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Industry 4.0 & PLCs: Getting Smart With Data

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In the second half of the 20th century, factories began incorporating automation technology and sophisticated electronics into their production processes, jumpstarting a period now often referred to as the 3rd Industrial Revolution. PLCs were instrumental in this change in production and a key player in the adoption of Industry 3.0. Now, companies are implementing internet-connected sensors, advanced data systems, and other technologies that fall under the umbrella of “Internet of Things”, a process that’s considered to be the 4th Industrial Revolution. Will PLCs continue to be a ubiquitous part of production processes as more companies introduce cyber-physical systems? Or is the death of the PLC imminent?

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Industry 4.0 & PLCs: Getting Smart With Data

  1. 1. Industry 4.0 & PLCs Getting Smart With Data
  2. 2. What are PLCs?
  3. 3. They are a type of rugged, specialized computer used for production line automation and control. PLC stands for Programmable Logic Controller.
  4. 4. PLCs were invented in the ‘60s, specifically for the automotive industry.
  5. 5. Now, PLCs are used in almost all manufacturing facilities, in all types of industries, all over the world.
  6. 6. The global market for PLCs is $16 billion a year, growing annually at 9.2%.
  7. 7. From Industry 3.0 to 4.0
  8. 8. “The programmable controller’s time was right. It invented itself because there was a need for it, and other people had that same need.” -Dick Morley, ‘Father of the PLC’
  9. 9. In the second half of the 20th century, factories began incorporating automation technology and sophisticated electronics into their production processes, jumpstarting a period now often referred to as the 3rd Industrial Revolution. PLCs were instrumental in this change in production and a key player in the adoption of Industry 3.0.
  10. 10. Now, companies are implementing internet-connected sensors, advanced data systems, and other technologies that fall under the umbrella of “Internet of Things”, a process that’s considered to be the 4th Industrial Revolution.
  11. 11. Will PLCs continue to be used in production processes as more companies introduce cyber-physical systems? Or is the death of the PLC imminent?
  12. 12. At the moment, PLCs don’t seem to be going anywhere. They are easy-to-use, reliable, proven to work well and precise so removing or changing them in any significant way is unlikely in the near future, especially among small and medium-sized manufacturers. Additionally, many businesses would not be able to support the implementation of new control technology.
  13. 13. For these reasons, Temboo decided to create an easy, inexpensive, and user-friendly way to help companies using PLCs gain valuable insights into their operations, without needing to replace expensive legacy systems or require personnel to learn a new programming language.
  14. 14. But first, we wanted to hear from industry professionals about what intelligence features they would find most useful…
  15. 15. Oil & Gas An EPC contractor working on upgrading gas so that it has a higher methane content before it’s injected into pipelines wants to remotely access the data to monitor the processing and composition of the biogas. Not only would this help them ensure their system is working correctly, it’s also help them with preventative maintenance during their 2 year warranty period so that they could alert the customer of any fixes needed.
  16. 16. Water Utility A solid waste processing facility wants to see live trends of what key equipment in their plants are up to every 35 seconds. They’d also like to monitor the health of their phone lines to make sure that they’re working in case of emergency.
  17. 17. Packaging A company that makes specialty packaging using injection molding machines is seeking solutions to monitor the machines and get alerts for downtimes. They also need to be able to retrieve data on the speed of the injection molding machines so that they can get alerted whenever cycle time is affected. This will help optimize their operations and increase output.
  18. 18. OEM An OEM that makes chemical processing equipment for paper and water waste processing wants to centralize the data from their multiple alarm systems and be able to view that data remotely. They’re also seeking a solution with a clean user interface so that the data can be easily interpreted across all departments. Finally, they'd like remote control of the systems so that they do not have to fly a specialist to their out-of-state customers for easily resolved issues.
  19. 19. Food & Beverage A company that produces ingredients for the bakery, patisserie, and chocolate sectors is looking to be able to follow specific ID chain protocols and get email alerts. They would also like to automate data collection for FDA and OSHA audits. Finally, they’re looking for solutions that provide automated alerts, rather than their current system of manual alerts, for key events like when a boiler goes down.
  20. 20. Freezers A grant-funded company developing a new refrigeration technology needs to be able to save the data they collect to dropbox and remotely monitor their facilities using an online dashboard.
  21. 21. Mining & Energy An engineering group that advises on solutions for mining and energy companies wants to offer an IoT service to their customers that can use the instrument and process information that goes to a SCADA system to be hosted in a user friendly cloud service that management and engineering teams can view remotely. They’d also like remote control to be able to turn outputs on and off.
  22. 22. Industrial Combustion An engineering group specializing in burner development wants to be able to make burner, furnace, and PLC data readily available to their team over the internet.
  23. 23. Temboo’s PLC IoT Application
  24. 24. After all the research and time spent talking to industry professionals, Temboo created a PLC IoT Application that works for all types of industries: Temboo’s PLC Sensor Alerts and Data Visualization App. This application is for the Siemens SIMATIC S7-1200 PLC.
  25. 25. FEATURES OF TEMBOO’S APP 1. Remote Sensor Data and PLC Diagnostic Data Historian: By adding connected sensors to your PLCs you can view sensor data and diagnostic data for your PLC in any web or mobile browser from anywhere that you have an internet connection.  2. Alerts: Set up email alerts for when diagnostics and sensor readings hit certain thresholds or according to any other conditions that you’ve set. 3. Data Visualization: Our easy-to-read dashboard generates graphs, charts and more for the data from your sensors and PLCs so that anyone who has access can easily interpret and understand the information.
  26. 26. In terms of hardware, all you’ll need is a gateway and any type of sensor that you choose. Gateways, in this instance, are internet connected devices that serve as the main connection point between the data from the PLC and the cloud, and vice versa. Development boards with built in wifi like a Raspberry Pi or a Beaglebone work nicely for this type of PLC IoT application and are cost effective to boot.
  27. 27. There are many benefits offered through Temboo’s solution specifically. First, data visualization and alerts reduce the costs of downtime and unexpected events saving money, time, and resources.  Second, the low-cost of Temboo’s software toolkit compared to other PLC IoT applications on the market enables even small manufacturers to be able gain valuable insights into their remote operations.
  28. 28. Another great benefit of Temboo’s PLC IoT application is the ability to update gateways remotely. Whenever a change is needed, like editing sensor alerts, adding a sensor, or even adding a new PLC, Temboo’s application is able to push the changes over the air without having to physically access the device. This allows users to edit their systems at any time and from anywhere, easily.
  29. 29. Finally, Temboo’s PLC IoT application can lower the bar for entry into this type of digital transformation due to our code generation technology. Even if employees don’t know anything about programming software, they’ll still be able to set up customized alerts and data visualization for PLC systems easily. The setup is quick and our software toolkit machine-generates the necessary code, removing any skill-based barrier of entry for IoT adoption.
  30. 30. More features coming soon!
  31. 31. “The only way to create wealth is with innovation. This essential truth must be transmitted to the next generation of doers in the application of automation technologies.” -Dick Morley, ‘Father of the PLC’
  32. 32. Hey@Temboo.com Interested in learning more? Send an email to

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