Digital transformation in manufacturing offers huge gains, but it isn't something you can buy off the shelf. It is a journey that must be carefully orchestrated to mitigate the risk of breaking existing processes or introducing new security risks.
CuBE Packaging, a producer of environmentally conscious and ethically manufactured containers for the food industry, sought to double their production capacity by adding new state-of-the-art injection moulding systems. However increasing capacity wasn’t enough in itself; they also wanted to leverage Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ideas to increase productivity, quality and throughput.
At its most basic level, IIoT gathers data from sensors, brings that data together with data from other sources, then derives useful information to automate or improve an operation.
The challenge in industrial environments is the machines you want to measure have traditionally been the domain of the manufacturing operations team, and run on self-contained proprietary control systems. This is the world of OT or Operational Technology, typically managed by the factory operations team.
The world of IT or Information Technology, on the other hand, runs on IP protocols, utilizing standard networking and x86 based servers running an application on a standard IT operating system or cloud platform. In addition, this world of IT is usually managed by the IT team.
Bridging the worlds of IT and OT can be challenging both from a technology and cultural perspective, so working with an ecosystem of partners with experience in each domain can help to ensure you don't introduce new problems into the system. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as an ecosystem integrator, has brought together both OT and IT partners to help introduce the benefits of IIoT to CuBE Packaging.
Last year, PCM (an HPE IT reseller) invited CuBE Packaging to HPE Discover, where they visited the PTC booth (one of our alliance partners). CuBE realized when viewing the demo that many of the operations performed manually by walking the floor could be replaced with condition monitoring from a central dashboard.
CuBE Packaging has a variety of systems of different vintages from different manufacturers that don't all talk the same language. Gathering all of this data into one dashboard meant working with PTC's Kepware Industrial Connectivity platform to transform it into a common format; and PTC ThingWorx to provide a platform for the operational performance and overall equipment monitoring (OEE) dashboard.
The injection moulding process is sensitive to temperature, speed, weight and thickness, so requires careful control of both the moulding machines and the climate control systems across the factory. The cooling system is the no minor way the lifeblood of the factory - if it goes down, the whole operation comes to a halt.
PCM (the HPE solution provider) brought together representatives from HPE (for the IT), PTC (IIoT software) and an IT/OT integrators (Callisto Integration) to architect a solution for CuBE.
With its new IIoT framework in place, CuBE has the tools it needs to gain keen, granular insight into its manufacturing processes—and perhaps more importantly, that insight is now in real-time. CuBE can identify and address issues before they cause downtime, affect quality, or impact throughput.
The team implemented a secure Aruba wired and wireless network in the factory to gather data from the systems across the factory. CuBE now run their Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and MRP (materials requirement planning) systems on HPE Synergy & and HPE Nimble Storage (virtualized under VMware). The HPE Synergy system collects and analyzes 3-400 GB of data daily.
CuBE continues to explore additional technologies and use cases, to improve visibility and operations efficiency. These include predictive maintenance to forecast potential issues before they result in downtime, and industrial Augmented Reality to help visualize system status.