With each passing year, the number of connected devices in the average modern production facility seem to grow exponentially. As the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 usher in an age where manufacturing machines are constantly collecting and exchanging data with each other and operators, managing and reacting to that data is an ever-present priority for any company that makes “making things” their business.
The hardware is key to connecting these devices and systems, and for it to be successful, it must be simple and reliable - both in installation and in use. Thus, it's not surprising that we get a lot of questions about what hardware we use and how we leverage it to collect machine data. In the case of MachineMetrics, all that's required is one IoT Gateway per site, available internet connection, and that your machines are on you network and accessible from our gateway. It can be either purchased from us or downloaded and installed on your own hardware. The Gateway includes all the software we've developed specifically to connect to most any machine type with just an ethernet connection, and isolates your machines from the public internet.
MachineMetrics COO and Co-Founder Eric Fogg spoke with Logic Supply, our Gateway supplier, to answer some of these questions including why MachineMetrics chose their IoT Gateway as the hardware solution and how today’s factories are using data to optimize every aspect of production.
For any truly transformational technology, Fogg argues that the first step is gaining the capability necessary for that big revolutionary step. "Say you’re baking a cake; first you need all of the ingredients to be combined before you can actually cook it and really turn it into something. At MachineMetrics we’re hoping to do much of that baking for our clients, combining technologies that have emerged and that we’ve developed over time, into something transformative for their business. and that’s where hardware comes into play. One component in the revolution for users of our software is an affordable hardware platform that’s easy to deploy and dependable long-term as this technology evolution continues."
One thing that truly separates MachineMetrics from other manufacturing analytics platforms is in our "machine agnosticism"; we can connect to any brand or type of machine, from the latest machine models to legacy equipment. "Every machine that we connect is different," Fogg says, "Each time our technicians go into a shop they may have 25 machines that might use 25 different protocols, or they have physically different connectors that they need to interface with. Over the years we've accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience in making those connections to ensure effective communication between devices, but our hardware solution had to be as flexible as our software in terms of connectivity."