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IIoT enables manufacturers to embrace a more connected, responsive and streamlined framework: Amit Chadha, L&T Technology Services

Amit Chadha, President, Sales and Business Development & Executive Director, L&T Technology Services, in a conversation with Express Computer, talks about the benefits of IIoT in today’s scenario, what are the global trends and major challenges in this area

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What are the current scenario of the IIoT market?

IIoT has given us the power to make the system coherent and analyse all aspects of the product lifecycle and value-chain. Once comprehensive data is collected and properly analysed, organisations are in a better position to take corrective measures and implement necessary changes to improve performance and enhance productivity as well as reliability of the systems. Every organisation wants to avoid an unplanned breakdown of the running system.

Industrial IoT provides the ability for different machines to be connected to a central point in order to provide data that can be analysed to understand the problem. We can predict in advance what is going to happen. We can have a plan B or plan C in place to make sure the line or overall process is delivering what it has set out to commit. IIoT enables manufacturers to embrace a more connected, responsive and streamlined framework that can be used for decision-making and planning.

IIoT serves multiple benefits in an organisational setup – it connects different parts of a plant, links different machines to provide insights on what is happening from the factory floor to the logistics, and through predictive analytics creates algorithms that can ascertain which machine, line, plant, factory will run at a given time, so that there is enough redundancy that can be created in the system. This is the advantage of IIoT that we can see in today’s times.

What are the specific trends among clients in India and globally?

There are two or three significant trends that we are experiencing today. Firstly, the demand for smart plant manufacturing is rising; there is a lot more that is being done in terms of sensorisation of equipment. It is the process of putting sensors to ensure that parallel multi-protocol connections are established and companies are able to put a unifying layer on top of it to manage different because PMCs. On top of this, the second trend that is the deployment of machine learning algorithms and Digital Twins. Digitised production and use of a Digital Twin improves the amount and effective use of valuable data about the manufacturing process. Implementing condition-based maintenance (CBM) can help reduce equipment downtime, improve data collection, and improve overall equipment effectiveness.

These are some of the trends that we are seeing today in the market, on the plant side. Whereas, in terms of inventory control, warehouses and supply chains themselves are undergoing transformation. Through warehouse management, one is able to track the status and location of the package, the status of the shipment, the level of inventory in the warehouse and whether they are increasing in terms of value and need.

What are the major challenges in the area?

The major challenge facing the manufacturing companies is the non- standardisation of equipment and the non-standardisation of packages. The problem of silos exists here, given that there are different packages in the same plant and they are not in sync with each other. For instance, in a big plant, the body shop will be running on a different package, while the finishing or door lamps are on a different package. Bringing all this together and providing a unified view of the entire process/line is a challenge and also an opportunity for us. That is when companies like us get into consulting, creating an infrastructure, bringing it together as a unified layer.

Do you think security is one of the challenges in IIoT?

Security is a very important aspect that can either make or break IIoT implementation. A hacker can potentially crack an automotive through the vehicle’s infotainment system. Radio system operate on signals in the air; there are people who can hack into the car and gain control. Imagine a similar breach to a plant; a hacker creating havoc in a plant by gaining illegal access through the systems implemented. These are just a couple of scenarios, but they reflect the magnitude of the problem. Hence, security is an utmost essential feature. There is a security layer that is needed on top of all the machines and systems. Manufacturers need to catch up on to the threat and this is possible through better standardisation and regulation protocols. The fate of the IIoT revolution may depend upon it.

How can we tackle security challenges?

IIoT systems have to protected against the cybersecurity challenges. The number one priority for this is creation of a secure layer. Each product needs to have a secured layer and there has to be interconnectivity which has to be safeguarded as well. Manufacturers can leverage certain APIs and algorithms to get the system secured. At LTTS, we have a team of 120 people in Israel which helps us in our security practice for manufacturing companies and corporates to take things forward. We are currently engaged with various companies with homegrown packages and are also developing our own inhouse proprietary software that we are implementing with API and algorithms to deal with cyber security.

Please throw some light on the application of IIoT in Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 has paved way for the ‘Smart Factory’ or ‘Factory of the Future’ for which IIoT is an enabler. Consider the example of the automotive industry. The production starts with a body shop, followed by paint shop then the light shop. This is further followed by transmission and audio, etc before finally reaching the finished products line. With industrial IoT, we can look across the different sections of the plant and analyse them with a unified outlook to understand as to what the status of each of them is and if they are functioning fine. IIoT shares the status as to whether the machines, line or plant are functioning fine or there is any expected breakdown. Based on the information gathered, manufacturers need to decide what changes are to be made.

What would be the top trends in 2019 and beyond?

The emerging trends that we have observed are as follows:

  • Industrial automation market will reach US$ 239 billion by 2023
  • Augmented reality/ virtual reality market to grow at a CAGR of 28 per cent
  • 5G market to reach US$ 230 billion by 2025
  • New plants that will be set up will be a lot more digitalised than today
  • Autonomous driving is expanding to touch US$ 40 million by 2030
  • Finally, there will be a lot more machine predictability
  • The market is supposed to grow at 10 per cent CAGR and going green is another focus
  • With digitalisation we can predict the change right now

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at editors@expresscomputeronline.com

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