Cisco Systems (Cisco)
Software : Operational Technology : IIoT
Cisco helps seize the opportunities of tomorrow by proving that amazing things can happen when you connect the unconnected. An integral part of our DNA is creating long-lasting customer partnerships, working together to identify our customers’ needs and provide solutions that fuel their success. We have preserved this keen focus on solving business challenges since our founding in 1984. Len Bosack and wife Sandy Lerner, both working for Stanford University, wanted to email each other from their respective offices, but technological shortcomings did not allow such communication. A technology had to be invented to deal with disparate local area protocols, and as a result of solving their challenge, the multiprotocol router was born.
Improving asset criticality with better decision making at the plant level
The industry is beginning to see reliability, availability and maintainability (RAM) applications that integrally highlight the real constraints, including the other operational and mechanical limits. A RAM-based simulation application provides fault-tree analysis, based on actual material flows through a manufacturing process, with stage gates, inventory modeling, load sharing, standby/redundancy of equipment, operational phases, and duty cycles. In addition, a RAM application can simulate expectations of various random events such as weather, market dynamics, supply/distribution logistical events, and more. In one logistics example, a coker unit’s bottom pump was thought to be undersized and constraining the unit production. Changing the pump to a larger size did not fix the problem, because further investigation showed insufficient trucks on the train to carry the product away would not let the unit operate at full capacity.
The Power of Predictive Maintenance
“Getting to the level of predictive maintenance is an evolutionary process for manufacturers, regardless of their specialty,” notes Will Healy III, global business strategy manager at Balluff Inc. “Right now, there is great interest in retrofitting equipment with sensors to perform condition monitoring as a means to implement predictive maintenance. The next step is using equipment with integrated smart sensors and artificial intelligence. These technologies also enable prescriptive maintenance, which uses machine learning to help companies specifically adjust their operating conditions for desired production outcomes.”
One of the first robotic predictive maintenance applications of the IIoT occurred several years ago in the auto industry when General Motors teamed up with Cisco and FANUC America Corp. to launch a zero downtime program. Called ZDT, the predictive analytics service identifies potential failures so engineers and plant managers can schedule maintenance and repairs. This prevents unexpected breakdowns during production, thereby saving manufacturers time and money. According to Tuohy, the ZDT program has proven to be quite successful over the last several years. He says that about 30,000 robots worldwide are connected to the system.