The IIoT Has Arrived
Welcome to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a term of growing importance in our industry. Originating from the term "IoT" or, Internet of Things, the IIoT focuses on the interconnectivity and harnessing of powerful data in a manufacturing environment. It conveys a want and need for better access to data and remote connectivity in every device we can get our hands on, including machines in our factories. Machines which possess important and critical information we can benefit from, both financially and operationally.
If you're ready to make the jump to a connected factory, Maple Systems can serve as your guide, making it an easy process to join the next evolution of automated control. Maple Systems interfaces are your gateway to the IIoT. Our products are an access point enabling operating equipment on the plant floor to connect to information technologies of the World Wide Web, databases, smart phones, analytic software, and more. Achieve better access to invaluable data and open up a world of possibilities for your business.
Let's try an everyday example: Picture yourself in a factory. You're on site and your machine suddenly goes down. You have no idea what happened and production is now at a standstill. Your boss is irate! Of course you have a technician for situations like this, but he's currently in Texas and you are in Chicago. Now what? You have two options: wait for your technician to catch the next flight home to fix your issue onsite, or try to save money by troubleshooting with him over the phone, even though he can't see what's going on inside your plant or your machine.
Now imagine you've implemented a Maple IIoT strategy. Your technician immediately receives an alert from the machine notifying him that it's down. Your technician remotes into the plant on a secure network, connects to the machine, and fixes your problem.
plane ticket. No
outrageous tech support bill.
down time. No
irate boss. Problem solved.
The IIoT is changing the way manufacturers think about business and Maple Systems is excited to be an integral part of that change. Our operator interface products provide customers with solutions that allow remote connection to existing machines, enabling access to valuable data that can be used to drive business decisions, streamline troubleshooting, reduce downtime, and save money. With an IIoT strategy, everybody wins.
Automation History Deconstructed
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) goes by many names: the Industrial Internet, the Smart or Connected Factory, and Europe's Industry 4.0, due to its reference as the fourth industrial revolution. Before explaining how the IIoT changes our current generation of controls, let's review the four Industrial Revolutions that got us where we are today.
First Industrial Revolution: We replaced human and animal labor with external energy sources such as water wheels, windmills and, eventually, steam power. Doing so enabled us to carry out tasks that were previously impossible. We could now design machines to do work for us. Amazing!
Second Industrial Revolution: This revolution began with the introduction of electricity, giving us the ability to run a factory 24 hours a day. This enabled human resources to cover multiple shifts per day. Doing so led to the widespread adoption of using interchangeable components and mass production, allowing for the division of labor and rapid, large-scale production. This revolution also coincided with the widespread availability of steel and the birth of the auto industry. People now manually controlled machines at every step of the production line, but didn't personally do every step of the process.
Third Industrial Revolution: Enter the arrival of the transistor, computing, and the ability of machines to make their own decisions following a pre-defined sequence of operations. Tasks could be programmed into a computer and repeated endlessly by machines, freeing us from performing repetitive tasks. The operator's role became one of optimizing processes and building better, more efficient machines, stepping in only when things went wrong.
Fourth Industrial Revolution: The technology of this revolution encompasses a widespread global network of machines, people, the Internet, and cloud: Enter the IIoT. This current revolution enables us to take data from systems built in the third industrial revolution and incorporate it with the ever-present technologies used in our daily lives to work faster, smarter, and achieve greater gains than ever before. It's truly an exciting time.
What Can the IIoT Deliver Today?
The Internet did not turn into one of the greatest inventions of mankind overnight. It grew from simple networked computers in scientific and academic labs in the 1950s and 60s before it exploded into a global system of connected networks linking billions of devices worldwide. Arguments can be made about the first company to make money utilizing these networks, but history remembers it as the first ATM put into service by Barclay's Bank (1967). Barclay's was profiting from networked data before the rest of us could even conceive the possibility. The company could never have imagined the billions of dollars that would one day flow into mega corporations like YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others some 50 years later. This next evolution of data will follow a similar course.
Much can be accomplished with IIoT tools already available today. Some of the available protocols and technologies offered in our products include support for MQTT, OPC UA, SQL Database Integration, EasyAccess 2.0, native VNC servers, and more. These options are detailed in the Products
tab and will help you access the data you need. There are numerous off-the-shelf ERP and SCADA programs that can be integrated into these solutions, putting that data to work for you.
Some of the results promised by IIoT visionaries are possible even without full IIoT implementation utilizing out-of-the-box features from Maple Systems products. This includes standard HMI features such as:
Email notifications for alarms and data backups
Remote access/monitoring/control functionality
Data logging for more informed operation and decision making
Enhanced network security thanks to physically separate dual Ethernet ports.
What will be possible with the IIoT fifty years from now is beyond our current imagination. But this allows us to leverage excellent opportunities that exist now. You can enjoy a connected factory today, reaping great benefits and rewards that will literally touch every corner of your business. And as for the future? We invite you to dream big.
Check out our white paper on Top Misconceptions About the IIoT
Achieve better access to data and increase your company's bottom line. Join the IIoT with Maple Systems today.