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How to Digitise and Access New Levels of Decision Making Capabilities

Industry 4.0 - the digitisation of the factory floor - has been heralded as a game-changer for UK manufacturing and the key to improving bottom line. Industrial leaders are digitising essential functions within their operations and enhancing their product portfolios with digital functionalities, introducing increasing numbers of data hungry applications in a quest to achieve operational efficiency.

Digitisation advancements within industrial automation are enabling the transfer and collection of greater volumes of operational data across the plant floor, but not all manufacturing businesses are able to take advantage of this potential insight. In fact, many plants are finding themselves restricted by the lifecycle of their existing industrial applications.

Realistically, connecting plant assets with control systems and business systems requires highly specialised personnel resources and precious development time. Similarly, application development, deployment and re-engineering significantly raise project costs across the lifecycle of industrial applications and, with IIoT-enabled applications requiring specialised scripting and customization, it’s actually not quite as simple as saying ‘Let’s digitize.’

It’s the age old conflict of IT vs OT, but these worlds are now converging and plant businesses can neither ignore the 4th industrial revolution nor scrap their existing applications. Instead, they need to find a way to unlock the value in their data without replacing their legacy systems. So how do they do it?

It all starts with a good foundation. Enter Wonderware System Platform 2017, a system capable of bridging the gap between the OT and IT worlds. Built like an operating system for industrial applications, Wonderware System Platform 2017 helps companies take full advantage of increased IIoT connectedness and digitisation, within a centralised, multi-user collaboration framework. Crucially, it offers a revolutionary new way of building re-usable industrial applications and content, similar to the approach taken with modern web page development, via a new visualisation engine called InTouch OMI.

InTouch OMI allows HMI designers to build and deploy uniform content on any display screen or device, with no scripting, programming or loss of resolution. It‘s capable of delivering a 60% reduction in engineering effort and time to create applications due to its engineering simplicity and out-of-box content.

For engineers, System Platform’s powerful drag and drop application building and remote deployment capabilities will deliver impressive engineering efficiency, whilst operations managers can achieve contextualised situational awareness and the ability to rectify abnormal situations before they impact operations. For IT managers, System Platform offers a secure, user friendly interface and seamless integration. And I think you’ll agree that it’s rare these three groups all get what they need from the same solution.