Understanding Industry 4.0, IIoT, and More
Mike Breitkreutz 02.24.2022
IIoT, Industry 4.0, AR - you’ve all heard the lingo at one time or another. But unless you have a requirement to use it in your daily conversations, you may not really understand what it all means.
Today’s fast-paced world requires faster information exchange. We all know the agony of having to wait just two minutes to get our Big Mac meal ordered, paid for, and delivered in a little paper bag at the final window of the drive-thru. We demand to wait only one minute and we better receive what we ordered!
This process of placing the order, order acknowledgment, payment, and final receipt all happens through a process of quick information exchange. It is a finely-tuned process based on feedback to make it even quicker. At one time, there was only one window and one lane at the McDonald's drive-thru!
In the manufacturing world, this ‘information exchange’ is data. Whether it be two pieces of equipment talking through data streams, or a Production Manager displaying a Factory Monitor with all machine status from the luxury of the office, quick access to accurate data drives quick decisions and faster improvements in the manufacturing process. And, just like the McDonald’s drive-thru, we fine-tune these processes to meet our customers’ demands.
At Okuma, we have our own set of products that relate closely to the acronyms mentioned at the beginning of this blog post. Together, they make up a set of technical terms that we should all learn. Why? Because they all deal with collecting important data from Okuma machine tools and other manufacturing equipment on our customers’ floors.
Here’s a simple glossary to familiarize yourself with industry-standard terms and acronyms, and our related Okuma products!
Information Exchange Glossary: Terms to Know
- Smart Interface: For an Okuma machine connected to our Connect Plan server, a machine with this functionality provides the best method to connect because it allows for the maximum number of data sets to be sent from the machine to our Connect Plan software.
- Application Program Interface (API): On our Okuma machines, this application program interface provides the capability for our machines to interact and exchange data with software programs developed to run on a Windows OS platform.
- Okuma App Store: An online library where Okuma shares software applications developed by Okuma, distributors, and partners. These applications are tested, easily downloadable, and ready to use on your P-controlled Okuma machines.
- Augmented Reality (AR): An interactive experience involving the overlaying of computer-generated objects in the real-world environment. Microsoft’s HoloLens is an example of this.
- Okuma Connect Plan: An Okuma product that installs on a customer’s standalone PC. It collects important data from Okuma and non-Okuma machines and presents it in a legible format. This data includes machine status, alarm/operation/part program history, and other data sets necessary to make educated decisions about the machining process and minimize machine downtime.
- Connect Plan Lite: Developed by Okuma to be installed on an actual Okuma machine, this “teaser” app gives our customers a taste of what its big brother can do. Downloadable on the Okuma App Store.
- Virtual Reality (VR): Provides a completely digital experience that is viewed inside a closed visual environment. It allows the user to experience anything imaginable without regard to the real world.
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Refers to interconnected sensors, instruments, and other devices networked together with computers’ industrial applications in a manufacturing environment. These devices are connected via Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
- Industry 4.0: Also referred to as the “4th Industrial Revolution”, this refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data.
- MTConnect: A manufacturing technical standard to retrieve process information from numerically-controlled machine tools. Okuma makes an “adapter” for our machines based on this protocol. It can also be found on the Okuma App Store.