One of the world’s largest car manufacturers is putting cloud to good use in order to keep its manufacturing plants running without interruption.
General Motors, which was founded in 1908, has built a system that controls 800 robots on the factory floor through the cloud.
The system, which has been built with the help of networking company Cisco, robotics manufacturer Fanuc and hardware maker Rockwell Automation, collects data from the robots and external devices and sends it to a cloud network set up by Cisco.
After it has hit the cloud, Fanuc uses algorithms that have been tailored to the factory robots to create insights that help to avoid systems going wrong. This is essentially a combination of IoT with data from sensors and data analytics all enabled by cloud technology.
The set-up can help to identify problems before they become serious. This can include discovering that a part in a robotic arm is about to fail or that fluid pressure in a system is wrong which could suggest a leak.
Not only does this help to keep the plant up and running but it also helps to keep the workers safe.
GM, which has revenue of $155.9 billion, has previously only able to discover issues during production downtime and when physically plugged into a factory robot, but now that it is using the cloud technology the company simply has to wait for alerts to show up.
General Motors isn’t the only manufacturer to be turning to the cloud to process the large amounts of data from sensors in the industrial sector.
General Electric has created an Industrial Internet that functions as a Platform-as-a-Service to capture and analyse data with its Predix Cloud, which is built upon the Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform for application development.
Where GE has moved ahead in this area is with enabling developers to create, deploy and manage applications and services based in the sector and using data that is collected.
Matt Davies, Head of Marketing, EMEA, Splunk, told CBR: "The internet of things and the important area of industrial data lends itself to cloud computing very well. The dynamic nature of the workloads generated by IoT and the need to scale up and down to meet the demands of the data generated by IoT suit the cloud deployment model very well."
The reason why cloud is being looked at in this area is because of its flexibility in dealing with the vast quantities of data that are being produced by the thousands of sensors in a car or jet engine.
Rather than pushing all your data through hardware, which may not be able to keep up with spikes in data, cloud can stretch to meet demand.
Vendors such as Oracle have created cloud products that are designed for enabling more productive and efficient manufacturing operations.
The technology includes real-time views into work orders for standard and non-standard production and can help to streamline operations.
The use of cloud in the manufacturing sector is likely to grow as it becomes a common tool for companies looking to enable the collection and analysis of data at lower costs
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