By Alex Wilson
Shaping the Factory of the Future
When we look at digital business transformation, there are many aspects to be considered on how we might improve our company performance or expand into new or adjacent markets. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), or Industry 4.0, is driving digital transformation by optimizing our industrial control systems though use of intelligent decision making. We enable this by connecting our plant equipment, extracting data, and providing data analytics. It is this view of the plant that gives us the ability to make intelligence business-oriented decisions, in order to improve our efficiency, quality or enhanced automation.
As we start to shape the factory of the future, there are many challenges we need to overcome such as reliability, safety, cybersecurity, connectivity, and volume of data generated. However, from a practical side, solutions to these challenges are emerging that enable this evolution of our current factory infrastructure.
Our customer Omron Corporation in Japan is at the forefront of this smart manufacturing evolution. Their Industrial Automation Business Unit recently introduced its first Industrial PC (IPC) platform, specifically designed to innovate manufacturing through IoT utilization and high-speed, high-precision automation, bringing benefits to the factory floor. Wind River helped Omron solve the complex challenges its customers face when introducing IoT to the factory.
Omron identified several challenges when looking at adding IoT to the factory floor. First, the IPC had to control real machines while at the same time talk to the back office IT network, and secondly this new generation of controller had to allow for complex application development needs. Adding more complexity, the IPC must meet Omron’s high quality standards for performance and reliability in harsh industrial environments.
Wind River solutions are the basis for their IPC platform, with our VxWorks and Linux operating systems. These helped Omron combine secure IoT connectivity with high-speed, high-precision real-time automation; meet strict standards for quality, robustness, and long-term reliability; and provide flexibility to their end customers by allowing them to choose a controller powered by our VxWorks or Linux operating systems.
We look forward to helping Omron introduce further field and edge device innovations by enhancing IIoT connectivity, cyber security, and device management to bring greater automation, productivity, and quality to the manufacturing sector.
Read their full success story to see how they developed their IPC platform and their vision of the Factory of the Future.