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Get started with the IIoT & Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is a phrase on everyone’s lips, but Danish companies are hesitating with the implemention. Through various case examples, we show how you can overcome the barriers and get started.

By Morten Wagner

Danish companies are well aware of the fact that the internet is here to stay. It is a technology and an infrastructure that enables new ways of connecting everything – also regarding products and production equipment. For various reasons, Danish companies are more cautious than our international competitors about taking action and embarking on new adventures on this front. In July 2015, for example, the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) published its “Every.Thing.Connected” report together with Ericsson and Deloitte. The report finds that 60% of the 35 Danish companies surveyed had implemented one or more IoT initiatives, while an impressive 79% of foreign competitors were already well on their way. DI’s study is based on large companies, though. If we look at small and medium-sized Danish enterprises, far fewer has started, which is especially problematic, if the market continues its development towards increasing demand for IIoT and Servitization solutions.

The current trend is analogous to how the younger generation, also called ‘millennials’, is driving a sharing and service economy. Millennials would rather lease, rent, loan or trade than own, which is made possible, due in part to new technology helping to convey trust and which enables microtransactions, and monitoring and control of assets. And just as millennials today are driving change in the consumer products market, future customers in the industrial sector will also expect new options for access to equipment and tools. IIoT and Industry 4.0 will mean a switch from focusing on the cost of acquiring physical assets (CAPEX) to operating costs (OPEX). Instead of investing in expensive equipment and hoping that production can recoup the large investment, we will see growing demand for other models with a focus on operating costs and where we pay for our production equipment gradually as it generates value for us. The software industry has already been through such a development; many ‘As A Service’ software subscriptions have replaced previous years’ substantial investments in software packages.

In the last half of 2017 FORCE Technology, in collaboration with the innovation network ServicePlatform, the Alexandra Institute, Copenhagen Business School, and Odense Robotics among other partners, carried out a project concerned with servitization with the aid of IIOT and Industry 4.0 for six Danish SMEs. All of these companies had plans to develop their products with IIoT, but all of them were at different stages of their implementation. Overall, three main challenges where common:

  • How do you acquire the skills to develop and run a stable and long-term IoT solution when you have previously focused on physical product development?
  • How do you provide a high level of security, uptime and general QoS?
  • How will the market receive your solution, and how do you ensure the business model ‘sticks’?

So actually, it is not the technological challenges that are the hardest, but the fact that adding IoT to your product is essentially development of a new product, a product that might substantially change your value offer and furthermore challenge your organisation’s existing skills and everyday work, makes it an exercise that goes far beyond just experimenting with new hardware.

IoT maturity model

Industry 4.0 and IIoT can be implemented on many levels, and there exist many models that try to illustrate how you advance through different stages of maturity to finally achieve ‘IoT Nirvana.’ If you spend a couple of hours Googling the subject, you can find IoT maturity models from Tony Shah, Amyx, Gartner Group, Microsoft, Vitria, Exosite, ThingWorx, Bosch+St.Galen and many more.

Typically, many models start with the simple single internet-connected sensor and then let their maturity model evolve through some intermediate stages of increasingly advanced implementations towards a final and significant transformation of their business. Below is a massively simplified and – admittedly – caricatured model.

Figure 1: A ‘unified’ IoT maturity model

Wins can be found many places, though, from a simple solution with the most straightforward IoT implementation to a more advanced redefinition of the company business model, based on fully autonomous and intelligent products.

Some of the options of general interest in these various maturity models are:

  • Simple monitoring of equipment, i.e., surveillance and check of simple threshold values
  • Analysis of data for reducing fault conditions and downtime
  • Optimisation of productivity, efficiency and an extension of the equipment’s lifetime
  • Sale of data and performance analysis to the customer
  • Autonomous configuration, optimisation and ordering of consumables
  • Completely new OPEX-based business models and thus a new place within the customer’s value chain

Case histories

There are many examples of companies that have mastered the IoT challenge from different angles and at various stages of maturity. One example is the Danish company CC Jensen, which manufactures oil filters for engines on large container ships and wind turbines. The company’s product improves the quality and reuse of oil, but it also discovered, that data regarding particles and impurities in oil provides an interesting and valuable insight into the condition of the engine. Using this data, it is now possible to offer access to and analysis of data on when an engine needs maintenance or replacement of vital parts. CC Jensen has thus opened the door for even more mature applications of IIoT in connection with optimisation of not only its own equipment’s lifetime, but also for the customer’s equipment and productivity.

