Success Stories: Optimizing the Smart Factory by Consolidating Industrial Systems

I often write about the Internet of Things in the manufacturing and industrial space, but I especially enjoy sharing implementations of technology solutions in these arenas. In each of the three examples below, system consolidation is a key contributing factor to optimizing the smart factory.

As automation continues to grow in the smart factory, companies are choosing more and more to consolidate their systems. Discrete workloads, including visualization, process control, and data acquisition, are now being combined into a single system. Consolidating disparate systems offers many benefits, from reducing capital outlay and footprint, to lowering operational expenses for power, cooling, and management. Depending on the solution, the move can also deliver greater security by reducing system-to-system communications.

Intel Enables Consolidation

Intel provides the hardware building blocks to consolidate systems, along with an application-ready platform that enables developers to speed development of virtualized, real-time systems:

  • Intel® Core™ processors provide fast throughput with features like Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology,1 allowing each processor core to work on two tasks simultaneously.
  • Intel® Turbo Boost Technology2 increases processor speed when additional processing performance is required.
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology provides a fast, secure infrastructure for virtualized systems, improving the flexibility and robustness of software-based virtualization.
  • Intel Core processors with Intel® vPro™ technology3 support remote management through Intel® Active Management Technology,4 enabling users to manage, repair, and protect the computing infrastructure remotely.
  • Intel® Industrial Solutions System Consolidation Series offers a pre-integrated, pre-validated application-ready platform to speed the development and deployment of virtualized, real-time systems. For solution developers, this can mean significantly lower upfront engineering costs, shorter product development cycles, and faster time to market.

OK, now for the really fun part: seeing how smart companies are putting system consolidation into action.

Emerson’s DeltaV* Digital Automation System Brings Virtualization Designed for Industry

INDU-009_BlogImage1_DellTHE COMPANIES: Dell OEM Group and Emerson Process Management

THE CHALLENGE: Datacenters and enterprise customers have long benefitted from virtualization, but industrial environments have been slow to adopt the technology, citing concerns about latency, system reliability, and complexity. Industrial sector companies seek solutions that can overcome these concerns while reducing overall manufacturing costs.

THE SOLUTION: Dell developed the PowerEdge* VRTX solution with industrial customers in mind. This easy-to-use integrated system addresses concerns about speed with Intel® Xeon® processors. Additionally, concerns about latency are addressed by Intel® Virtualization Technology with Intel® APIC virtualization technology. Plus, because the consolidated system can run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single platform, new and legacy software can run together on a system that shares network, storage, and other resources to reduce costs. Combining the Dell PowerEdge VRTX and their customized virtualization solutions, Emerson developed the DeltaV Digital Automation System specifically for virtualization of industrial process control. The solution integrates servers, storage, networking, and management, enabling manufacturing facilities to quickly deploy a virtualized infrastructure.

THE RESULT: Through the integrated virtualization solution tailored to process automation, Emerson, Dell, and Intel are accelerating the time to market for virtualized, consolidated systems in industrial settings. The solution delivers greater uptime, more speed, and the edge that industrial companies need to compete in today’s market.

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Pentamaster GURU* Optimizes Vision Processing

INDU-009_BlogImage2_PentamasterTHE COMPANY: Pentamaster Corporation Berhad

THE CHALLENGE: Pentamaster’s original GURU (Glove Unique Reprocessing Unit) was powered by four Industrial PCs (IPCs) with eight high-definition cameras, and employed compute-intensive real-time vision processing to make safe reuse of latex gloves possible. However, the vision processing demanded faster computing performance without disrupting other parts of the system; each of the four computers required its own power, cooling, and maintenance support; and there were concerns that the underlying technology framework might not support newer technologies as they came online.

THE SOLUTION: Pentamaster consolidated the IPCs from four to two. Part of what made this possible was that the Intel® architecture-based IPCs were much more powerful than those they replaced. Not only did the system benefit from the processing speed of the Intel® Core™ i5 processors, they also delivered efficiency by using multiple cores and integrated graphics processing.

