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A wider view gives more accurate results

Taking a step back and analyzing processes from a larger perspective might take you to surprising places, such as a dinner table in a Chinese household, says Petri Asikainen, Director, Product Development at Konecranes. According to Asikainen, to get the most out of your production processes, having a wide view of the process in hand is crucial. By seeing the processes as a whole, monitoring them as widely as is possible and by adjusting the production facilities’ metrics accordingly, noticeable boosts can be gained in the total output.

Industrial monitoring is going through big changes. From the variety of ways in which equipment in an industrial setting can be monitored, to the new possibilities in remote monitoring and -operation, operators in facilities have gained new ways to operate efficiently. A great example of this can be found in the context of waste processing.

“We were asked to optimize the operating activities in a certain waste management facility. We noticed that once we installed a Remote Operating Station for the crane operators in the power plant’s main operating room, suddenly the old local operating room over the waste bunker wasn’t the number one choice for working anymore,” Asikainen says.

Having all the personnel operate the plant from one location allows for better communication between the operators in charge of different parts of the facility. It also offers noticeable savings for companies, as there’s no need to build additional local operating rooms just to be physically present for the operation of the cranes anymore.

Monitoring everything there is to be monitored

In many industrial operations, the crane is in the center of the production process. This unique position allows for the possibility to gain deep insight of the production process.

“The entire material flow in the facility might be dependent on the crane, and this gives us plenty of opportunities to create different types of insights for customer’s needs. One example, found in the context of the paper industry, is that we can better identify where reject appears. This is valuable information for the manufacturer, and if it can help to improve the material efficiency of the manufacturers process by half a percent – it might already cover the cost of the crane data gathering capability and analysis work with extremely short pay-back time,” Asikainen explains.

The cranes’ movement patterns can also be tracked in the production facilities, so that the biggest bottle necks can be found. This tracking also helps map the actual material flow. If a load is moved from one place to another several times back and forth, the whole process slows down.

“Existing manufacturing facilities continuously face the need to respond to the global race for lowering costs and improving efficiency. A thorough analysis of the material flow can help improve production. Through it, we can find out what kind of crane setup would suit the client’s process, a result which is based on the actual measured data. When one is considering rebuilding an existing facility, this kind of efficiency analysis is a good tool to define the profitable targets to invest in.”

As to why Asikainen ended up practically monitoring how a household dines, he uses it as an example of how processes can be optimized in various, wider ways.

“We discovered that the loaders used in the waste facilities in China were continuously moving heavier loads compared to their European counterparts. One reason for this was that the households use a large amount of oil in cooking. The residue ends up in the trash and then to the waste processing facilities. This has an effect on the raw material, making it finer and increasing its energy density,” Asikainen explains.

This has a direct effect on how the whole process is set up and the crane is optimized. When the operators have a better view on the type of waste coming in to the facility, the effect that the differences in waste have on the energy output can be taken into account better.

Benefits of monitoring

When asked about the benefits the increased monitoring brings for companies, Asikainen brings up the similarities between lift trucks and cars. Both have similar concerns, such as tire leaks. For both, leaks can be monitored and fixed faster through monitoring. Early reaction to low tire pressure decreases extensive wearing and improves safety.

The operability of cranes develops in similar trends as cars – functionalities which 15 years ago could have been sold only to extreme needs, are now common even in the most value-focused cranes.

“Snag prevention is an example of this. It automatically stops crane movement if a hook, a sling or a load accidentally gets caught on something. Having real-time information on both the environment in which the crane is operating as well as the loads that they are moving, has made it possible to halt the crane if something gets caught in the way”, Asikainen says.

Hook centering is also an effective technology to improve efficiency and safety. If you lift a load and the hook isn’t centered, the load starts to swing as it’s lifted off the ground. The hook centering positions the crane above the hook, eliminating a possible human error. The hook is where it is supposed to be before lifting the load.

Maintenance by demand

Another way in which the increased monitoring can be utilized by companies is by making maintenance more effective. When you have sensors measuring thousands of points of data, you can efficiently both prevent halts as well as optimize maintenances routes.

