Edge Computing

Machine and Equipment Manufacturers

 Three Important Aspects of HPC for Machine and Equipment Manufacturers

While the technological landscape of edge computing is quite broad, there are several key features that limit the types of features that apply specifically to a machine or equipment manufacturer. As OEMs evaluate advanced technologies to determine how they can reduce friction when developing new machines, there are some important factors to consider that will help ensure success.

Benefits of virtualization at the edge

Using virtualization, applications that typically run across multiple IPCs can be integrated into a single edge computing platform. With virtual machines built-in and pre-configured on the platform, much more flexibility can now be easily added to the operation and monitoring of machines and equipment. With thin client virtualization, hardware manufacturers can gain more flexibility for their customers by allowing multiple people to remotely access data and applications from a variety of mobile devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. This stand-alone model is preferred, gives customers more flexibility, and is easier to use for the field technician to install, configure, deploy, and maintain onsite.

Preventing Downtime

Robust design and advanced features increase machine productivity, prevent interruption and improve OEE. Edge calculation platforms in the OT world must be ready to operate autonomously for extended periods of time, as communication with the outside world can often be unavailable. They need to be installed flexibly in the control room, control panel, factory or directly on the smart machine. Service and support should be simple, offer remote monitoring and self-healing.

When evaluating edge computing platforms, look for a redundancy option that supports fault tolerant and / or highly available workloads, disaster recovery, CPU restart, self-test, machine diagnostics, remote health monitoring - this simplifies maintenance and support and reduces field operating costs.

Reduced costs and increased profits

Ultimately, the move to edge computing is only viable if it meets the stringent cost constraints of the highly competitive markets in which hardware manufacturers operate. When assessing edge computing platforms, it is important to consider capital costs as well as development and recurrent costs. Besides saving on things like virtualization, cost is a function of value. More expensive platforms provide a much broader set of advantages and benefits than simple devices or gateways with less processing power.

In addition to local storage, edge computing platforms must provide remote cloud services and be able to store system settings and user settings in the cloud to simplify system backups and restores and increase profitability.

While there may be a prepayment to implement edge computing, many of the features and new applications supported by edge computing platforms create opportunities for new revenue generating services or streamlining existing support services and resources. For example, there is a trend towards machine as a service or equipment as a service, where the end customer pays on a time or use basis rather than a traditional purchase of capital. To positively implement and maintain such a model, a machine or equipment manufacturer must understand the characteristics and service profile of their equipment and be able to accurately collect and analyze the relevant data.

Edge Computing platforms will play an important role in extending traditional hardware control and automation capabilities. They will also provide hardware manufacturers with a bridge to embrace digital transformation initiatives for themselves and integrate with their customers' initiatives. To learn more about the rank of edge computing to machine and equipment manufacturers, download our white paper, Smart Factories Need Smarter Hardware.