THE RESULT: By consolidating the vision processing modules in the GURU, Pentamaster was able to greatly improve the speed, energy efficiency, and manageability of the system.

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Baosight iCentroGate-GAP* Gateway Keeps Data Safe with Consolidation

INDU-009_BlogImage3_BaosightTHE COMPANY: Shanghai Baosight Software Co., Ltd

THE CHALLENGE: In order to gain industrial intelligence, many manufacturers, utilities, and other industrial environments must securely collect and transmit growing volumes of data for analysis. But data acquisition and transmission has typically been accomplished with two separate systems, which can expose infrastructure to considerable risks including data vulnerability, financial burden, and management complexity.

THE SOLUTION: The iCentroGate-GAP gateway product from Shanghai Baosight Software Co., Ltd. is a consolidated system that provides data acquisition and secure intranet-to-Internet data transfer in industrial settings; its quad-core platform hosts two virtualized RTOSs and one embedded operating system to support multiple workloads on a single computing system. Baosight used the Intel® Industrial Solutions System Consolidation Series to quickly and efficiently implement their virtualized gateway.

THE RESULT: By taking advantage of Intel’s pre-integrated and validated hardware and software products, Baosight significantly lowered upfront engineering costs, reduced product development cycles, and got to market faster.

Get more details »

Want to learn more? Read about all of Intel’s industrial solutions for IoT, and contact me on Twitter (@Intel_Shahram) if you have any questions or additional insights. Plus, you can join the Intel IoT conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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1. Available on select Intel® Core™ processors. Requires an Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology (Intel® HT Technology) enabled system. Consult your PC manufacturer. Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software used. For more information including details on which processors support HT Technology, visit www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/hyper-threading/hyper-threading-technology.html.

2. Requires a system with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology. Intel® Turbo Boost Technology and Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 are only available on select Intel® processors. Consult your PC manufacturer. Performance varies depending on hardware, software, and system configuration. For more information, visit www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/turbo-boost/turbo-boost-technology.html.

3. No computer system can provide absolute security under all conditions. Built-in security features available on select Intel® Core™ processors may require additional software, hardware, services, and/or an Internet connection. Results may vary depending upon configuration. Consult your system manufacturer and service provider for availability and functionality. Intel assumes no liability for lost or stolen data and/or systems or any other damages resulting thereof. For more information, visit www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/data-security/security-overview-general-technology.html. Intel® vPro™ Technology is sophisticated and requires setup and configuration. Availability of features and results will depend upon the setup and configuration of your hardware, software, and IT environment. To learn more about the breadth of security features, visit http://www.intel.com/technology/vpro.

4. Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) requires activation and a system with a corporate network connection, an Intel® AMT-enabled chipset, network hardware and software. For notebooks, Intel AMT may be unavailable or limited over a host OS-based VPN, when connecting wirelessly, on battery power, sleeping, hibernating or powered off. Results dependent upon hardware, setup & configuration. For more information, visit www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/intel-active-management-technology.html.

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology, and Intel® Virtualization Technology require a computer system with a processor, chipset, BIOS, enabling software and/or operating system, device drivers, and applications designed for these features. Performance will vary depending on your configuration. Contact your vendor for more information.

Shahram Mehraban

About Shahram Mehraban

Global Head of Energy & Industrial Segments, Intelligent Systems Group INTEL CORPORATION Mehraban currently leads a team of marketing engineers and platform architects to drive solution-centric product innovation in Intel's embedded energy and industrial businesses. In this role he is responsible for setting research directions, conducting comparative qualitative and quantitative research globally, leading new product and solution strategy and definition for Intel in the power and automation industries. Prior to joining Intel in 2000, he held a number of technical marketing and business development roles at Trillium, Glenayre, Nokia and Motorola. Mehraban received his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from University of British Columbia in 1992 and Master's degree in Business Administration from University of Victoria in 1995. He is a self-proclaimed tech enthusiast and early adopter of all types of consumer electronics. He likes to run and watch European soccer on the weekends. Continue the conversation on Twitter, @Intel_Shahram

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