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Report | March 2018

Knitting industrial IoT into textile

Industry 4.0 solutions and digital advances represent great opportunities to increase competitiveness in manufacturing.

Modernisation has touched every industry. Textile industry is no exception! Even though decade old machines and processes are still in use, industrial IoT is gaining rapid traction in the textile sector. Industry 4.0 solutions and digital advances represent great opportunities to increase competitiveness in manufacturing. The increasing connectivity across machines and factories promises improvement in production, productivity, efficiency, inventory management and waste reduction.

Challenges and opportunities

Manufacturers around the globe have long realised the benefits of connected machines. But the next stage of development is integration of traditional manufacturing industries and smart technology. A typical factory contains equipment from a variety of vendors, with MES/ERP already in place. Many of the textile factories have decade old infrastructure, acting as a barrier in the way of technological adoptions. These existing equipment, machines, devices, and sensors are not connected.

One of the challenges associated with these brownfield factories are collecting data and moving it to upper layers and IT. Mostly data is collected and transferred manually from every machine to the system. This method of data processing is very slow, not real time and prone to errors. Unavailability of real-time data restricts and delays decision making. These disconnected systems result in process variability and errors that slow time-to-market, add cost and inhibit the improvement, efficiency, effective resource utilisation and quality.

These problems results in low profitability. To overcome these challenges, textile industry needs continued push towards enhanced automation. Although this may sound abstract, its impact is tangible and fundamentally changes business models in many organisations.

Connected machines reduces unplanned downtime

Textile manufacturing or production is complex, starting from fibre to finished products. A textile factory includes various machines such as spinning, weaving, dyeing, printing, finishing and finally garment manufacturing. Being a continuous process, any unplanned stoppages impacts productivity and profitability. Predictive maintenance is the answer to minimising the risks of such unplanned downtime. B&R enables machine builders to integrate predictive maintenance in individual machines.

APROL system from B&R satisfies the requirements of flexible and modular factories without neglecting the high demands on availability and data consistency. APROL factory automation solutions provide integrated energy and condition monitoring along with process data acquisition in a single system. This system is completely scalable and utilises open platform. Its promises 24 x 7 monitoring so, machines and devices can be used to the maximum duration of their lifecycle and then be replaced when actually required. In APROL, parameters such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) can be viewed at any time and even compared between production lines, shifts or workdays.

Seamless shop-floor connectivity

Industrial IoT analytics and optimisation promises higher productivity, but requires connectivity and continuous access to machinery. However, to have the connectivity to the shop floor, the IT department from the factory acts as a major hurdle. This is due to the fact of varied KPIs of different departments. IT department focuses on confidentiality and integrity whereas availability of machine and lines is a secondary concern. However, the maintenance and production department needs machine and lines to be available for production and integrity and confidentiality are of secondary importance.

With Secure Remote Maintenance (SRM) solution, B&R perfectly balances the needs of IT and production. Diagnosis and maintenance of machines and factories is now easier than ever. The solution utilises the latest IT and security standards and allows for significant savings with low investment costs. SRM enables operators to have seamless secure connectivity right down to sensors and variables. Machine builders or service technicians can access machines from anywhere in the world without interfering with the IT network of the factory. The IT configures and provides access rights and only authorised personnel can access the network. This offers a perfect mix of accessibility, security and data integrity. This solution helps minimising downtime and maximising OEE of machines and factories.

Faster to market with ultimate software

Software has become the differentiator for automation solutions. In the highly competitive textile industry, being faster to market is of prime importance to machine builders. B&Rs Automation Studio, the single tool for software development for all hardware, is the perfect fit for machine builders to reduce the time to market. It helps machine builders to deliver an unprecedented array of cutting-edge features to support every stage and aspect of product development, simulation, diagnostics and maintenance. It helps in keeping the quality up, engineering costs down and shorter time to market even in the face of ever-increasing machine and product complexity. The simulation environment supported by Automation Studio enables the machine builders to develop machines even without the availability of hardware.

Automation Studio is able to simulate everything right down to motion components. Its integration with Maple sim and Mathworks enables machine builders to even simulate mechanics. This has helped them to reduce costs and time due to rework and design errors. Together with Ethernet POWERLINK, openSAFETY and OPC UA, B&R offers its customers the perfect tools to meet the high demands of Industry 4.0.

Smart manufacturing with B&R

To remain competitive in the era of industrial IoT, digital transformation is the need of the hour. B&R offers complete hardware and software solutions, comprehensive service and expertise in automation and digitalisation of textile machinery and equipment. v With dedicated technology and global open source communication standards such as OPC UA, POWERLINK and openSAFETY as well as the powerful Automation Studio software development environment, B&R is the right partner for implementing industrial IoT solutions in both new and legacy equipment. With solutions for machine to factory automation, B&R serves as a perfect partner to textile industry for sustainability, flexibility, higher productivity and profitability.

The article is authored by: Ninad Deshpande, Head- Marketing at B&R Industrial Automation.

He can be contacted on: ninad.deshpande@br-automation.com

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