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A new approach to integrating IoT in factories: Express App Platform – Manufacturing



If you are responsible for plant operations or IT in a manufacturing company, one of the biggest obstacles to deploying IoT solutions is complexity. Even if your team is ready to expand a converged IT infrastructure to the industrial edge in order to better leverage IoT, there might be dozens or even hundreds of pieces of legacy equipment to integrate, from decades-old CNC milling machines to industrial robots of a more recent vintage. Because of the multitude of protocols, data types, and specialized software interfaces, deploying applications in a converged edge environment requires an intense degree of configuration and customization, not to mention separate hosting of legacy and bespoke applications.


HPE’s new integrated solution for the factory floor, Express App Platform – Manufacturing, is designed to take away the pain of application deployment and unify the operation of legacy and smart factory operations. By making it easier to integrate IoT and smart factory applications while continuing to run older applications, Express App Platform – Manufacturing allows companies to avoid disruption of ongoing plant operations–a key consideration for any manufacturing venture.


Express App Platform - Manufacturing is located close to operations on the plant floor, and avoids many of the latency, bandwidth, security, and cost issues associated with remote hosting of Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). Automated production processes that depend on sensor-based data run faster, and there is little risk in losing production if a remote connection to the central data center fails. Moreover, there is a faster reaction time to local events, saving precious seconds in the event of a safety incident or critical production issue.


What’s included


Express App Platform – Manufacturing is a simple, out-of-the-box factory solution that can be set up in a matter of hours. It combines a hyper-converged infrastructure based on HPE SimpliVity 380, as well as the Express App Platform Intelligent Agent which securely downloads applications from Cloud28+, the world’s largest cloud aggregator. Plant staff can deploy applications and cloud services from the extensive Cloud28+ catalog with just six clicks. It’s as intuitive as using the app store on your mobile phone!


Express App Platform – Manufacturing is flexible enough to host many types of industrial applications, regardless of whether they are downloaded from Cloud28+, provided by other vendors, or developed in-house. Supported application types in the ISA-95 reference model fall mainly within level 3 and parts of levels 4 and 2, and include:


Level 4: Enterprise production planning and control.

  • Planning and control applications including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Advance Planner and Optimizer (APO), and operations execution system (OES).
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and associated design tools.
  • Applications for manufacturing data such as Supply Chain Management (SCM), Business Intelligence (BI), Enterprise Quality Management (EQM), data warehouse (DW), enterprise Asset Management (eAM), historian, and Product Data Management (PDM).
  • Message bus.
  • Collaboration tools and corporate document management.
  • IoT and analytics, digital twins, and AI/machine learning/deep learning.
  • Security tools, including intrusion detection, key management, and encryption.


Level 3: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and control.

  • Control components, including MES, Electronic Work Instructions (EWI) and work order management, warehouse management systems (WMS), manufacturing operations document management.
  • Logistics scheduling and dispatch.
  • Advanced planning such as Real-Time Optimization (RTO) and Advanced Process Control (APC).
  • Production data including historian agents, Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence (EMI), Operations Intelligence (OI), Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), and Product Data Management (PDM).
  • Resource management including Materials Requirements Planning (MRP), Industrial Energy Management (IEM), time tracking, and asset management.
  • Message bus.
  • Operational IoT including Condition Monitoring (CM), visualization, augmented reality, predictive maintenance, and location-based applications.
  • Security including intrusion detection, key management, and encryption.


Levels 2 and 1: Process supervision and control; monitoring of physical devices.

  • Controllers such as Industrial Automation Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Programmable Automation Controllers (PAC), and Industrial Control Systems (ICS).
  • Data collectors including historian agents, and OPC-UA server gateways.


(Note: some applications occur in multiple places in the ISA-95 reference model.)


There’s more to Express App Platform – Manufacturing. It includes HPE OneView to automate the provisioning and management of compute, storage, and fabric resources. Built-in backup and disaster recovery provides the highest levels of data integrity and availability. All data is held and processed locally, which contributes to platform security.


Further, Express App Platform – Manufacturing can be used with HPE Edgeline IoT systems, which bring storage, compute, and data-capture features to the factory floor. Edgeline connects industrial systems with IoT sensors, providing faster access to data that can inform factory managers and even control automated factory processes.


HPE Pointnext offers various services to manufacturing organizations to help them plan, architect, and integrate Express App Platform environment with machine control systems and enterprise applications.


The on-premises solution is available now in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Global availability is planned for late 2017. To learn more, download the whitepaper which describes Express App Platform – Manufacturing and key features.




HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems are powered by Intel Xeon.

Empowering the Digital Enterprise to be more efficient and innovative through data-driven insights from the Internet of Things (IoT)
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