The Manufacturer: FIELD & Polestar, an Edge-IIoT System.

FANUC UK has announced Polestar Interactive as the first strategic network and systems integration partner for its IIoT platform, FIELD system.


Since October 2021, FANUC’s FIELD system Industrial IoT (IIoT) platform will be made available through Polestar's IIoT services in the UK and Europe.


The Manufacturer recently highlighted how Polestar will be crucial for the FIELD system to operate on high availability and resilience. FIELD system implementation in the UK will be a matter of a few hours, and that is possible thanks to Polestar's specialisation in bridging the gap between enterprise IT and OT teams and systems through the design and implementation of secure network architectures.


Read The Manufacturer's article about Polestar IIoT & FANUC's partnership here: UK Manufacturers can soon access the best-in-class Edge IIoT System.


Secure Industrial Networking: The Core of IIoT & Digital Transformation


Julian Smith, CEO of Polestar IIT, mentions that the partnership between FANUC and Polestar will empower industrial organisations in the UK and Europe using the FIELD system IIoT platform to improve the effectiveness and security of their operations and attain excellence in their manufacturing processes.


"Picture manual tasks like data collection and machinery inspection in your factory being automated, centralised and made available to virtually anyone you want. Can you see the possibilities for Manufacturers? " Julian further adds that, although the FIELD system is a powerful platform by itself, manufacturers first need to prepare the connectivity in their plants, so communications between systems are performed properly and securely. There is where an IIoT Network Integrator like Polestar enter to play a key role.


And that key role is not only about connecting things to each other. Is also helping manufacturers realise that operational efficiencies through traditional cost-cutting strategies provide only marginal returns. Digital Transformation is about the significant change taking place in the way things are manufactured and delivered, is about moving towards Industrial Automation and Smart Factories. To stay competitive, manufacturers must leverage their digitalisation through IIoT and Resilient Industrial Networks to take full advantage of their production and customer data, and become exponentially agile and efficient.


As an example, one of Ericsson’s factories in Tallinn implemented an augmented reality troubleshooting model to reduce the average time of fault detection, improve workers ergonomics, and promote faster information sharing, boosting productivity by up to 50%.


While some industries have embraced digital transformation by automating many processes using CNC, robotics, and other software-based automation, secure network connectivity empowers production by making industrial automation possible on a much larger scale. Secure and Resilient Industrial Networks create indeed a digital foundation through IIoT and Industrial IT.


Digital transformation at any company will depend on the successful adoption of new technologies. To accelerate smart manufacturing, create digital twins of machines and operations, or improve factory automation and real-time control of equipment and tasks, proper data highways (Industrial Networks) are needed. IIoT and Industrial IT help make processes less wasteful, production lines more flexible, smart machines have better data access, managers better informed, factories more efficient, and productivity higher.


IIoT World mentions how the convergence of IT and OT systems and teams through the formulation of comprehensive IIoT, IT and Operational Strategies could help any factory, regardless of its size and production volume, to begin its digital transformation journey. They continue: "IIoT it’s about connecting people and processes, and bringing together digital and physical systems to achieve better business results. It blurs the line between vendor and customer roles and across systems and silos, of both database and human varieties."


Many industrial companies have recently cited a lack of interest in IoT as a blocker for funding digital transformation initiatives. This is related to a lack of knowledge in facility operators on what “IoT”, or in this case IIoT, means. Deep down, they are looking for ways to reduce unplanned downtime and increase productivity.


To IIoT or not to IIoT? Why is that still a Question?


Not all factories that are transforming their operations digitally are using IIoT yet. Most companies start with a traditional Operational Technology (OT) solution, such as a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software, to simply connect machinery, PLCs, and HMIs; control industrial processes locally; and monitor, gather, and analyse real-time data. For this, you do need a basic networking system, but it is not necessary to connect to the Internet.


Industrial IoT (IIoT) is the part of Digital Transformation focused on performance monitoring in processes, equipment and machines across the Internet. If there are no proper Networks creating safe, fast and resilient connections to the Internet and other systems, there is no IIoT, and digital transformation and its efficiency benefits get restricted to a few manual tasks being eliminated by the favours of simple/isolated CNC machinery.


An IIoT solution for monitoring the performance and condition of equipment can use the same data backhaul infrastructure as an existing SCADA system, but many more sensors must be fitted on the equipment through Fieldbus or wireless transmitters and a more resilient and secure networking infrastructure.


To achieve exponential efficiencies, it is not enough to control machinery through a simple connection to OT. Nowadays it is key to use Edge, Cloud, and Internet-based technologies to connect machinery and OT to Enterprise and IT systems (OT/IT Convergence). These currently operate through the Internet along with thousands of Apps that help manufacturers to access advanced analytics and improve their processes, automation, data sharing, and, above all, their productivity and Cyber Security. This is where the Industrial Internet of Things comes to play.


Plants that do implement IIoT-based solutions have additional advantages over their competitors. To name just a few, companies with reduced numbers of certain experts at their plants (E.g. valve experts, category III or IV vibration experts, analysers, or steam trap experts) can optimise their access to these professionals through IIoT solutions of the likes of a Secure Remote Access system. Other companies can instrument equipment in their plants (E.g. Compressors, fans, blowers, pumps, cooling towers, heat exchangers, or steam traps) with sensors sending data into Cloud systems or Apps, using virtual machines to monitoring equipment 24/7.


The possibilities are endless. Oliver Selby – Business Development Manager at FANUC UK, adds: "The FIELD system provides industrial organisations with a fast, powerful environment in which to store and analyse their production data. We are pleased that Polestar has joined us as the first Network Integration partner in the UK to support our platform users in the UK and EMEA, helping them to reach optimal manufacturing operations".


Read The Manufacturer's article about Polestar IIoT & FANUC's partnership here: UK Manufacturers can s