IT and Manufacturing Converge at Automation Fair 2007 Panel Discussion

Can’t we all just get along? If you’re talking about plant floor engineers and corporate IT personnel, the answer often is a resounding “no.”

However, the usual economic forces have been flowing over this resistant organizational rock, and there’s evidence that it too is beginning to wear down. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a pain-free process.

Steve Miraglia discusses  “Wyeth S95—Shop Floor to Top Floor” at Automation Fair 2007.
Photo by Putman media
To help control engineers, automation professionals and end-user manufacturers cooperate more effectively with their IT colleagues, Rockwell Automation and a panel of experts presented “Capitalizing on the Convergence Between IT and Manufacturing” during its Manufacturing Perspectives day before the opening of Automation Fair 2007 in Chicago.

The panel was moderated by Mike Jackson, Rockwell’s vice president and CIO and included Bruce Anderson, vice president for global business services and supply chain management at IBM; Chris Colyer, worldwide industry director of manufacturing operation strategy at Microsoft; Steve Miraglia, vice president of biotechnology technology and engineering at Wyeth; and Chet Namboodri, global director of manufacturing industry solutions at Cisco.

Biotech and Engineering

Miraglia reported that Wyeth has 50,000 employees in 17 countries worldwide, and generated 2006 sales of $20.4 billion.

To produce its products efficiently, Wyeth employs its four-layer “Wyeth S95—Shop Floor to Top Floor” architecture. These include discrete, continuous, and batch control on Level 1, Sensing and Manipulating the Process, and on Level 2, Monitoring, Supervisory, Control, and Automated Controls. Wyeth uses Rockwell, Emerson Process Management, GE Fanuc, and Siemens components on these two levels. Manufacturing operations management, including Wyeth’s dispatching and detailed production, scheduling, and reliability assurance, are located on Level 3, Workflow, Recipe Control, Maintaining Records, and Optimizing. The company uses MES and Rockwell PMX on Level 3. Finally, business planning and logistics, including plant production scheduling and operational management, are located on Level 4, Schedule Production, Material Use, Delivery, Shipping, and Inventory. Wyeth uses SAP R/3 on this level.

Despite its organizational architecture, Miraglia said that Wyeth’s managers, engineers and operators still must recheck, reconfirm, and ask themselves—“who is responsible for what?” He reports that Wyeth’s corporate IT had an infrastructure focus, and is responsible for the firm’s wide area network (WAN), network cabling, Ethernet switches, routers and firewalls. Its site IS staff has a business application focus, and concentrates on computer PC, server operating systems, and office computer desktop applications. Wyeth’s site automation engineers concentrate on process systems, and manage process manufacturing systems, control systems, process data analysis, historians and process control.

“Success takes collaboration and teams working together,” said Miraglia. Some of Wyeth’s procedures for creating collaboration include:

  • IT infrastructure supports all network layers throughout the S-95 levels including the control network layer, when using Ethernet.
  • Automation engineering approves all IS/IT requested or suggested changes to control system environment on Levels 1 and 2.
  • Virus protection is installed and active on all S-95 Level 1 and 2 manufacturing systems.

Going Green

IBM’s  Anderson presented “The Evolving Green Challenge for Manufacturing,” and reported that much of IBM’s $91 billion size in 2006 comes from manufacturing, such as its East Fishkill campus, which automates chip manufacturing with a network of sensors connected by 600 miles of network cable. To better manage its compliance and regulation, legacy system scalability, warranty risk, faster design cycles, volatile demand signals, ERP maturity, and reduced computing costs, Anderson says, IBM last year began exploring ways to reduce time to market and total cost of ownership.

“IBM’s outlook on environmental leadership encompasses all business units within the company, including research, manufacturing, procurement, logistics and distribution,” says Anderson. “The impact of green manufacturing requires us to rethink manufacturing fundamentals from simply adhering to government rules, heavily manual EH&S data collection for compliance and supply chain management to reducing carbon emissions and water consumption and automating environmental data collection and reporting for optimization.”

Network Agility

Cisco’s Namboodri added that EtherNet/IP is helping converge the business network and traditional plant-floor applications (such as controllers, HMIs, programming terminals and business systems) with real-time, plant-floor control applications (such as instruments, robots, drives, and I/O devices) and with commercial technologies (such as HTML, HTTP, XML, FTP, VoIP, Windows Linux, video, remote access, and wireless). “This convergence is needed to solve the overall application fragmentation problem, and create more business value,” said Namboodri. “Manufacturers need to reexamine their automation and operations management strategies.”

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