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Special Feature | April 2018

B&R Innovation Day focuses on IIoT

The fourth edition of B&R India’s “Innovation Day” once again provided a platform for thought leaders, industry experts and decision makers to share ideas on the Industrial IoT, smart manufacturing, design efficiencies, Industry 4.0 and digitalisation. This year’s event welcomed more than 200 attendees with a mix of technical presentations, live demos and a panel discussion – whose members agreed unanimously that digitalisation is not an option, but an imperative step forward for every organisation.

The tone for the event was set by B&R India Managing Director Jhankar Dutta: “In order to help our customers achieve their goals of improving productivity, throughput, quality and cost-effectiveness, we must adopt next-generation technologies and move towards smart manufacturing.”

In addition to unveiling numerous technological innovations designed to equip machine and plant builders for the future, B&R also took the opportunity to announce the launch of its new support hotline: “Our world class support further enhances our customer’s experience and helps them offer their customers faster service and reduced machine downtime,” said non-executive chairman PV Sivaram. “This will only be possible by utilising the strength of our IIoT-enabled approach.” Guest speakers from Logindex Solutions, Technoshell Automations and Prasad Group highlighted various aspects of Industry 4.0 readiness for SMEs in competitive markets. “Ever-changing consumer demands are driving machine complexity – and in turn requiring increasingly complex software,” noted Nikhil Baste, director of Technoshell Automations. “Our software developers are looking for ways to reduce the time spent on both programming and commissioning.”

By encapsulating frequently recurring machine functions in thoroughly tested software components, B&R’s mapp Technology helps them do precisely that.

“mapp enables easier maintenance and diagnostics by giving us access to control variables without the need for dedicated software, special training or access to source code,” explained Baste.

The highlight of Innovation Day 2018 was a panel discussion titled “Industry 4.0 – What is in it for me”. The discussion addressed various aspects next-generation Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0 and digitalisation technologies. The panelists examined challenges in adoption from the perspective of Indian organisations, as well as the benefits to be gained from successful deployment and the steps they can take to get there.

EUROMAP interfaces for Industry 4.0

The plastics industry is one step closer to a unified standard for communication between extrusion lines and MES systems. In a meeting held at the headquarters of Austrian automation specialist B&R, the EUROMAP 84 working group specified a new set of definitions for communication between extrusion lines and MES systems based on the open OPC UA standard. As manufacturing machinery and processes grow ever more complex, the limitations of existing hardware interfaces become increasingly evident. The EUROMAP 84 working group is therefore developing new interfaces based on OPC UA. Standardized interfaces are a fundamental requirement for effective and efficient networking of machinery and plants. In the age of Industry 4.0, it is not enough to simply define OPC UA as the transmission technology. It is also necessary to develop information models that define which machine and process data is transferred and which functions are provided.

EUROMAP working groups will be presenting numerous new interfaces over the coming year. K 2019 is an important milestone for presenting their first batch of accomplishments. Lead by German manufacturing association VDMA, European plastics industry umbrella organisation EUROMAP is currently working on numerous projects. Among them are OPC UA interfaces for exchanging data between injection molding machines and MES systems, between injection molding machines and robots, between injection molding machines and peripherals, and between blow molding machines and MES systems. Under the leadership of its “Plattform Industrie 4.0” initiative, the VDMA is working to develop general definitions for communication interfaces to be applied throughout the machine manufacturing industry.

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