Other companies have focused on delivering the other end of the IoT chain; the sensor, connectivity, and data collection. Among them are Danish companies such as Andertech, BlackBird, SensoHive and TrackUnit (the latter which was acquired by Gro Capital and Goldman Sachs in 2015).

From a simple pulse counter to a more advanced and integrated sensor package, these suppliers help companies on their way towards industrial IoT and can typically offer a straightforward startup package, where the first step up the maturity ladder can be made with a minimum of difficulty. Andertech, for example – a Danish company from Humlebæk north of Copenhagen – recently introduced ‘Whisper 4.0’. Andertech’s solution is a simple counter – called a ‘Sniffer’ – which can be connected to almost any kind of production equipment. It allows the user to obtain simple, but important, data from its production, e.g. regarding the number of pieces manufactured, the speed and reliability of the production line, or simply information about whether one’s production is running or not. Andertech’s solution is connected to WiFi and contains an online ‘dashboard’ that can be customised and accessed via various platforms.

Of course, solutions like these are not the final state of IIoT solutions. The path further up the maturity ladder can lead to an introduction of more advanced, targeted sensors and actuators, technologies that brings your IoT design-space into completely new dimensions. Suppliers like Andertech and SensoHive, however, gives us the opportunity to test not only the immediate values of data from monitoring our equipment: we can also test how receptive our customers are to the new functionality, and what challenges the introduction of IoT data places on our organisation.

One company that got started on a simple solution early on and now has IoT fully integrated into its production is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery, John Deere. From being a company with a focus on engines and agricultural machinery, it established an IoT Innovation Unit, and now, IoT is integrated into the company’s products as well as into its future strategy. Fifteen years ago, John Deere took a risk and began incorporating mobile modems in its tractors, primarily to transmit their position. At that time, this was an experiment without an actual business model. Today this is a core asset, where Deere’s extremely accurate ‘Global Navigation Satellite System’ (GNSS) is a pivotal point for new IoT products. The company is already busy with its next transformation; from being focused on offering the farmer cloud-based analytics, Deere is now working on ‘edge computing’, which will enable the farmer to receive data analysis directly inside the tractor without the data necessarily having taken a trip up into the cloud first. Avoiding this, makes the user more resistant to dropouts of the internet connection while also minimising delays in response times, which can be especially interesting in connection with real-time control of functions.

By offering its customers real-time insight and control with the use of agricultural machinery, IoT has, in one John Deere employee’s own words, helped to “transform agriculture from being an art into being a science.”

There is a significant value in offerings that enable you to be important to your customers’ success by supplying insights and valuable data with the aid of IIoT.

Danish companies inherently have the opportunity to be part of this, but only if they take the leap and get started.

More info

If you have any questions about IoT or if you would like some assistance in getting started with IIoT & Industry 4.0, please contact Morten Wagner, Head of IdemoLab, DELTA,  mw@delta.dk, tel. +45 72 19 42 88.

This article was published in Aktuel Elektronik in March 2018.


DANISH VERSION


Kom i gang med IIoT & Industri 4.0

Industri 4.0 er på alles læber, men danske virksomheder tøver med at anvende det i praksis. Gennem flere case-eksempler viser vi, hvordan man kan overvinde barrieren og komme i gang.

Af Morten Wagner

Danske virksomheder er udmærket klar over, at internettet er kommet for at blive. Det er en teknologi og en infrastruktur, som muliggør nye måder for alting at være forbundet på –  også hvad angår produkter og produktionsudstyr. Af forskellige årsager er danske virksomheder mere forsigtige end vore internationale konkurrenter med at tage handling og kaste sig ud i nye eventyr på denne front. Dansk Industri (DI) offentliggjorde f.eks. i juli 2015 deres “Every.Thing.Connected” rapport, sammen med Ericsson og Deloitte. Her fremgår, at 60% af de adspurgte 35 danske virksomheder har igangsat ét eller flere IoT-initiativer – mens hele 79% af de udenlandske konkurrenter allerede er i gang. DI’s undersøgelse er baseret på større virksomheder; kigger vi på små og mellemstore danske virksomheder, er langt færre i gang, hvilket kan være specielt problematisk, hvis markedet fortsætter udviklingen mod efterspørgsel af IIoT og Servitization løsninger.