“With the increased amount of information, technicians can focus their attention to issues needing extra care. The crew can also receive info on which manuals, tools and parts they must have with them beforehand,” Asikainen says.

All in all, maximizing the improvement through monitoring is dependent on two things – both the gathered data and the insights. Through having both, companies can achieve a more holistic view of their process, one which is based more on the actualities of the operating environment, and not just on subjective, professional guesses. This makes the whole manufacturing process more reliable and transparent.

Petri Asikainen works as Director, Product Development at Konecranes.

Interview w/ Petri Asikainen

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Industry 4.0 could move mass customization into the automotive mainstream

Customization, regardless of the product, is always a strong selling point. When introducing the modern Mini, BMW liberalized their customer’s decision-making by offering “hundreds of options to choose from both inside and outside the car,” says Eugene Smethurst, Director and Process Automation Specialist at AECOM, in The Engineer, a UK-based publication for advanced engineering professionals.

What Industry 4.0 has the potential of doing is taking the customization process one step further. Via data integration, companies will be able to seamlessly bridge the relationship between themselves, their suppliers and their customers, to offer a more immediate and modular experience.

“The term [Industry 4.0] refers to a broad coalition of new manufacturing possibilities enabled by the collection, distribution and utilization of data, as well as the seamless connections between processes enabled by the internet. Automation unlocked in this way could bring customization within the reach of even the most cost-conscious buyer,” says Smethurst.

Though customization isn’t exactly a novel innovation, Industry 4.0 introduces facets to the experience which certainly are.  “What Industry 4.0 allows is for this approach to scale up into the millions, while reining in costs and speeding up time to delivery, so that customers are not left waiting months for all of the pieces of their customized car to be brought together or to be in stock at the same time,” says Smethurst.

Read more about the level of customization and collaboration that Industry 4.0 can unlock in the automotive industry at https://www.theengineer.co.uk/guest-blog-industry-4-0-could-move-mass-customisation-into-the-automotive-mainstream/

Via The Engineer

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The Industrial Internet Security Framework: A security framework built on cooperation

Global collaboration is essential to protect the industrial internet. “Attacks to industrial sites will not be a local affair in the industrial internet, but an international one,” says Dr. Jesus Molina, Security Consultant at Fujitsu, on the Industrial Internet Consortium blog. He was part of the team that worked on the recently published Industrial Internet Security Framework (IISF).

The framework required close cooperation from many contributors globally and it took a lot of patience and testing to get it right. According to Molina, each draft received hundreds of comments and they wanted it to be inclusive of many views, so it took years to get IISF completed. He believes the final document provides a comprehensive and balanced view on securing current and future industrial systems. He also says that the framework is a living document.

Read more about the new security framework at http://blog.iiconsortium.org/2016/09/the-industrial-internet-security-framework-a-security-framework-built-on-cooperation.html

Image credit: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock.com

Via Industrial Internet Consortium

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Leading players in the IoT for the automotive industry

A key pillar of Internet of Things advancement is automotive development. Writing in the IoT Tech Expo Blog, Jon Kennard lists the key players that are pushing IoT discovery forward in the automotive industry.

In Kennard’s opinion, groups such as Tesla, Renault, Google, Jaguar Land Rover and Siemens, among others, are leading the way in terms of the connected vehicle ecosystem. “Siemens has been researching and developing autonomous vehicles for years, and their view of the movement is much more from a network and system perspective. Buses, trains – very little falls out of scope for this forward-thinking tech giant.”

Read more about companies leading the IoT for the automotive industry here http://www.iottechexpo.com/2016/09/connected-car/leading-players-iot-automotive-industry/

Via IoT Tech Expo

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How to Hack a Port

How to develop digital solutions in a port environment, where things happen fast, and many actors must operate together seamlessly? This is the challenge Konecranes presented to developers at Maritime Hack organized on November 26 and 27 in Helsinki.

