rely on the same data source. A big advantage is that all data is provided online and real-time, so you do not have to wait for days or weeks for data to be analysed, as before.
3. Turn the data into valuable information. For everyone
Collecting data is not enough. You have to see it. Not only at the level of the management but also across the enterprise.
And, if you want to be able to make sense of the data fast, you need to look at it using handy reporting tools, for example the Power BI.
These tools feature user-friendly graphs and visualisations. You can see historical as well as nearly real-time, online data, so generating reports is no longer a matter of hours or days.
The idea behind FIOT projects is to put production and technological data together so that you can obtain the full picture, enabling you to make decisions faster and more effectively, whether you are a manager or a maintenance engineer.
Talk to your colleagues about what problems they have, what prevents them from doing their jobs and what needs to be improved.
Are you short of accurate production data? Do you need to reduce downtime and energy consumption? Does turning production data into reports for your meetings take too long?
What should your ideal working day look like? How is it different from the current situation?
Solving the most pressing problem is not enough because another one is going to emerge. Data acquisition and digitalisation are long-term tasks. In the future, you will definitely have to include additional machines, IT systems and people in your data collection.
Only when you know what you need can you look for a way to achieve it. The right systems integrator will help you create your project's architecture in such a way that it will address your problems.
Such a partner will know how to prepare a long-term strategy for you and how to choose technologies that will fit your purpose.
The first step is an introductory meeting in which you will tell us how and why you would like to collect data and how you think about your digital transformation.
We will advise you on to how to get started, what your strategy should look like so that it is a success, and what we can help you with.
If we meet and discuss the above, we can then plan further steps.