Digital Trends in 2019
Published by : Industrial Automation
Leading industry experts join Industrial Automation in predicting the digital trends most likely to impact the industry in 2019.
It is a familiar exercise across the industrial world that begins as the year comes to an end – making predictions about the tech trends for the New Year. The exercise in some cases begins as early as in September and reaches climax in the last two weeks of the year. Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and Cybersecurity – the ABCs – are most likely to be among the top 5 or 10 trends predicted, and that is no surprise as the former two are maturing rapidly and gaining more and more influence within the domain, and the latter is a permanent threat looming over the tech horizon. So here is what we at Industrial Automation feel are the 10 digital trends – in alphabetical order – that are most likely to dominate the discourse even as new and existing technologies continue to evolve and cause disruptions.
- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
- Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
- Cloud Computing
- Data Analytics
- Digital Twins
- Intelligent Wearables
- Quantum Computing.
The experts however have their own interpretations and that is exactly what this Cover Story is all about.
“The process industries today are undergoing a truly unprecedented metamorphosis. Past 30 years brought fantastic advances in the manufacturing sector, including greater operating efficiencies enabled by automation, the incremental benefits gained from that progress are now getting enabled with new technologies,” says Anil Bhatia, Vice President and Managing Director, Emerson Automation Solutions India. According to Bhatia, new technology trends which Top Quartile companies are adapting and driving manufacturing industry are Assets Optimisation, Production Integration, Smart Monitoring, Remote Diagnosis, Intelligent Decision making and most importantly Predictive Maintenance. Digital Transformation (Dx) is a key approach which has helped to integrate these technology trends and to merge the gaps between information technology and operational technology.
Digital Transformation is indeed the journey during which these emerging technologies are going to flourish and help the smooth transition.
“Use of PC-based Control will be on the rise as this technology is a cornerstone of IoT, Big Data, and Industry 4.0, says Ajey Phatak, Area Sales & Marketing Manager, BECKHOFF Automation Pvt Ltd. He feels more MSMEs will implement sophisticated computerised machine controls that enable Machine Learning, Vision, and Artificial Intelligence. Other dominant trends, according to Ajey, are:
- Remote Monitoring/Communication is likely to become more practised technology in the coming years
- New technologies in industrial automation will create new opportunities for manufacturers around the world
- Machine Learning will be more deployed bringing higher efficiencies in production, and
- Digital twins are now active on factory floors, analysing production efficiencies and prompting predictive maintenance. This will be implemented more by manufacturers.
Well, it all boils down to increased production and overall efficiency. “In the pursuit of perfect production at assembly lines, overall efficiency effectiveness (OEE) has emerged as the yardstick that tells manufacturers whether they are producing quality products or components, as fast as possible, and with fewer interruptions,” says Sean Chang – Product Marketing Manager, Moxa India. “OEE focuses on three elements – availability, performance, and quality – to help factory managers keep their finger on the pulse of production,” he adds.
One of the most important but often understated issues concerns the large number of legacy equipment that needs to be brought under the smart regime. The five trends that will shape the industrial segment, which are affecting value creation and thereby value capture in manufacturing, according to Yeshraj Singh, General Manager & Strategic Initiative Leader – Digital Transformation, QuEST Global, are:
Product as a Service – By transforming from “legacy” to “smart”, products are now fast emerging as full-fledged platforms that address multiple needs rather than serve a single purpose. For example, look at the way connected cars are revolutionising the concept of transportation. Customisation – Consumers are no longer passive customers. The increasing personalisation of technology has meant that consumers now want products that suit their needs. With technologies like AI, manufacturers are relying on hard data to create products that are intuitive to the needs and wants of individual customers, e.g., customised medical devices that suit a single patient’s condition.
Design disruption – The advent of new technologies like automation, robotics, machine learning and AI is bringing about radical changes in not only product design, but the entire product life cycle itself.
Faster speed to commercialisation – Interconnected technologies associated with Industry 4.0 have revamped the supply chain by minimising the role of intermediaries and facilitating direct consumer engagement.
Distributed manufacturing – Build to order over build to stock is the new manufacturing mantra. The emerging models of manufacturing is making production more optimal and cost effective, eroding barriers to learning, entry and commercialisation. Everything is not hunky dory in this field though and there are some shadows too, looming over the horizon of emerging trends, as Rajnish Gupta, Regional Director – India & SAARC, RSA – a Dell Technologies business, points out in the second of his four predictions:
Trend 1 – Consumer technologies at the core of the Enterprise: IoT started on the consumer side with wearable devices. However, security was at the low end of consideration and passwords were embedded at the factory level, which meant that most IoT devices were not secured. While data leaks due to poor security on consumer IoT devices may not pose that much risk (consumers may not care if the number of steps they took in a day are leaked), once these devices make their way into the business and enterprise use cases that risk grows.
Trend 2 – The rise of Shadow IT: Shadow IT, where systems and solutions are built and used inside organisations without explicit organisational approval, is a growing digital risk in the region, and we will potentially see data breaches next year targeting organisations through this growing exposure surface. Smaller teams within the same organisation are doing things their own way. Craving more agility and faster delivery, they end up creating their own IT environment that is usually cloud-based and unmanaged by the IT infrastructure team and outside the scope of the risk and compliance teams. Shadow IT creates a backdoor and it is a growing danger.
