The Internet of Things

Oct. 1, 2011
With the arrival and increasing implementation of the Internet of Things concept in manufacturing, the time has come to get familiar with some new terminology.

With the arrival and increasing implementation of the Internet of Things concept in manufacturing, the time has come to get familiar with some new terminology. So, if you haven’t yet become familiar with the term “mashup,” here’s what it means and how it applies to manufacturing.

In information technology (IT) terminology, a mashup is a Web page or application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services.

One of the key places for the mashup rubber to meet the road in manufacturing is in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

“If you have, say, 50 lines running at about 80 percent capacity, but suddenly one of the lines goes to 67 percent, the OEE system can tell you that you aren’t running at full speed, or that quality wasn’t as good,” says Russ Fadel, chief executive officer of Thingworx, an Exton, Pa. supplier of connectivity solutions. “But from that info, there’s not much you can do. You still have to go to a separate quality system to find out what the problem is, such as fill rates being too low. But even with that information, you still don’t know the root cause. Was the system running too fast/slow? Did a maintenance activity occur or not? Is it related to a specific material?”

By incorporating data on unstructured human interactions along with transaction data and tag information from the device and relating them with process measurements, data from line devices, operators, materials, quality data, operator and maintenance activities this mixed set of data can be searched so that you can see anything that happened during the processing of that order.

“For example, you could see that an operator commented that a filler sounded funny during production,” explains Fadel.  “If you have all the data connected, then you can see all related data that has historically been unconnected to link operator comments to quality data. Mashup is helping manufacturers move from single dimensional views of assets like OEE and maintenance to a more holistic view. This allows organizational data to grow over time and speeds business up for faster problem solving and understanding possible innovation potentials.”

OCTOBER 2011, Manufacturing and the "The Internet of Things"
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About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Editor in Chief

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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