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PLCs Power Industrial Data Integration

Not long ago, the roles of industrial automation devices and systems were a little more straightforward. Most field devices and sensors were relatively “dumb” and were directly connected to controllers, which may have interacted with operator displays, and in rare cases some data may have flowed up to higher level enterprise systems. Today’s smart sensors, clever controllers, and more capable communications have improved upon this scenario, and end users are looking for the best ways to enable the enterprise host systems to access valuable field-level data.

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Artificial Intelligence at the Edge Improves Manufacturing Productivity

Ever since IBM rolled out the world’s first mainframe computer in the 1950s, engineers and manufacturers in information technology (IT) have been pushing the boundaries of possibility through microelectronics and software. However, modern computer capabilities did not surface in the industrial operations technology (OT) space until recently, as machine builders began to realize the benefits IT can provide for efficiency and productivity.

A decade ago, digitalization and advanced analytics in OT environments gave adopters a leg up on their competitors. But today, manufacturers cannot keep up unless they lean on IT advances. These advances address challenges for plants, such as difficulty employing knowledgeable personnel, unexpected equipment failures and lack of operational insights for increasing efficiency.

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Asset Management: When to Repair and When to Replace

Asset management is a broad term that can be applied in numerous contexts, from facilities to finance. In a manufacturing context, it includes all efforts to ensure that tangible assets — including buildings, equipment, tools and so on — are properly operated and maintained throughout their whole life cycles.

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A New Age Approach to Traditional Manufacturing Issues

As the virtual world collides with real-world manufacturing issues, the winners will be those who successfully navigate the challenges of both the technology and the people who will operate it. That was the central theme of the 2018 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit (GAMS), presented by CFE Media and Hannover Messe USA and sponsored by Siemens, SAP, Advantech, Beckhoff, Infor, Stratus, UL, Universal Robots, and Lapp.

The half-day thought leadership event that took place Sept. 12 as part of IMTS 2018 in Chicago drew a full house of manufacturing leaders looking to navigate the challenges faced in an age of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

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Five Tips for Improving Warehouse Productivity

Improving warehouse productivity can feel like a daunting task. There are so many moving parts within a warehouse operation that it may seem impossible to align everyone’s priorities for the good of the operation. But making improvements can provide big returns. We’ve chosen five basic tips to help streamline and improve your warehouse’s productivity. 

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