Smart-factory technology upgrades: 5G, cybersecurity dominate
As smart factories look to upgrade their sites following the economic upheaval that was 2020, manufacturers need to step up to the plate and demonstrate some innovation as limited factory floor access hampers prospective upgrade plans.
Paul Miller, Forrester principal analyst, said that manufacturers are being more thoughtful when it comes to maximizing value on any potential upgrade investments and stressed the need to focus on “augmenting the engineer” in any potential upgrade plans.
Maximizing Value from Smart Technology Upgrades in Brownfield Sites
IT pros and executives tend to focus on greenfield deployments, Miller imparted the reality that 80% to 90% of assets in typical manufacturing environments are brownfield, and that with some being up to 30 years old, “There’s a requirement to connect those as well.”
Miller suggested that smart manufacturers have focused on where and what to invest in during COVID times. He said, “it’s not necessarily putting a sensor onto every machine or every part of every machine but working out where to put those limited sensors to give you the maximum value.”
Miller cited New York-based Augury,, which offers retrofitted sensors that benefit brownfield manufacturing sites that need to upgrade, adding that such sensors can measure vibrations, temperature, and noise.
“[Vendors are] working out where to put those to get the maximum value to allow you to start upgrading and modernizing those brownfield assets without stripping everything out and starting again with a greenfield deployment,” he added.
Successful Industry 4.0 Pre-COVID Pilots Accelerated
As the enormous economic downturn caused many vendors to reevaluate their plans last year, those with plans to upgrade their smart factories have had to either shelve or shove their plans further down the timeline.
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