Udviklingen er analog til, hvordan der i dag tales om at den unge generation, også kaldet ’millennials’, ikke ønsker at eje noget. Millennials vil hellere lease, leje, låne eller bytte. Det kan lade sig gøre, blandt andet pga. af ny teknologi der formidler tillid, muliggør mikro-afregninger, overvågning og kontrol. Og ligesom millennials i dag er ved at ændre markedet for forbruger produkter, kommer fremtidens kunder i den industrielle sektor også til at forvente nye muligheder. IIoT og Industri 4.0 vil betyde et skift fra fokusering på anlægsudgifter (CAPEX) til driftsomkostninger (OPEX). I stedet for at investere i dyrt udstyr og satse på at en produktion kan forrente en stor investering, vil vi se stigende efterspørgsel efter andre modeller, hvor fokus er på driftsomkostninger og hvor vi betaler for vores produktionsudstyr efterhånden som det producerer værdi for os. Softwareindustrien har allerede været igennem sådan en udvikling; mange ’As A Service’-softwarepakker erstatter tidligere tiders større investeringer i softwarepakker.

I sidste halvår af 2017 gennemførte FORCE Technology i samarbejde med blandt andre innovationsnetværket ServicePlatform, Alexandra Instituttet, CBS og Odense Robotics et forløb omkring servitization ved hjælp af IIOT og Industri 4.0 for 6 danske SMV’er. Alle disse virksomheder havde planer om at udvikle deres produkter med IIoT, men alle var på forskellige stadier rent implementeringsmæssigt. Overordnet set skinnede 3 primære udfordringer igennem:

  • Hvordan tilegner man sig færdigheder til at udvikle og drive en stabil og langsigtet IoT løsning, når man hidtil har fokuseret på produktudvikling?
  • Hvordan sikrer man sig, at sikkerhed, oppetid og generel QOS bliver høj nok?
  • Hvordan vil markedet modtage éns løsning, og hvordan sikrer man at forretningsmodellen ’holder’?

Egentlig er de tekniske udfordringer ikke de værste, men kombinationen af at det at tilføje IoT til sit produkt rent faktisk er produktudvikling, der substantielt kan ændre ens værdi-tilbud, samtidig med at det højst sandsynligt vil udfordre ens organisation på eksisterende kompetencer og daglige opgaver, gør springet til en øvelse, der rækker ud over at eksperimentere med ny hardware.

IoT modenhedstrin

Industri 4.0 og IIOT kan således implementeres på mange niveauer – og der findes en hel del modeller som søger at skitsere, hvordan man stiger op af modenhedstrappen og når den endelige ’IoT Nirvana’. Bruger du nogle timer på Google emnet, vil du finde IoT modenhedsmodeller fra Tony Shah, Amyx, Gartner Group, Microsoft, Vitria, Exosite, ThingWorx, Bosch+St.Galen og mange flere.

Typisk starter mange fra den simple enkelte internet-forbundne sensor, og lader så deres modenhedsmodel vandre igennem et forskelligt antal af mellemliggende stadier af mere og mere avancerede implementeringer mod en endelig og voldsom total transformation af ens forretning. Lidt à la nedenstående stærkt forsimplede og – medgivet – karikerede model.

Figur 1: En ’unificeret’ IoT modenhedsmodel (egen karikatur)

Men der kan faktisk findes fordele alle steder, selv fra den simple løsning med mindst mulige opkobling til den avancerede, fulde ny-implementering af virksomhedens forretningsmodel, baseret på fuld-autonome og intelligente produkter.

Nogle af de generelt interessante muligheder på de forskellige modenhedsmodeller er:

  • Simpel monitorering af udstyr dvs. overvågning og kontrol af simple tærskelværdier.
  • Analyse af data med henblik på reducering af fejlsituationer og nedetid
  • Optimering af produktivitet, effektivitet samt forlængelse af udstyrs levetid
  • Salg af data og f.eks. performance-analyser til kunden
  • Autonom konfigurering, optimering og f.eks. bestilling af forbrugsvarer
  • Helt ny OPEX-baseret forretningsmodel og dermed ny placering i kundens værdikæde

Cases

Der er flere eksempler på virksomheder, som fra forskellige vinkler og på forskellige modenhedstrin mestrer IoT-dagsordenen. Èt eksempel er danske CC Jensen, der producerer oliefiltre til motorer i store containerskibe og vindmøller. Virksomhedens produkt forbedrer generelt kvaliteten og genanvendelse af olie. Desuden har man set, at data omkring partikler og urenheder i olien, giver en interessant og værdifuld indsigt i motorens tilstand. Med denne data kan man nu tilbyde adgang til og analyser af hvornår en motor har brug for vedligeholdelse eller udskiftning af vitale dele. CC Jensen har dermed åbnet op for ret modne anvendelser af IIoT i forbindelse med optimering af ikke blot sit eget udstyrs levetid men også for kundens og kundens udstyrs produktivitet.

