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IoT Edge: An approach to better use Manufacturing Data

The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way we interact with technology, and one of its remarkable advancements is IoT Edge. In the realm of manufacturing, IoT Edge devices are revolutionising the industry by bringing intelligence, connectivity, and efficiency to the factory floor.

The IoT Edge is where sensors and devices exchange real-time data through a network to either an IoT or an Edge platform for processing. By processing data closer to its source, IoT Edge computing resolves the problem of delays often encountered in cloud-based systems. In addition to minimising latency, the architecture of IoT Edge ensures improved safety measures and a seamless experience for end-users.

Data is processed right where it’s generated, meaning in your production machines, machine tools, processes, and plants. Now you can finally make practical use of this data to optimise workflows, save resources, and improve quality. Industrial Edge also lets you use cloud computing as needed – for example, in order to benefit from higher computing power, more storage, and Remote Access.

Understanding IoT Edge

IoT Edge refers to a decentralised approach to IoT architecture, where data processing and analysis occur at or near the source of data generation, rather than relying solely on cloud-based platforms. This proximity enables faster data processing, reduces latency, enhances real-time decision-making capabilities, and minimises bandwidth requirements. Essentially, IoT Edge brings intelligence and computing power closer to the devices and sensors at the edge of the network.

IoT Edge devices act as endpoints that collect, process, and transmit data in real-time. These devices are equipped with sensors, actuators, and embedded computing power, allowing them to interact with the physical world and communicate with other devices or centralised systems. Examples of IoT Edge devices in manufacturing include intelligent sensors, industrial gateways, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and robotic systems.

An IoT gateway facilitates communication between devices and between devices and the cloud, performing essential tasks such as data filtering and analysis. It can also be programmed to authenticate data intended for cloud services, enhancing real-time data security and bolstering IoT security measures.

When an Edge agent needs to communicate with another device or the cloud, the IoT gateway handles the request by processing, verifying, and transmitting the information to the intended destination. The transmitted data can be analysed, and the insights gained utilised to identify opportunities for improving system efficiency.

Get to know our portfolio of IoT Edge Solutions:

The Industrial Edge is a comprehensive Edge computing platform designed to be accessible and immediately deployable. It encompasses Edge devices, Edge apps, Edge connectivity, and infrastructure for managing applications and devices. These type of platforms simplify the process of gathering and analysing data from industrial resources, facilitates rapid and dependable implementation of applications within factory settings, and offers centralised management for devices and apps with exceptional scalability.

With an IoT Edge manufacturers can determine what data stays local and what can be used with an IoT/Cloud solution. Some of the use cases in the industry are:

IoT Edge devices enable real-time monitoring and analytics of manufacturing processes. By collecting and analysing data at the edge, manufacturers can gain immediate insights into equipment performance, production line efficiency, and product quality. This allows for proactive maintenance, reduced downtime, and improved overall operational efficiency. IoT devices and sensors placed at various points in the manufacturing process that collect data on product quality, production parameters, and environmental conditions help managers to identify defects, deviations, or inefficiencies in real-time.

By making data-driven decisions, manufacturers can optimise processes, reduce defects, improve yield rates, and enhance overall product quality. IoT also allows manufacturers to remotely monitor and control operations across multiple facilities or even globally. Through connected devices and centralised management platforms, manufacturers can access real-time data, oversee production processes, and adjust parameters remotely. This capability enables better coordination, faster response times, and efficient resource allocation, regardless of geographic location.

Worker Safety and Monitoring

IoT devices, wearables, and environmental sensors enhance worker safety in manufacturing environments. They can monitor factors such as temperature, humidity, air quality, and hazardous conditions, alerting workers and supervisors in case of potential dangers. IoT-powered safety systems enable prompt responses, reduce accidents, and create a safer work environment.

IoT Edge devices facilitate predictive maintenance in manufacturing. By continuously monitoring equipment conditions, detecting anomalies, and analysing data locally, these devices can identify potential failures before they occur. This enables manufacturers to schedule maintenance activities, replace components proactively, and prevent costly unplanned downtime. IoT sensors embedded in machinery and equipment can monitor performance metrics such as temperature, vibration, and energy consumption. By collecting real-time data, manufacturers can analyse patterns and detect anomalies that indicate potential failures or maintenance needs. This proactive approach to maintenance helps minimise unplanned downtime, optimise equipment lifespan, and reduce repair costs.

