Mark Redgrove, the host of Manufacturing at Heart, was kind enough to warmly welcome Gordon onto his podcast, of which has now been running for over two years and more than 30 fascinating recordings. The conversation follows the area of manufacturing which is receiving the most hype at the moment; Industry 4.0.
Gordon is quick in this episode to get across the key message to manufacturers from his perspective; don’t panic!
We’ve transcribed the beginning of the podcast to give you a taster below. For the full recording, head to the Manufacturing at Heart website using the link below. You can also access the recording in the usual podcast places, such as iTunes and Acast.
MR: "A warm welcome back to another great episode of the manufacturing at heart podcast brought to you on Manufacturing.fm- building a manufacturing community together.
My guest today is Gordon Coulter, CEO of Exmos Ltd- a technology and innovation company based in Scotland. Never has there been a better time to be a leader in Big Data, Cybersecurity and the like. Industry 4.0 is very much here to stay but many businesses are failing to realise what it is they need to do exactly to get on the Industry 4.0 train. Gordon’s business is trying to simplify these issues and attract the tens of thousands of businesses fumbling around in the dark. So, if the terms like PLCs are already a step too far, perhaps this podcast is for you. PLC, by the way, means Programmable Logic Controller in the context of this podcast.
Gordon’s business has recently celebrated a 25th anniversary, so bags of experience and knowledge, therefore, to help guide you through Big Data, cybersecurity and questions about the unprecedented rise in ransomware.
Gordon Coulter, welcome to the Manufacturing at Heart podcast! It’s very nice of you to take time out to join me today- I know you’re a very, very busy man, so welcome to the show."
GC: "Hi! Nice to meet you too."
MR: "Now Gordon, you work for Exmos, so for the benefit of our listeners, can you explain please what Exmos is and what it does?"
GC: "Exmos is a technology and innovation company, and we work primarily in the industrial process and manufacturing industries. We’ve been doing that a long time- we’ve actually just clicked through completing our 25th year in business.
At our core, we monitor and manage the technology that’s being used to handle the Enterprise IT and now the Operational Technology on the factory floor, and we do that using our software platform that was developed here which is called SentiLAN™.
Our clients basically loathe downtime, so a lot of our internal innovation is around the constant enhancement and improvement of that platform, really so we can reduce production outages. That’s either through proactive monitoring or we have sufficient diagnostic data that we can really quickly identify the root of the problem and get that resolved.
We’re now starting to see these clients asking us to help them on their Factory 4.0 journey, or in some cases to actually explain what Factory 4.0 is. That fits particularly well for us, because at the heart of SentiLAN is a data collection and analytics engine. So, we’re now able to collect production data such as production counts, rates, waste levels etc., and do that digitisation piece. And really what that means is instead of the typical production of spreadsheets which quite often take into the middle of the following month for people to understand what went on in the prior month, we’re now able to show that tactical, real-time data- but more importantly we’re doing the business analytics, the strategic data, typically within a 15-minute cycle.
So, for an example, even a few days into a month, management can be sitting saying, “How is this month looking compared to last month?”, “This month last year?” etc, without having to wait for somebody to either produce the spreadsheets and decipher what’s written down on bits of paper, clipboards and pencils.
In a nutshell, that’s what we do."
MR: "Well, I think you’re pretty much around at the very good moment with a Factory 4.0, Industry 4.0, or whatever we call it. But, you see a bit of a problem with manufacturers and Industry 4.0, can you expand a little bit on our earlier conversation?"
GC: "I think it’s like most new technologies; there’s always a trailblazer, or a handful of trailblazers, and they kind of lead the way. Then there’s a lot of hype sort of builds up and floats around what these companies are doing.
Over the year, we attend conferences and webinars and seminars, and it just seems to be the same old stories and the same people floating around. We find that the processing people and the factories have gone from being quite inspired by what they’re doing, to “this is just far too farfetched in terms of what we do in our own industry, in our own factories and the way of working.”
So, we get these people saying, “We get this data on a clipboard, I type it into Excel, and I’m really struggling to see how that equates to 10,000 sensors on the wing of an aircraft.”
And at the same time, a lot of these people are coming under pressure from their senior management to start implementing Factory 4.0, without that really being defined as to what that is and what their goals are. It almost feels like everyone else is doing it, so we better be doing it too.
The final bit of feedback we tend to hear is people are saying a lot of these presentations are about what you can do, but nobody’s really saying this is how you get started. Here’s how to start, here’s how to get going, and here’s how to run that after that."
You can listen to the podcast in full using the player above, on Manufacturing.fm or in your usual podcast place by searching for “Manufacturing at Heart”.
Orgalime is the European Engineering Industries Association, and it is “the prime voice of the EU engineering industry on selected issues that affect a broad range of our members.”
CEEMET is the European employers’ organisation representing the interests of the metal, engineering and technology-based industries, with a particular focus on “labour market policy and industrial relation issues.”
Posted by Jordan Maciver on Monday, December 11, 2017
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