Smart Manufacturing: Machines for Millennials

Nov. 3, 2015
These aren’t your father’s machines. Just a generation ago, nearly every decision in every factory was made by well-intentioned workers and managers, but based upon limited information.  They routinely manually tweaked equipment and processes in a constant quest to meet production quotas. All the brainpower was human.  It’s staggering to examine the difference a few years can make. Smart manufacturing — connected machines talking to each other and the enterprise — are fundamentally changing how products are designed, made, shipped, and sold. The brains in an enterprise are now shared among humans and machines — improving performance dramatically: Equipment adjusts itself to improve uptime, quality, energy usage, and safety. Machines sync with peers to keep production volumes level, even during delays or faster-than-expected runtimes. Executives enjoy real-time insights that enable proactive decision-making for production, customer fulfilment, asset management, operations safety and security, maintenance, and logistics. Companies that embrace smart manufacturing can rapidly reinvent their industries — and seize new market share. Executives at manufacturers with a “wait-and-see” attitude toward smart manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT) should note that there are already 4.9 billion connected “things” in 2015 — a jump of 30 percent over 2014. And that total is projected to grow to 25 billion by 2020.  Savvy leaders are already running fast to implement smart manufacturing — in products, facilities, and across supply chains. They’re building a sustainable competitive advantage by combining automation, working data capital, and business analytics in creative new ways. Don’t fall behind. Start planning now for your own smart manufacturing revolution: How will your organization use smart manufacturing to improve processes, products, and customer service? What IoT-enabled data could you use now to operate more profitably? When will you capture the operations insights you’ll need tomorrow to keep pace with customer demands — for new products, services, tracking and documentation? Who will design and implement your smart manufacturing model — in information technology and operations management? Where can smart manufacturing take your organization — new products, new markets — and how will you fund the journey? Why are you still waiting? Learn more about The Connected Enterprise.

The Connected Enterprise creates new opportunities for productivity and efficiency gains by reducing costs, time to market and risk. Over the course of 26 versions, Studio 5000 Logix Designer from Rockwell Automation has been a stalwart enabler of control design. Version 27, which debuted at Rockwell Automation TechED in San Diego, adds new feature capabilities in an environment that combines engineering and design elements into one standard framework, enabling designers to build smart machines and systems based on real-world automation design workflows.

“Studio 5000 has four modules now, not just the one,” explained Andy Stump, manager, design software, control & visualization business, at Rockwell Automation. “It places focus on system design and configuration. Version 27 is a multi-discipline, multi-function release that is built around adding new modules into Studio 5000.  The result is enhanced automation design productivity for users.”

Personalization is everywhere, explained Mike Brimmer, product manager, Studio 5000. “By linking smart machines with enterprise systems, we can achieve a faster time to market and a lower total cost of ownership,” he said. “We need to leave behind the outdated set-it-and-forget-it mindset and be able to adapt in real time. The development process is short, but critical. It can be complex and overwhelming, and serial stages can be frustrating. But, Studio 5000 is here to help!”

Studio 5000 Architect

Architect, one of the new modules, provides a single place where users can set up and configure their system. “We build a system framework of three layers—control, supervisory and network—in Architect,” explained Tony Carrara, product manager. “We need a tool to help the team build this framework. Increasing automation productivity is the core of Studio 5000 Architect.”

By linking smart machines with enterprise systems, we can achieve a faster time to market and a lower total cost of ownership

— Mike Brimmer, product manager, Studio 5000

“You don’t start a project the day you get the order,” Stump said. “Studio 5000 Architect can import that pre-engineering work you used for the bid.  It’s something you had to do anyway, so it makes sense to reuse it to get a jump on the design process.”

View Designer

View Designer is another new module in support of PanelView 5000 graphic terminal, the company’s newest electronic operator interface. “View Designer has been built with a couple of themes in mind,” Stump said. “The first is usability, and the second is productivity.  View Designer makes it easier to create your HMI applications through tight integration with Logix.  With the knowledge of each other, we can do things that can’t be achieved separately.”

According to Mark Hobbs, product manager, Studio 5000 View Designer, the new PanelView series has new widescreen format options and features a small footprint and sleek design. View Designer works with Logix Designer. Scalable graphics are available in the toolbox and animations show the state of the machine.

“We’ve enhanced our integration with Logix to create an integrated architecture,” Hobbs said. “Alarms can now be configured in the controller. Why would you want to duplicate this configuration in your HMI panel? You simply connect to the controller.”

View Designer allows inherent knowledge of tags in data structures, explained Stump. “You don’t have to tell the HMI about the attributes,” he said. “The controller can just tell it for you. We’ve also made the panel an I/O connection in the controller, which provides deterministic communication. That makes the button on the screen capable of some very high-speed interaction, less than 100 ms. It fundamentally changes the concept of what an HMI is and can do. And we’re still supporting open communications to Logix controllers, so we’re standing by our hallmark of being open and available, but we’re leveraging integration to bring new value to our users.”

Application Code Manager

The other new module is Application Code Manager. “Many of our customers have already built up great engineering productivity tools over time—for example, Visual Basic tools or powerful excel tools,” said Stump. “But those can be costly to maintain and have to be updated.   Application Code Manager solves this problem.  The Application Code Manager is an integrated bulk engineering and project creation tool with focus on helping users quickly develop new projects based on established libraries of code.

“Some people have built up library standards, and they don’t want to have to rewrite things,” he said. “They can take the existing code and mark it to create a library object. That native library decoration or marking in the code is new in Version 27. Application Code Manager can now read those. If they’ve designated pumps or conveyors, for example, Application Code Manager will read that and know how to build a project. It’s very wizard-driven.”

Application Code Manager’s primary benefit is to turn reusable content into modular objects that can be stored in libraries, explained Lorenzo Majewski, product manager.

“These are embedded with configuration parameters,” he said. “For example, the motor control object can specify the name and description, but you also can designate the motor type—single, reversing, two-speed, hand-operated—and you can designate overload. An engineer can configure the object. It’s built and stored in a database, providing for centralized access. The user can export the feature to Excel, modify it and then import back to the database. When you initiate a bulk build, Application Code Manager will transform names, descriptions and tag values.”

After the build is complete, a user can add to it in Logix Designer, which is still the foundation of the Studio 5000 environment.

“As devices become smarter and create more information that’s used to control things, we need a solid foundation,” said Chris Como, product manager, Logix Designer. “Applications range in sizes, and there are varying degrees of complexity. With the new enhancements and new modules, design teams can share a common approach. You can design a motion control system one day and a safety system the next day and a batch system the following day, and they all have a common environment.

“We see modular code designs in hardware and software,” Como said. “Studio 5000 has subroutines, add-on instructions and programs containers so the modular method allows you to make changes more easily and understand what you’re modifying. We can represent a system by its logical flow. With good modular design, it makes it easier to build upon a foundation that sets you up for the future. When it comes time for commissioning, your team can be online with the same controller.”

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