Andre virksomheder har fokuseret på at levere den anden ende af IoT-kæden; sensoren, opkoblingen og dataopsamling – heriblandt danske virksomheder som f.eks. Andertech, BlackBird, SensoHive og TrackUnit (sidsnævnte blev i øvrigt i 2015 blev opkøbt af Gro Capital og Goldman Sachs).

Fra den simple puls-tæller til en mere avanceret og integreret sensorpakke hjælper disse leverandører virksomheder med at komme i gang med industriel IoT – og kan typisk tilbyde en meget simpel start-pakke, hvor første skridt op af modenhedsstigen kan tages med et minimum af besvær. Andertech, en dansk virksomhed fra Nordsjælland, har f.eks. for nylig introduceret ’Whisper 4.0’. Andertechs løsning er en simpel triptæller – de kalder det en ’Sniffer’ – som man kan koble til næsten vilkårligt produktionsudstyr. Med den kan man få simple, men stadig væsentlige, data fra sin produktion f.eks. omkring styktal produceret, hastighed og pålidelighed af produktionslinien, eller simpelthen viden om, om ens produktion kører eller ej. Andertechs løsning kobles til Wifi og indeholder et online ’dashboard’, som kan customiseres og tilgås via forskellige platforme.

Løsninger som disse er selvfølgelig ikke endestationen for IIoT-løsninger. Vejen videre på modenhedsstigen kan medføre, at man vil indføre mere avancerede, målrettede sensorer og aktuatorer dvs. teknologier, der bringer éns design-rum ind i helt nye dimensioner. Det stærke ved leverandører som Andertech og SensoHive er dog, at vi med dem kan få testet ikke bare den umiddelbare værdi, som vi forestiller os, at monitoreringsdata kan give. Vi får også afprøvet, hvor modtagelige vores kunder er for den nyudviklede funktionalitet, og hvilket pres på vores organisation en introduktion af IoT-data giver.

En virksomhed, der har været tidligt i gang med en simpel løsning og nu har IoT integreret overalt, er en af verdens førende fabrikanter af landbrugsmaskiner, John Deere. Fra at være en virksomhed med fokus på motorer og landbrugsmaskiner, har man etableret en IoT-innovations enhed, og IoT er nu integreret i virksomhedens produkter og i virksomhedens fremtidige strategi. For 15 år siden tog John Deere en satsning og begyndte at indlejre mobile modemer i sine traktorer for primært at transmittere deres placering. Dengang var det et eksperiment uden egentlig forretningsmodel. I dag er det en kernekompetence, hvor Deere’s meget nøjagtige ’Global Navigation Satellite System’ (GNSS) er et omdrejningspunkt for nye IoT produkter. Man er også allerede i gang med at udvikle sig én gang til; fra at være fokuseret på at tilbyde landmanden cloud-baserede analytics, arbejder Deere nu med såkaldt ’edge computing’, så landmanden kan få dataanalyser direkte i traktoren, uden at data nødvendigvis har været være en tur oppe i skyen først. På den måde bliver man mere modstandsdygtig overfor udfald i net-forbindelser samt man minimerer forsinkelser i svartider, hvilket kan være specielt interessant i forbindelse med f.eks. real-time styring af funktioner.

Ved at tilbyde sine kunder real-time indsigt i og kontrol med brugen af landbrugsmaskiner, har IoT, med John Deere-medarbejderes egne ord, hjulpet til med at “transformere landbrug fra at være en kunst til at være en videnskab”.

Der er en betydelig værdi i at udvikle sig til at være operationel for sine kunders succes ved at levere indsigt og værdifulde data ved hjælpe af IIoT. Danske virksomheder har selvfølgelig muligheden for at være med. Men kun hvis man tager springet og kommer i gang.

Mere info

Har du spørgsmål om IoT, eller kunne du tænke dig hjælp til at komme i gang med IIoT & Industri 4.0, kontakt Morten Wagner, Head of IdemoLab, mw@delta.dk, tlf. 72 19 42 88.

Artiklen er bragt i Aktuel Elektronik, marts 2018.                                                                                 ‘

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