IT and OT at the wheel - From electric mobility to predictive maintenance, from Big Data to IT-OT integration
IT AND OT AT THE WHEEL
Out of four key markets for Advantech (general automation, industrial equipment, smart manufacturing, power and transportation infrastructures), the Turin user meeting was dedicated to the smart factory (iFactory), and specifically to the automotive industry. "The use of industrial PCs in the iFactory arena in Europe is ten times bigger than in other industries," said Nacawa in his opening speech, "and the car industry takes the lion's share. Inside the smart factory, Advantech's mission is to connect IT and OT, to protect production and intellectual property, and together with their ECO partners, to provide specific solutions for production."
Before diving into technology, Advantech presented an overview of the car industry to the audience. Claudio Vittori, Senior Analyst eMobility Components at IHS Markit, a US market survey company, illustrated the situation of the global car industry, still dominated by combustion engines that account for much more than 90% of sales in all continents. The only exception is Japan and Korea, where the share of electric and hybrid vehicles has exceeded 20%.
Of course, the situation will change in the coming years, under the pressure of new regulations, urban traffic restrictions, extension of the recharging infrastructure, scandals like Dieselgate and global competition. The carmakers are responding with different approaches. BMW keeps producing convention models and is adding electric and hybrid versions, while in 2019 Volkswagen has launched - parallel to the large volume platform - a dedicated platform for electric vehicles made by VW and its affiliates (Seat, for instance), setting a target of 665,000 electric cars by 2025.
Advantech's value proposition
The added value of partners
Net Surfing, represented by president Franco Pallavicini, explained how data can be collected from the field and processed to be useful and actionable for different purposes: energy, production and asset efficiency, Artificial Intelligence for platforms and predictive maintenance. Net Surfing offers a digital backbone for the factory based on WebAccess, Advantech's platform that has evolved from a SCADA solution to an IoT platform and provides a gateway to the cloud for partners and system integrators developing IoT and cloud applications.
The solution is based on the Advantech WebAccess+ platform, which allows to collect, share, process and manage data/signals/measurements generated by heterogeneous machines and plants, distributed over the territory. "This project ensures the compliance of the new plant with Industry 4.0 regulations," Demarie explained. "Finally, together with the native features of the machine tool, it establishes an automated bidirectional connection between the machine and the ERP system of the company."