Industry 4.0 standards introduce the Connected Factory approach. This implies an interconnected network of devices communicating in real-time. To work properly, such a model requires a set of interface devices: IoT hardware that translates the plant-floor equipment messages into meaningful data for your system, and vice versa.
Now, there are 2 ways you can go by. The first one is using the proprietary IoT devices from the MOM/MES software vendor. It is a widespread practice for software service providers to supply customers with devices specifically for their solution. The second approach is using the industry-standard hardware in your system. Let’s find out which one suits you the best.
Industry-Standard VS Proprietary IoT: The Consideration Points
Here are the points you should bear in mind when estimating the value of these devices for your system:
- Reliability. Service life is crucial for these devices, since unexpected downtimes are devastating for your overall production performance;
- Cost-effectiveness. Discover whether your devices are cost-effective by dividing their cost by the service life. Don’t forget to include the re-installation expenses;
- Flexibility. How simple it is to adapt these devices to multiple machines and interfaces? There is no constant solution in the manufacturing industry, and your devices should always be ready for changes.
Taking these points into account, you can understand whether the hardware suits you or not. Here at OLSOM, we have over 11 years of experience in building MOM/MES solutions, and this is what we’ve learned:
- The proprietary devices are less flexible. It involves substantial efforts to modify the system or attempt to connect hardware to the third-party software;
- The industry-standard devices take more time to configure initially. Since they offer standard (not proprietary) interfaces, you cannot use them right out of the box without configured interfaces.
As you can see, both options have their edges and shortcomings. However, OLSOM implements the industry-standard hardware, and there are multiple reasons for it.
First things first, these devices offer greater reliability. Building proprietary solutions on top of programmable devices, you risk purchasing low-quality hardware, since the reliable vendors rarely supply those. This means you should always have numerous backup devices just in case some of them start working incorrectly.
Another strong argument for industry-standard solutions is flexibility. The manufacturing business secures its interest by choosing those since it’s far more convenient to integrate industry-standard hardware with new machines and software. it is simply cost-effective in the long run.
How We Approach IoT Integration
Our AGW solution offers a flexible IoT interface, so you can integrate the majority of standard devices seamlessly. Whether it’s a direct communication with the PLC’s (AB, Siemens S7, Mitsubishi, etc.), or various wireless and wired remote I/O modules (ADAM-6060, WISE-4000, ioLogik E2200, Siemens LOGO!), with AGW, it’s a matter of a few steps to secure the plant floor connectivity to the system. Recommended way is a direct interface with machinery. However, it is not always feasible to connect legacy equipment. In this case OLSOM has vast experience of utilizing additional sensors with standard remote I/O devices.
The Bottom Line
Whether you implement proprietary or industry-standard IoT devices, keep in mind their strengths and drawbacks, and always have a backup plan.
If you are looking for extended expertise in building Manufacturing Execution Systems, reach out to OLSOM experts. We implement the latest technologies and strive to bring your business closer to manufacturing excellence.