Optimised Resource Utilisation

IoT Edge devices help optimise resource utilisation on the factory floor. By analysing data in real-time, manufacturers can identify energy consumption patterns, track material usage, and optimise workflow efficiency. IoT also enables real-time tracking and monitoring of inventory, materials, and products throughout the supply chain. Connected sensors provide visibility into the location, condition, and status of goods, helping manufacturers streamline logistics, improve inventory management, and ensure timely deliveries. This leads to reduced waste, improved efficiency and sustainability, cost savings, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

IoT plays a vital role in energy management by providing visibility into energy consumption patterns and identifying areas of inefficiency. Connected sensors can monitor energy usage in real-time and provide insights for optimising energy consumption, scheduling operations during off-peak hours, and implementing energy-saving measures. This not only reduces costs but also contributes to sustainability efforts.

IoT Edge technology provides a bridge between legacy systems and modern IoT solutions. By integrating with existing infrastructure and equipment, manufacturers can leverage the benefits of IoT without completely replacing their current systems. This flexibility allows for a smooth transition and gradual adoption of IoT technologies.

How Polestar can Help?

Seamless Connectivity

Polestar assists Manufacturers and Industrial companies with connecting machinery, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems through Edge computing solutions. This typically involves several of our services, which include:

Understanding the requirements

We start by identifying the specific goals and requirements for connecting your machinery, PLCs, and ERP system. Determine the data that needs to be exchanged, the frequency of data transfer, and any specific functionalities required.

Based on the requirements, we design an architecture that allows for seamless communication between the machinery, PLCs, and the ERP system. An edge computing solution typically involves deploying edge devices or gateways near the machinery to collect, process, and transmit data.

We install edge devices or gateways near the machinery or at strategic locations on the factory floor. These devices act as intermediaries between the machinery/PLCs and the ERP system. They collect data from the machinery and send it to the ERP system while also receiving commands and instructions from the ERP system to control the machinery.

Data acquisition implementation

We configure the edge devices or gateways to acquire data from the machinery and PLCs. This can involve connecting to the PLCs using appropriate industrial communication protocols such as Modbus, OPC-UA, or Ethernet/IP. Retrieve relevant data points such as sensor readings, machine status, production counts, etc.

We guide you to process and filter the acquired data at the edge devices or gateways to ensure only relevant information is sent to the ERP system. This can involve data aggregation, data transformation, normalisation, and any necessary data analytics or calculations.

We establish a secure connection between the edge devices or gateways and the ERP system to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of the data being transmitted. This can be done using encryption protocols such as TLS/SSL and implementing appropriate authentication and access controls.

We develop or configure the necessary software components to integrate edge devices or gateways with the ERP system. This can involve using APIs or middleware that enable seamless data exchange between the two systems. Ensure that the data is mapped correctly to the corresponding fields in the ERP system.

Implementing control and monitoring

Enable the ERP system to send commands and instructions to the edge devices or gateways for controlling the machinery. This can include starting or stopping specific machines, adjusting settings, or initiating maintenance actions. Provide real-time monitoring capabilities in the ERP system to track the status and performance of the machinery.

Testing and Optimisation

Thoroughly test the entire system to ensure proper functionality and data accuracy. Fine-tune the system as needed to optimise performance and address any issues or limitations that may arise during testing.

Implement monitoring and maintenance procedures to ensure the ongoing stability and reliability of the connection between the machinery, PLCs, and ERP system. Regularly monitor the system for any anomalies, update software components as necessary, and perform periodic maintenance tasks.

It's worth noting that the specific implementation details may vary depending on the machinery, PLCs, and ERP system being used. We work along with experts in industrial automation and software integration to ensure a successful implementation of edge computing solutions.

Every network-connected device possesses the potential to be exploited by attackers, making both IoT edge devices and the devices they connect vulnerable endpoints. Some edge devices are equipped with default passwords like "admin," which users may neglect to change to a more secure option. Additionally, personal devices such as smartphones or smart cars can be left unlocked, granting unauthorised access to the network, particularly if they are stolen while the user remains logged in

Manufacturers can enhance workplace safety and security with Polestar's IoT Edge devices. Real-time monitoring of environmental conditions, equipment status, and employee activities enables the detection of potential hazards or breaches. Immediate notifications and automated responses can be triggered to mitigate risks and ensure a safer work environment.

Polestar's Network Access Control (NAC) solutions offer enhanced security by implementing a zero-trust framework to prevent unauthorised network access. Through NAC, IoT edge devices connecting to the network undergo identification and evaluation processes. The system carefully examines and verifies the credentials of each device before granting it permission to interact with the network.



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