LinhPTK | April 25, 2017
In the last 2 years, GE Predix has emerged as the first ever Cloud Platform for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Unlike others, GE Predix has been focusing on bringing new solutions to the industrial world through a repertoire of highly optimized services such as Predix Machine, Data Analytics, Asset Performance Management… Coming along with those services is a “warehouse” of industrial knowledge and experience in the manufacture, operation and maintenance of machines and factories that GE has built up through time. Also on offer are powerful IoT solutions such as the lighting-based Smart LED solution which has already been applied to assembling aircraft engines. This combination and the power of GE are giving the platform a huge boost to be one of the top players in the era of Industry 4.0.
Moving to IIoT will help companies increase efficiency, forecast risks and opportunities, and maximize profit. However the transition process might be difficult, painful or costly, especially with large companies and complex systems. By partnering with GE, FPT Software can help industrial clients develop high quality solutions as well as ease the transition from traditional systems to cyber-physical ones.
Production management is a great example where teams from the two companies are working closely together to develop a seamless end-to-end solution on top of the Predix platform. It requires the collection of data from production lines around the world and storage on the Predix cloud in real-time. The system also has to detect any manufacturing issues that need to be addressed immediately. Data acquired from production will be analyzed later to improve quality and efficiency as well as to perform supply chain management.
Collecting data from production lines
A production line might be run entirely by workers, semi-automated or fully automated. The more automated it is, the more data needs to be collected. For example a manual line might need one or two sensor-type devices or not at all, but a fully automated line will have tens to hundred sensors with sampling rates up to thousands of times per second. These sensors can generate up to millions of data points per second for a company with thousands of productions line across many factories.
The high data volume and velocity can be addressed by the Predix Machine service. Depending on the importance of the data, Predix Machine can be used on the sensor itself, the line’s controller or the factory gateway. This service supports most popular industrial protocols such as Modbus, OPC-UA, MQTT etc., or developers can even create their own adapter to consume data from field devices. After capture, raw data will be forwarded to the Predix cloud through HTTP or Web socket protocol. Besides data forwarding functionality, developers can also add their own edge analytics on the way. Because Predix Machine is an OSGi container, it has the capability to add, start, stop, or delete any chosen service or bundle without affecting the running parts. It should be mentioned that all of the above activities will be processed securely through the Predix Edge Manager and User Account and Authentication (UAA) services.
A factory consists of many assets, both static and non-static. The assets should be monitored continuously to make sure all of them are running as desired, in order for the manufacturing process to be smooth at all times. Asset performance should also be optimized to reduce cost and increase efficiency. These activities are well supported by Predix through Asset Performance Management (APM), Asset modeling, Time-series storage and RDBMS. By recognizing the vital role of asset performance and implementing the listed services, the system cannot only capture the activities of all assets but also monitor and maintain machines and production lines.
Data captured by the system can be analyzed further to get a better understanding of what is going on and what can be improved. Based on domain knowledge, algorithms are developed and deployed on the Analytics service to give a seamless and insightful view of the whole production process on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Human Machine Interface
The Human Machine Interface (HMI) is also a crucial part of any industrial system. This solution provides another level of human-machine interface which is inspired by the “Digital Twin” concept.
Having the system on the cloud enables the company to monitor all details of its factories around the world, with significant savings in time and money. Besides the many types of reports that can be generated on demand, users have a virtual model of the factory running on the cloud, which reflects the current status of all production lines in real-time. For example, say a line’s defect rate is higher than normal because one of the machines is too hot. This will be visible on the web browser of the factory supervisor, which helps him take the correct action on time. It also allows authorized users to adjust and configure machines in the production line from anywhere instead of having to be there physically.
Production management is just one of the many solutions that GE and FPT Software are building together, a demonstration of the capabilities and benefits that Predix offers. As the platform becomes mature with a lot of useful services coming out day by day, it is a bold proof that GE is not only an industrial company but also a leading provider in the IIoT world. On the other hand FPT Software is among the few companies with rich experience of the platform since a very early stage and has proved to be a great choice for potential Predix customers. Through their partnership, the companies will bring out the best in Predix as well as deliver the best solutions to their clients all over the world.