The third hackathon organized by Konecranes took hackers into a completely new environment – into a port, where the level of automation can be significantly higher than in a factory environment.

Maritime Hack was special also in another way –the event included three separate challenges and was organized by Industryhack in cooperation with Rolls-Royce, the City of Helsinki and Konecranes. The whole event gathered dozens of developers and designers to Arctech Shipyard in Helsinki.

“The whole maritime industry needs a lot of disruption, and there is a great demand for digitalization. It is a good example of an industry with many different players, regulations, and rules. The different players need to find new ways to work together to fully benefit from digitalization,” said Industryhack CEO Petri Vilén, who will be participating in the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2017.

The attending teams were chosen from a great number of applicants and granted access to the application programming interface (API) provided by the event organizers.

This time the teams had a unique opportunity to visit the Port of Helsinki on the week before the actual event. The visit included info sessions by organizing companies and a guided tour to the different areas of the port – the pier, the yard, and to the gate.

Full automation is the big dream – many things can be automated already today

The teams were presented with three different challenges that all concerned the use of digital information flow in port operations: vessel unloading, yard operations, as well as in-and-out land traffic.

“There is still a lot of manual intervention in container port operations. With automated information flow we can reduce the amount of manual work and also the risk of information being faulty. Full automation is the big dream, but there is a lot of smaller solutions that can be applied to existing operations already today,” explained Konecranes Sales Manager Ville Hoppu.

The teams received specialist coaching from a number of Industryhack coaches. The coaching was especially useful in developing the creative ideas into concrete solutions that create value for the customer. As the second day turned into night, many teams still continued to develop their ideas.

Winner team creates an application to optimize truck traffic

On the final day, each team got to present their solutions to the jury. At the demo session, the teams presented solutions to challenges ranging from weather conditions to container yard operations of small ports.

“The whole maritime industry needs a lot of disruption, and there is a great demand for digitalization. It is a good example of an industry with many different players, regulations, and rules” -Petri Vilén, Industryhack

Team Nortal developed the winning solution. The team presented a mobile application for truck drivers that strives to optimize time spent on cargo pickup. Currently there is hardly any communication between the port and the truck driver. This is something the winning team wants to change.

The winning application is set to optimize cargo pickup. The demo included a calendar view and a function that allows the truck driver to schedule an optimal time for cargo pickup. The application is set to improve efficiency and waiting time as well as cut costs. Reducing waiting times by one per cent can result in significant savings as cargo volumes are high.

Juha Pankakoski, Konecranes Chief Digital Officer, was surprised to see that all teams had focused on one theme – improving the information flow related to material flow at the port.

Pankakoski explained that the winning team was able to develop a very practical and well-functioning solution to a very practical problem.

“The winning solution has good applicability, and it can be easily deployed and distributed in actual working environment. It can also be easily developed further,” Pankakoski said.

The key to victory was the insight to tackle a very specific problem and develop a very concrete solution.

“The idea was quite simple, but we spent a lot of time calculating the business case behind it. We wanted to make sure that the solution actually creates value for Konecranes,” the winning team explained.

Tricky challenge, great ideas

Maritime Hack was different from the two previous hackathons organized by Konecranes because it took place in a complex port environment with a lot of different actors, regulations and rules. The two previous hackathons took place in a factory environment.

“Ports are complicated logistics hubs, where many actors have to work together and communicate with each other. Ports are also very controlled environments where functions take place on very designated areas. Different equipment and systems need to work together seamlessly. The environment is demanding and hectic,” Juha Pankakoski explained.

Pankakoski gave credit to the teams for finding novel solutions despite the tricky challenge.

“We noticed that this is by far a more challenging area than that of the two previous hackathons. All the more, I’m happy to see that the teams were able to come up with innovative ideas.”

To see all the videos from the three-day event, go to Konecranes’ YouTube channel http://youtube.com/user/liftingbusinesses

Find out more at http://konecranes.com/hackathon

Image credit: Daniel Taipale / Industryhack

by Industrial Internet Now

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