Suresh Iyer is the CIO at Blue Star. He is driving the digital transformation agenda of the company by leveraging IoT, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud. A digitally charged IT professional, Suresh with an experience of over two decades focuses on leveraging the opportunities presented by today's digital platforms in enriching and enhancing the businesses he serves.
Blue Star developed iFactory, which is a key component of an organization-wide initiative to adopt Industry 4.0 principles. The overall Industry 4.0 initiative involves complete factory automation using cobots, robots, camera vision technologies, IoT and analytics.
iFactory primarily envisages the creation of a paperless factory and addresses the problem of improving factory OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), providing production visibility (within factory and across factories), improving collaboration through creation of centres of excellence through automation, improving plant capacity through idle time and down time rationalization, reducing energy consumption and improving plant efficiency through predictive maintenance.
Using Internet of Things, all the machines including shop floor machines and utility machines have been connected using sensors, meters and networks. Where required, analog data has been converted to digital. Real-time data from all of these machines including production counts are collected and stored in a central server. This data is then synchronized with a cloud server for providing visibility across all factories and for running analytics.
Since the factory has legacy machines which may not even have any electronic controllers, these machines had to be enabled for data collection using sensors. Shop floor operators have been provided with HMI machines to enable data collection – any stage which is idle on account of maintenance or downtime or waiting for material is tagged using these HMI machines.
This enables the capture of relevant information for later analytics. Automatic alerts are sent out via SMS in case of any machine going down. Maintenance teams are activated immediately and provided information via their mobile on status.