What do factories of the future need to do to accommodate IoT with minimal disruption?

by Brianna Crandall — June 9, 2017 — As with all facilities in industries facing disruption from a connected world, manufacturing plants need to strategize for the future. Recent reports from three different Frost & Sullivan research teams explore the future of manufacturing from different points of view, as highlighted below.

Automation solution providers shift gears to align with IIoT-driven industry transformation

Tectonic shifts are underway across process and discrete industries due to the need for capital efficiency, asset efficiency and resource efficiency, according to the latest report. These trends are nurturing the growth of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0. The convergence of algorithms, cloud, data, devices and networks drive a creative destruction and expansion of traditional business models. Further, the directional shift from CAPEX -> OPEX cycles will see the market focus more on brownfield assets / modernization-driven projects in the short term.

manufacturing plant

The Industrial Internet of Things is driving the manufacturing industry transformation.

According to the report, the emergence of new business and operational models mandates solution providers to steer towards digital solutions, as the need for outcomes and prescriptive insights grows. Another key trend in the market is the industry preference towards solution integration, enterprise-scale contextualization of insights, and multi-site deployments. All of these steer an intense collaboration between IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology), which flattens out the traditional layered hierarchical architectures present in process and discrete industries.

The flattening of automation architectures has led to the emergence of several digital industrial platform offerings such as Ability from ABB, Mindsphere from Siemens AG, PlantWeb Digital Ecosystem from Emerson, Predix from GE Digital, Lumada from Hitachi Corporation, Leonardo from SAP AG, Watson from IBM, to name a few.

Global Automation Industry Outlook, 2017, is part of Frost & Sullivan’s Industrial Automation and Process Control Growth Partnership subscription. The study examines the market for distributed control system (DCS), programmable logic controller (PLC), supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA), process safety system, machine safety systems, human-machine interface (HMI), variable frequency drive (VFD), operator training simulators (OTS), general motion control (GMC), sensors and transmitters, flowmeters, manufacturing execution systems (MES), enterprise asset management (EAM), and product lifecycle management (PLM) across key process and discrete industries, such as power, oil and gas, chemicals and petrochemicals, food and beverage, aerospace and defense, and automotive.

A major restraint to the global automation industry was the weakening of investments in the oil and gas segment, according to the report. With oil prices recovering from late 2016, cautious optimism is obvious in most process industries, and investments are expected to see positive growth in the second half of 2017.

Emerging automation market themes for the next two to three years include:

  • Plant-floor analytics;
  • Convergence of sensing, control, and information platforms;
  • Collaborative robotics in production;
  • Adaptive OT cybersecurity for industrial networks;
  • Augmented reality on the shop floor;
  • Hybridized machines to unlock the benefits of both additive and subtractive manufacturing;
  • Digital twins, or software replication of physical assets, to plan for equipment maintenance and prevent unplanned downtime;
  • Edge analytics and intelligence that can filter out non-critical data;

To purchase the Global Automation Industry Outlook, 2017: Digital Transformation Reshapes Every Industrial Market and Creates New Pivots of Growth for Automation Solution Providers report or to register for a consultation with Frost & Sullivan, visit the company’s Web site.

Manufacturing 4.0 to redefine the factories of the future; manufacturing leaders must accelerate the pace of innovation

Within a few years, factories across industries will become high-tech engines fueled by the convergence of mega trends and technologies such as artificial intelligence, connected platforms and 3D printing, according to the second report. As these advancements to Manufacturing 4.0 take root, manufacturers need to prepare for potential disruptions. The industry must also manage the challenges of an aging workforce, an exponential increase in data and increasing cybersecurity vulnerabilities. In the midst of these transformations, how should manufacturing enterprises respond to and prepare for the disruptions ahead?

The recent white paper from Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council, Vision 2030: The Factory of the Future (register for free download) , provides insight on how manufacturing leaders can navigate the technology transformations and complexities of Manufacturing 4.0 and capitalize on growth opportunities that will help the industry redefine the future.

As manufacturing becomes increasingly connected and information-intensive, every aspect of the enterprise is likely to be affected, asserts the report. Manufacturers will need to be confident that the connected world will remain safe and secure. In addition, the need to train next-generation employees to use new and advanced technologies, including generating insights from exponential Big Data, will require a major change in mindsets with a vision towards the future.

Overall, while incremental improvements can be achieved by leveraging digital tools, significant growth can be made if leaders focus on identifying big transformative ideas, similar to cognitive manufacturing. It is up to manufacturers to remain aware of these disruptors and take advantage of their growth potential, concludes the report.

Innovations enabled by Industrial IoT (IIoT) accelerate the shift to Manufacturing 4.0

Manufacturing across the globe is on the threshold of a revolution, with Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT, or IIoT) enabling manufacturers to influence the capacity of objects to communicate with and sense the world around them. This newfound ability of machines to help analyze and streamline processes is attracting investments and creating numerous opportunities for manufacturers. With Industrial IoT, the Industry 4.0 manufacturing environment will be fast, automated and customer oriented.

Industry 4.0 graphic

Innovations enabled by the Industrial IoT (IIoT) are accelerating the shift to Manufacturing 4.0.

IIoT Market Watch — A Snapshot of the Most Promising Companies in the Industrial Landscape, part of Frost & Sullivan’s Industrial Automation and Process Control Growth Partnership Subscription, analyzes various trends in Industrial IoT and segments the existing and emerging companies under each trend. The IIoT providers covered include existing vendors that have been prominent in the industrial domain as well as many emerging IoT companies that are entering and diversifying into the industrial space.

Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation and Process Control Research Analyst Anisha Nikash Dumbre stated:

Industrial IoT enables factories to unlock operational efficiency, optimize production as well as assets and increase worker safety. Recognizing these advantages, developed economies like Europe and the U.S. are eager to adopt Big Data, augmented reality (AR) and other Industrial IoT trends in the manufacturing space. Emerging economies like Asia-Pacific are also making significant progress toward deploying Industrial IoT technologies.

Although a growing number of companies are becoming aware of the importance of Industrial IoT, there is still a gap in understanding the extent of the impact it can have on their businesses, according to the report. Companies are also said to be deterred by the inherent complexities and costs involved in deploying Industrial IoT services; however, this can be overcome through a phased implementation. Even the advanced skills needed to apply the technologies optimally can be acquired through partnerships and skills development programs.

The report lists some of the most prominent adopters of Industrial IoT across the world as GE, Siemens, Bosch, PTC, Waygum, Hitachi and Zebra Technologies. These market majors are said to have considerable industrial expertise and have established a strong footprint in Industrial IoT services on their own or through partnerships with other major vendors.

Dumbre noted:

Industrial IoT is truly the next big technology wave in the global industrial market. The availability of low-cost sensors and Cloud IoT platforms will prove to be a game-changer in manufacturing. Additionally, technologies such as AR and virtual reality will cause paradigm shifts in product design, engineering and after-sales services. In due course, businesses will move from product-based models to service-based models.

To purchase the IIoT Market Watch—A Snapshot of the Most Promising Companies in the Industrial Landscape: Identifying and Earmarking New Drivers of Change in the Manufacturing World report or to request complimentary access to more information on this analysis or to register for a Growth Strategy Dialogue, visit the Frost & Sullivan Web site.