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Open IIoT is encouraging food and beverage manufacturers to get onto Industry 4.0 or risk falling behind the competition. Balluff sales manager Jim Wallace told Food and Beverage Industry News that Industry 4.0 concepts were critical when it came to making informed decisions about the production process.  

“From information generated either by the process itself or externally,” he said.   

“For instance, Balluff will include their condition monitoring sensor which is a small self-contained sensor which can provide information including vibration/acceleration in three axes, contact temperature ambient pressure and humidity.   

“This pre-processed data is fantastic to use in a preventative maintenance setting or to alter production based on variable conditional information.” 

A spokesperson from Open IIoT told the publication Industry 4.0 was all about harvesting data.  

To show off the capabilities of the software Open IIoT with member companies Balluff, Beckhoff Automation, KUKA Robotic Systems, NORD Drivesystems, SMC Corporation and ZI-Argus will attend foodpro together.  

“It will be a collaboration of several companies all operating within the Industry 4.0/IIoT environment, each with their own area of expertise, and with a shared vision to promote the technologies to the benefit of Australian manufacturing,” said Wallace. 

The industry 4.0 implementations will also help to improve competitiveness, he said.  

According to Jimthe Open IIoT is a knowledge group who are advancing the uptake of Industry 4.0 in Australian manufacturing. 

“The member companies are Balluff who are sensor, measurement, and identification specialists, while Beckhoff Automation produce automation controllers that link directly to the cloud. KUKA Robotic Automation focuses on robotic solutions and NORD Drivesystems are leaders in drive and geared motor technology,” the spokesperson said. 

“SMC Corporation specialise in advanced pneumatic automation while ZI-Argus is a system integrator with speciality experience in IIoT systems. 

“Open IIoT as a cohort aims to assist manufacturers in getting started with their Industry 4.0 implementation and, more importantly to find the commercial benefit that this implementation can deliver.” 

Wallace said he saw continued technological advancement, such as with Industry 4.0, creating an increase in the quality of production and efficiencies. 

Meanwhile, the reduction of waste was another major factor for Open IIoT.  

“It is critical in many industries but very much so in the food and beverage industry. Industry 4.0 implementation can absolutely help in upping the quality of production and efficiency to reduce waste,” Jim said. 

Wallace says that now was the time to get onboard with Industry 4.0, or risk falling behind the competition. 

“You need to understand how to develop you processes to remain competitive,” said Wallace.  

“The starting point is to establish which areas of the process lack in visibility and to generate some useful data around these areas and the process in general. This allows you as the manufacturer and the expert in this field to understand your own process at a deeper level and make the informed decisions to improve the process. 

“My advice would always be to start small and understand just how much information can be generated from a relatively low-cost installation and more importantly the value that can be derived from that information.  This will justify a larger roll out of the technology rather than having to take a very expensive risk.” 

“For some it can seem daunting but upon auditing your machinery you may find that you already have so many Industry 4.0 enabled products in your factory,” says Jim.

“It is now about adding the next layer of collecting the data from these products in a sensible way. Small steps towards big changes.” 

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