News and insights relating to manufacturing IT and business systems

Finding the common thread in process industries

During the 1970s, the process industry was at the forefront of digitalisation. At the time, the vision of a single integrated system running on a database became what would later be known as ERP (enterprise resource planning). The earliest large-scale deployments of...

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Preparing fertile ground for a successful IIoT project

In common with many engineers, I do enjoy shopping for new power tools for my workshop. I therefore often find myself totally absorbed in hardware stores, captivated by new innovative devices for solving almost any problem. The low cost of modern mass-produced tools,...

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New toolkits for innovation

Back in the 1980s, as a junior process engineer, I spent a great part of my first job working with DCS and SCADA systems. At the time, I was working on a synfuels plant that made use of a Honeywell TDC3000 DCS. Most of the field instruments were connected to the...

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How real is augmented reality?

The early morning air was still cold when I arrived together with a colleague at the mine for our underground visit. Our hosts were keen to show us the practical challenges of the drilling and blasting operation, and the many ways in which rock fragments containing...

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Digital twins, science-fiction or reality?

Industrie 4.0 introduces the somewhat abstract concept of a ‘digital twin’. But is this really new, does it actually exist anywhere in practice, and if so, what steps should be followed to build one? A process control engineer who is already familiar with CAD, SCADA,...

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Using predictive analytics to improve planned maintenance

During my days as a process engineer, I worked on an amino acid fermentation plant where it was very important to keep the process sterile at all times otherwise entire batches could be lost to contamination. Dozens of automated diaphragm valves were used to control...

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What is the future of blockchain in manufacturing?

Blockchain technology has recently come into focus with Bitcoin’s prominence as a viable cryptocurrency.  In manufacturing circles, it is probably fair to say that there is some uncertainty as to exactly what future impact blockchain may have on manufacturing systems....

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Innovating in the process industry with PLM

There is no doubt that with Industrie 4.0 there is a lot of innovation taking place in manufacturing IT. But ‘innovation’ is not only the creation of a new idea out of nothing but more often the combination of two existing ideas in a new way to create something...

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The potential value of manufacturing analytics

Process manufacturing plants create enormous amounts of data every day, much of which is captured and stored in SCADA systems. At the same time business ERP systems also contribute to the volume of data collected and stored. Documents in e-mail systems contain...

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How will digital manufacturing impact on IT outsourcing?

IT in manufacturing is changing fast as companies introduce technologies that reach beyond the factory boundary in line with trends such as Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). At the same time, executives are looking to make organisational...

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EAM software – what business leaders need to know

Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is the process of optimising business value from assets across business units, locations, and facilities. EAM is concerned with the total asset lifecycle. This lifecycle typically starts with design and specification and then...

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