A half-day workshop at the 2015 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) included discussions on three initiatives: Industrie 4.0, the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition. In the last part, Denise Swink, CEO of SMLC, and representatives participating in Smart Manufacturing test beds, platform, market place and Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII), gave updates on statuses on different SMLC initiatives.
The SMLC was born to help revitalizing the US oil and gas, process and hybrid manufacturing industry in the mid 2000's. The vision of the SMLC is to create savings and benefits by and for the consortium that no individual member would be able to create on their own. It develops common open architecture and infrastructure that helps making R&D, design, manufacturing and supply chain operations more intelligent. Faster access to more data, and improved usage of those data, for example through advanced modeling should lead to improved decision making. This in turn should lead to cost benefits and efficiency improvement, as well as more sustainable and safe operations. The Coalition mentions the merging of the physical and virtual worlds, for example using cyber-physical systems one of the key components enabling innovations leading to those benefits.
At the IIoT workshop, Jim Wetzel of General Mills, explained the complex requirements to a food supply chain. His objectives are to reduce budget and implementation time for supply chain applications by an order of magnitude. The test bed he coordinates makes certificates paperless, enables secured information sharing between supply chain partners, for example on raw material variability to adapt manufacturing, leading to lower inventories.
Larry Megan of Praxair, explained that industrial gas production consumes important volumes of natural gas and that the company has strong pressures to improve productivity and cost. It's smart manufacturing strategy is to apply low cost sensors for primary control and remote operation of units operated on customer's sites. The objective for the testbed at Praxair is to gather data from a steam methane reformer. With new sensors and using the SMLC platform Praxair's goals is to improve the models of the process, create process design of next generation process units, in order to substantioally save energy and material
Haresh Malkani provided a short overview of the automation and smart manufacturing initiative at ALCOA. The information-related part of the strategy will provide enhanced access and visualization of information, data integration, smart sensor and systems. The second part is to add smart manufacturing intelligence on top of the first: advanced analytics, modeling and simulation, integrated control, real-time flexibility and integration of manufacturing and the business.
Denise Swink introduced the CESMII, a US national network of regional SM centers, to create a market place for complimentary industry hardware and software solutions such as enterprise optimization; sensing, control and modeling to help companies of all sizes to manufacture clean products and create US $15B energy cost savings per year.
Bob Graybill of Nimbis Services, sketched the architecture of the SM platform as an open architecture in the cloud, that can host infrastructure, applications, workflow and other cloud-based services from multiple vendors that a user can select from a market place, and connect instances of with his proprietary control and automation, proprietary workflows for data collection, modeling and decision making. Part of the users' data, can be made available for partners through the architecture. The infrastructure would be multi-vendor, multi-user, scalable and secure.
The SMLC has a great concept with its shared infrastructure and architecture that can be used to build a company specific instance of an application landscape based on generic, plug and play components. It promises great cost effectiveness in creating solutions and all associated benefits of cost reduction, sustainability in manufacturing and integrated supply chains. The concept has the philosophy of creating jobs, and producing sustainably in integrated supply chains in common with the Europe 2020 strategy and Industrie 4.0, but it has a unique focus on making modeling more accessible and performing in R&D and engineering phases of the plant life cycle.
As other organizations (such as NAMUR) and regions (such as the EU) work on solving similar problems, cooperation or coordination with those organizations may be beneficial.
ARC will report in more detail on the SMLC presentations in an upcoming ARC Insight.
Keywords: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition (SMLC), General Mills, Praxair, Alcoa, Nimbis Services