Return on investment

Jan 9, 2017 | Dell and Intel

Like every business investment, return on investment (ROI) must be considered at all times when deploying a smart factory. The ability to prove ROI comes through intelligently connecting old machines and accessing trapped data – then utilising it with edge analytics and making the machines work autonomously. This is the key proposition of a smart factory and can unleash incredible value for manufacturers.

Consider the challenges surrounding equipment maintenance

Traditionally, manufacturers approached maintenance by either servicing equipment on a regular schedule, by replacing parts when performance decreased or signs of wear were observed, or by repairing or replacing equipment when it failed.

These approaches leave much to be desired. When maintenance is done on a schedule, equipment ends up being serviced when it is perfect working order. On the other hand, allowing equipment to degrade can impact product quality and lead to unplanned downtime. And all these approaches can incur unnecessarily high maintenance costs.

The IIoT and edge computing technology enables a brand new approach – predictive maintenance – that uses sensors to collect data about equipment performance.

Software analyses the data and detects anomalies, so that staff can take corrective actions long before they would ordinarily detect a problem. By allowing staff to service equipment at just the right time, predictive maintenance reduces downtime, improves equipment effectiveness, and lowers maintenance costs – all of which improves return on assets (RoA) by up to 24%.

The challenge is figuring out how to deploy this level of intelligence on the factory floor without rip-and-replace of existing assets. Intel and Dell tackled this challenge by combining Dell’s expertise in rugged devices with Intel’s leadership in high-performance computing.

The result is an IoT Gateway durable enough to gather data where it’s generated, and intelligent enough to support analytics software running locally. It offers benefits like standards-based architecture and ruggedised hardware. And importantly, it does not require rip-and-replace of existing assets.

Meanwhile, built-in security and easy integration with existing IT and OT infrastructure make for seamless deployment and operation. Analysing machine data locally also slashes the costs of data transmission to the cloud and enables faster responses to incoming data.

Now manufacturers can run – and are already running – predictive maintenance models and factory optimisation solutions right where they’re needed most.

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Tagged: IIoT, Smart Factory

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