Best Practice

Sensors and Plc Controllers enable the Remote Monitoring of Manufacturing Processes

Today manufacturers need to easily obtain meaningful insights from shop floor machinery and legacy systems but - at the same time - aim to reduce costs related to production downtime, equipment replacement and maintenance hours. This is possible by adopting IoT technologies for equipment monitoring and analytics.

The biggest concern, though, is that often systems use different ‘languages’ and companies find it hard to collect all data and process it by using a single tool. To meet this objective, Cluster Reply, the Group’s company focused on cloud Microsoft solutions, provides manufacturers with a tailor-made solution called Factory Control Tower. This is a unified platform for remotely monitoring and analysing the performance of industrial assets, regardless of brand.

Cluster Reply Factory Control Tower enables manufacturers to bring the power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to their production room floors, as the solution makes it possible to remotely monitor and manage industrial assets in production environments and gain meaningful insights from near-real-time and historical data generated by that equipment. By connecting machines at the edge and presenting data in a single, comprehensive platform, manufacturers can easily access the data they need, to make informed decisions around maintenance targets, production goals and operational efficiency. IIoT-enabled devices, such as sensors and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), improve manufacturing processes when they are combined with modern monitor and control software powered by edge computing. By moving certain workloads to the edge of the network, devices spend less time communicating with the cloud, react more quickly to local changes, and operate reliably even in extended offline periods.

This combination enables real-time data to be converted into actionable insights that drive specific actions with little human interaction.

Moreover, the Control Tower leverages the agility of Microsoft Azure and the solution is fully scalable and employs the highest level of data security. The solution exploits PaaS products offered by Microsoft Azure for application, data and edge management, thus having a single point of control hosted in the cloud and globally available.

Factory Control Tower differs from other remote monitoring solutions due to its brand-agnostic operating model, which means it can stream, aggregate and analyse data from machines and enterprise systems, regardless of brand or OEM. Additionally, the solution is modular and extensible, therefore organisations can take the core components and customise them to address needs in other segments of their business.

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