This article was originally published in the Autumn 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issues delivered directly to your inbox.
Traditional business paradigms are constantly being broken as we continue into the ‘Information Age’ and one common challenge facing manufacturers is how to get operators closer to their business processes, without necessarily getting closer to the machine.
Over 30 years ago, many manufacturing companies still relied on direct (manual) operation of their industrial equipment, but grew increasingly curious about the benefits of automation. In the early 1980s, the rapid proliferation of the PC changed everything and the impact is still being felt today. Many manufacturers moved operations away from direct physical contact with large machinery towards more advanced process monitoring and control from an onsite control centre. Those control centres continued to evolve owing to advancements in PC networking capabilities and, of course, mainstream adoption of the internet. As networking capabilities and security protocols improved, so did the ability for more remote monitoring and control.
Fast forward to today. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices and emergence of intelligent cloud services, operators and field workers have a variety of tools at their disposal to help them perform their duties, including laptops, smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. These technologies can be combined together to enable manufacturers to use any connected device to control and monitor manufacturing processes, even if they are miles from where they are physically taking place.
ICONICS was the first to introduce the ability to visualise real-time and business intelligence analytics using two-dimensional and three-dimensional holograms via its Holographic Machine Interface (HMI) technology. This can integrate with head-mounted displays, such as Microsoft HoloLens, and can be used in combination with Microsoft Azure.
ICONICS HMI technology can also be used in a remote expert mode. In this scenario, an onsite technician can be guided by an expert co-worker who could be located anywhere in the world. Such solutions enable workers across an organisation to attain and exchange information, allowing them to be as close to the process as possible, but as physically far away as they’d like (or need) to be.
ICONICS will demonstrate these technologies at its Transform 360 worldwide customer summit in Connecticut from 31 March to 3 April 2020.
Melissa Topp is senior director of global marketing at ICONICS
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