Let’s face it, 2020 has forced us to modernize many of our practices to adhere to the latest digital transformation trends, making machines smarter. Progressive OEMs are now differentiating their machines from their competitors by offering data-driven support. According to a poll by McKinsey, 90 percent of executives believe the pandemic will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years. Utilizing smart systems is a fundamental shift in how we do business and making smart choices from this data collection is the key to this evolution. From this perspective, machine builders can take certain steps to ensure they are on the winning side of this transformation.
Smart devices, with Smart Safety Components from Rockwell Automation, are the foundation for smart systems –and smarter machines. They are the gateway to the information you need to take immediate action, improve productivity, and start your journey for a digital transformation. But many machine builders fear the cost will not outweigh the benefit.
When we take a holistic view of what a smart Rockwell solution can provide, the additional costs and concerns about engineering time and effort go out the window. As we peel back the layers there are benefits/savings for an end user which include reduced replacement time, less wiring, increased safety rating and productivity to name a few. There are also opportunities for OEMs to streamline designs and differentiate from their competitors by offering data driven support.
Rockwell is the only manufacturer that can provide an end-to-end smart solution, from the sensor or smart device all the way up to the PLC and data collection software. These devices seamlessly integrate into the programming environment, without having to set up generic devices and using non-descriptive tags, through Add-On-Profiles.
Let’s put this into a practical example. If a part fails, Rockwell stores component data in the controller versus in the component through a feature called Automatic Device Configuration. When a replacement is needed, you no longer need to re-teach a sensor in the field or reprogram a motor starter upon replacement. Costly downtime can be reduced to minutes or bypassed altogether.
It’s easier than ever to design a system that meets the highest safety ratings, like Ple, SIL 3, Cat 4, with the advent of solid-state devices that have redundancy and self-monitoring features built in. Additionally, there are hundreds of pre-engineered safety functions available to for the implementation and wiring. Simplified design and installation means time and money savings for all parties involved.
Once you’ve decided to migrate to a smart safety solution, there are many possibilities for how to use the information available. Data can be collected to monitor trends, like why is a guarded door continually being opened? Faults can be more quickly diagnosed. And precise locations can be determined at an HMI versus walking around and searching for what went wrong. Both predictive and preventative maintenance can be scheduled with greater accuracy allowing you to see when a device is nearing the end of its useful life and replace before it fails.
As more end users move toward a digital transformation, machine builders and integrators can use smart devices to offer greater levels of remote monitoring and support. Not only can these devices be used to future-proof designs, but they can also lead to new opportunities to expand your scope and business.