Trend 3 – Continued growth of online fraud: We live in a connected world with everything accessible with just a few taps. Phishing attacks not only enable online financial fraud but these sneaky threats chip away at our sense of security as they get better at mimicking legitimate links, messages, accounts, individuals and sites. RSA releases a fraud threat report every quarter and India ranked fourth on the list of Top 10 phishing target countries and second on the list of top 10 phishing hosting countries consistently through the year. Phishing will continue to be a major threat in the coming year and phishers will continue to innovate & improvise the attacks methods.
Trend 4 – The accelerated rate in cloud adoption: This year, cloud adoption will accelerate significantly, and organisations will have more confidence in the cloud overall. This will put pressure on regional organisations to keep themselves secure through the transition. This includes ensuring their identity and access management remains up to par, and that their risk programs expand to cover third party. Technology also has a cost. “Currently, automation growth is taking place mainly in global markets with a lot of capital investment to build new factories and plants,” says Vasudev Muthu, Domain Head at SAFRAN, an international high-technology group and Tier-1 supplier of systems and equipment in the Aerospace and Defense markets. The global industrial control and factory automation market is estimated to reach US$205.67 billion by 2020 growing at CAGR of 6.81% from 2015 to 2020.
Vasudev Muthu feels the following key drivers will be reshaping industrial automation in near future:
- AI and ML driven development: There are consistent changes in market demand in terms of product performance and configuration. This is where machine learning benefits by leveraging data analytics in improving their processes and help in predicting yield rates at various verticals. Further, AI provides real-time operational intelligence that includes process automation and collaboration.
- Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR): AR and VR technologies are revolutionising complex production processes and product developments. AR transforms how information is consumed by overlaying digital content and analytics onto the real world. On the other hand, VR creates fully immersive experiences by creating a simulated environment.
- ? Digital twins: A digital representation of real-world items that are connected together. We can have digital twins of people, processes and things. Few manufacturers in various sectors are already using the concept that will empower them in future to be aware of all the components installed in their products. This will hence allow them to have a targeted response to Industrial problem.
- Industrial cybersecurity: The major concern for industrial houses in implementing the advance technology is their IT infrastructure that is often prone to cyberattacks. The recent solutions that are available today take a very effective hybrid approach, which includes both behaviour-based and rules-based analysis. The outcome allows manufacturers to leverage deep inspection in order to uncover malware cyberattacks on the network.
New products for 2019
The participants in this story were also asked about what are the new products and developments expected from their companies during 2019 and there are quite a few interesting launches happening and a lot to look forward to.
Comprehensive solutions from Moxa: To help reap the benefits of Industry 4.0, Moxa offers a comprehensive portfolio of solutions that will upgrade production technology for increased productivity.
- Serial Device Servers: Moxa is the leading company to provide complete serial-to- Ethernet device servers
- Rugged IIoT Controllers: The ioPAC 8500 programmable controller provides a fast AI sampling rate to collect streaming data for predictive maintenance
- Smart Remote IO: The ioLogik E2200 and 2500 Series provide front-end intellige
- nce to reduce the traffic between field sites and back-end systems for IIoT applications, and
- IT/OT coverage remote IO: The ioLogik E1200 Series is a multiprotocol solution – IT users can access IO data via RESTful API, SNMP, or MXIO library. IA users can access IO data via Modbus and EtherNet IP.
New products from Beckhoff Automation: There is a lot coming from the company in terms of new introductions as well as enhancements.
- The Gigabit speed Ethernet fieldbus communication technology with EtherCAT-G, EtherCAT-10G networks. Same EtherCAT technology, but with enhanced speed of communication for higher performance and data transfer bandwidth
- Software tool TwinCAT Vision with Image Processing which makes it more comprehensive and more open. This will enable machine builders for any OEM to implement Vision based Control solutions
- Introducing speech based input and output for control systems – TwinCAT Speech
- Distributed motion control technology introduced using advance techniques that reduces cabling footprint and cabinet size optimising cost
- Revolutionary friction less motion control technology for automation in product handling – X-Planer
- More powerful yet compact Industrial PCs for simpler automation tasks CX7000
- New range of Measurement Modules with higher accuracy using EtherCAT bus. ELM series IO, and
- Introducing EtherCAT and PC based Control to Process Automation industry with Intrinsic Safe I/Os and Industrial Panel PCs both ATEX Certified and IEC Ex certified. ELX and CPX series.
Focus on three key domains at QuEST: In 2019, QuEST plans to focus on adoption of new age technologies in three key domains, viz., digital product engineering, connected factory and brilliant manufacturing.
- #1: To enable digital product engineering, the adoption of software providing two channels of product design – the model centric design or model based definition and additive design or additive manufacturing. The model centric design benefiting across the manufacturing process – planning and simulation, production planning and scheduling, part production, inspection and analysis, and finally, assembly and testing.
- #2: For creating a connected factory, IoT driven supervisory systems and data collections and controls enabling the integration at the shop floor through Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) and Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES). At the plant level, this involve enhancing Human Machine Interaction and Machine-to-Machine interaction for driving increased productivity and efficiency by automating mundane tasks and allowing predictive maintenance.
- #3: To achieve brilliant manufacturing, Enterprise level software (ERP and PLM), Big Data, Cloud computing and manufacturing informatics supporting the seamless integration of enterprise and shop floor execution. This helps to meet the entire spectrum of digital manufacturing goals – product definition, resource planning, IoT enabled machines and business operation, decision making and optimisation.
The summing up is done neatly by Vasudev Muthu: Industrial Automation is an interdisciplinary technology that connects various engineering streams. With changing labour demography, digitalisation and IoT enabled with new inflection points such as nanotechnology, industrial automation has become a competitive advantage in today’s industrial landscape and is rapidly changing the business model in every aspect.