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Leveraging automation in manufacturing

APS Industrial’s newest factory automation product manager brings with him a wealth of experience from his 15 years with APS partner, Siemens.

APS Industrial and Siemens have built a strong partnership over the six years, leading to continued innovation in factory automation for local industry. 

“We’ve really tried to position ourselves as the best choice for local manufacturers and the way we’ve done that is by bringing together what we feel is the most comprehensive capability portfolio in the industry,” said Matthew Buser, APS Industrial’s recently appointed factory automation
product manager.

“Local manufacturers of any size or scale can come to us and get everything they need to meet their objectives. And central to us being able to make that claim is the Siemens portfolio.”

Buser’s addition to the APS Industrial team is further evidence of the company’s commitment to that promise. He brings with him over 15 years’ experience in industrial automation, including in Siemens’ highly touted education and training spaces. 

“I spent a lot of time working with PLC and any IoT related products,” he said. 

“That’s really where my speciality lies and what I am excited to bring to APS. I’m going to be drawing on that experience quite a lot by working with all the factory automation products. This includes products such as PLC, I/O and HMI, as well as motion control and industrial communication.” 

Buser said he spent a large portion of his time at Siemens as a training instructor, which gave him valuable insights into the progression of automation and how to best apply those insights in applicable industries.

“Every single Siemens product can be integrated and configured into a single software platform, which is the Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal),” he said. 

The TIA Portal provides intelligent automation development, adaptable machine designs, transparent operations, and eco-friendly solutions, facilitating data access for calculating and enhancing product carbon footprint. Continuously evolving, the solution enhances and broadens TIA to ensure resilience and adaptability.

“Everyone in the industry space that’s accelerating digital transformation is helping local businesses be more competitive with things like efficient engineering and faster to market savings,” said Buser. 

“It’s about bringing that automation knowledge to the local market.” 

Buser said his background granted him a lot of valuable knowledge when it came to different systems and solutions. 

In that time Buser also learned how to best help a customer meet their automation needs. 

“I would advise them on how to find the simplest solution that would get them the results they needed, that is the focus. Whether it be starting with a PLC only, or a complete solution all at once,” he said. 

And with the continued rise of automation innovation, Buser said, customers needed to be thinking about the right questions to get the best results. 

“Automation is becoming more and more prevalent; you need to ask yourself how much of an impact you expect factory automation to continue to have and if you are making the necessary decisions to take advantage of that impact,” he said. 

“Emerging technologies like simulation and digital twins will continue to make things easier by having a big impact. I think companies that implement these types of solutions really help transform their business”. 

“At the end of the day, this is an important part of the Siemens and APS Industrial value proposition. We value our role in helping local businesses experience top global offerings. And our partnership with Siemens also shows that”. 

When it comes to some of the products available to the Australian market through the APS Industrial/Siemens partnership, the SIMATIC WinCC Unified System provides a good example.

“The WinCC Unified is a visualisation platform that uses Edge technology and scales itself to whatever device is being used,” said Buser.  

“For example, I can view my HMI on my PC, mobile phone, tablet and get all of the high-level cloud functionality. That’s a very good example of the new technology coming into Siemens’ products, and we think it’s a great opportunity for our customers to take advantage of.” 

Buser said it was one of many advantages to the advancements in factory automation that data can be tracked in real time, even from remote locations. And by extension, can help identify any possible faults or issues early on. 

Buser also highlighted the importance of having the right PLC to pair with the automation solutions. 

“The S7-1500 PLC is the most talked about PLC when it comes to this space and it’s central to our portfolio. Without the PLC your HMI isn’t really going to give you any data because the PLC sets everything in motion and collects the data. Without that, there really isn’t any automation happening.” 

Buser said these automation solutions are ideal for the food and beverage space and can be used in various areas of operation. Buser also encourages key stakeholders to integrate Siemens into as much of the manufacturing process as possible in order to get the best results possible.  

“We try to sell across the entire Siemens solution portfolio because it creates a more seamless solution when applied together,” he said. 

“That’s things like efficient engineering, integrated security, and so on. It’s all because it fits perfectly together. 

“If you are going to put a Siemens PLC in your machine then you really want to have a Siemens HMI with it because they work seamlessly together.”

Buser also highlighted the importance Siemens puts on cyber security in an increasingly digital world. 

“If you need to check a data point you don’t need to physically go to the HMI, you might not even be in the plant. You might be somewhere remote, and you can access that data. That is a huge advantage to this technology,” he said. 

“Integrated security is a big part of what Siemens are doing and its necessary because having data coming across to your mobile phone for example has the potential to expose your operational data to breaches/risks. With that in mind, integrated security is a major part of Siemens product development and has a huge focus.

“If you want to re-engineer your whole solution with a PLC, you might as well go and put in everything that comes along with it,” he said. 

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