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Enhancing Production Line Efficiency Through Connectivity

The manufacturing sector is a difficult ball game. We are currently navigating an era marked by rapid disruptions defined by volatility and heightened uncertainty. Amidst surging demand, numerous issues such as supply chain disruptions, escalating energy costs, talent shortages requires manufacturers to address immediate challenges to enhance sustainability metrics. They must balance factory capabilities with fluctuating demand and harmonize operations ensuring better process visibility.

Importance of Connectivity in Smart Manufacturing

Developing a holistic perspective for the production line necessitates gathering various critical information. More sensors need to be deployed on production lines to gather data, develop analytics and ultimately take necessary actions to improve efficiency.
Having visibility over the production process in real-time, improves the chances of preventing potential downtime in form of unwarranted maintenance calls and thus enhance productivity.
However, regardless of the type of information collection, without a reliable network between the site and the control center, operators will lack timely & accurate data necessary for critical decision making.
Connectivity is the key towards building a smart factory. It is the backbone of all industrial data assimilation and analysis, as it brings together hardware devices, software tools and people. A robust communication between manufacturing and management systems can facilitate the ability to control and make adaptive changes based on real-time data.

Requisites for Evaluating Your Connectivity Requirement

When establishing connectivity for your production lines, it is essential to understand the communication interfaces and protocols used by the field devices. Here are the common scenarios to consider when getting started

 Access operational data from legacy devices : Legacy devices, in older factories, are built specifically to serve production and rarely have built in network interfaces. Therefore it becomes imperative to capture production information from legacy devices using sensors and consider a serial-to-ethernet solution to retrieve data from legacy devices.

 Oversee production process from the control center : For the central control center to monitor the production lines, it must be able to communicate with the field PLC and HMI. However, machine vendors often use communication protocols that may not be compatible with SCADA systems. In such cases, a protocol conversion solution is necessary to facilitate communication between the SCADA and the on-field devices.

 Reduce Production Floor Impact : Various sensors can measure environmental conditions like temperature, relative humidity and air pressure. These sensors feature I/O interfaces requiring a remote I/O solution to efficiently gather information. Also it is necessary to ensure remote I/Os supports the necessary protocols and is compatible with the SCADA.

We can look at the example of CNC machines brought into the network.

System Requirements

♢ Gather I/O data as well as serial data from CNC machines.
♢ A wireless solution that addresses the challenges posed by the factory floor layout, eliminating the need for extensive wiring.
♢ A wireless solution that navigates the challenges of factory floor layouts eliminating the complexities of traditional wiring.

Foundations of Network for the Future

Enhancing the intelligence of your production line necessitates improved network capacity and enhanced visibility. With strategic network communication, we need to meticulously evaluate the demands on transmission bandwidth, network control capability and manageability. The first step is to estimate the bandwidth requirements. As the production line becomes connected, it will require to handle large data packets. Handling large data packets necessitates not only ample transmission bandwidth but also redundancy to mitigate packet loss caused by unforeseen network disruptions.
Next, the networking devices need to support communication protocols at both site as well as the control center to enable engineers to monitor and respond in real time.
Lastly, deploying numerous network devices entails significant installation and maintenance efforts. It is crucial to consider this aspect and seek an efficient solution that streamlines the network management.


With the advent of transformative technologies, smart factories with transform the operations in a production line. This will optimize the processes, enhance designs, streamline production and enable engineers to achieve unprecedented levels of quality, thereby shaping the future of manufacturing. A well connected factory along with big data will continually push boundaries to define newer engineering and manufacturing limits.
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