In this Q&A, Peter Haan, Siemens AG, global head of vertical market management tire Q&A discusses the ongoing shift to the use of remote technologies for the commissioning, operation and monitoring of manufacturing machinery and systems in the tire industry:
ERJ: How would you describe the level of adoption of remote machine-monitoring capabilities in the tire industry today?
PH: The tire industry has made some important steps, but not yet incorporated the full potential of remote machine-monitoring tools.
As of today, remote machine monitoring is mainly applied for large and expensive machines with drives like mixers, with the benefit of a better availability of the production while avoiding downtimes and production losses.
Especially Siemens’ Simatic controllers can be connected via Ethernet to the programming and host system and they don’t act any differently whether they are being connected directly or remotely.
ERJ: How has Covid affected adoption of ‘remote’ technologies and how do you expect uptake to develop over the next 2-3 years?
PH: The current situation creates major challenges for tire and rubber-product manufacturing industries worldwide – and shows that digitised and highly automated production is more important than ever when it comes to gaining a competitive edge.
This is the only way that companies can react to current and future challenges with the required degree of flexibility.
ERJ: What are the main reasons for adoption and are you seeing now changes in customer requirements?
PH: These challenging times, including travel restrictions and need for cost efficiency, may have a big impact on the usage of secure and reliable remote machine-monitoring. Machine construction and production processes are getting more complex and therefore, specialists are needed.
Above that, a lot of companies are operating more than one production facility. Tire producers would like to get more transparency within the production, e.g. where improvement would be possible.
A key aspect is also to shorten downtimes with detailed diagnostics. The advantage of remote services is fast and worldwide availability of expert know-how. This is also a decisive factor in tire industry and therefore, digitalisation is now a priority of nearly all tire producers.
Siemens’ remote infrastructure is based on proven IT security concepts for industry.
ERJ: Are there still particular barriers holding back the rubber industry from wider adoption of remote technologies?
PH: Security is the most significant challenge when connecting operational technologies to IT networks. IT cybersecurity does not automatically cover all of OT cybersecurity needs. Technology solutions need to align with industry standards for communication networks and automation systems for manufacturers.
With “Defense in Depth” as a comprehensive protection strategy, Siemens provides answers in the form of defense throughout all levels – from the operational to the field level and from access control to copy protection – based on the Industrial Security Standard IEC 62443.
Here, Siemens can support with hard- and software products and solutions for secured Remote Access e.g. with the portfolio of “Sinema Remote Connect”- the management platform for remote networks and Scalance M industrial routers.
These products facilitate remote access to machines and plants around the world, for convenient and secure maintenance.
Sinema Remote Connect ensures the secured and comfortable administration of tunnel connections (VPN) between the service center, the service engineers and the installed equipment, while direct access to the corporate network, in which the equipment or machine is integrated, is initially prevented.
MindSphere, the cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens, employs a multilayer concept for security. All communications between different connectivity layers within MindSphere and the system platform are encrypted to ensure know-how protection.
ERJ: Finally, please identify a recent development at Siemens, which you believe will significantly increase the value of remote monitoring for tire and rubber product manufacturers.
PH: Engineering, commissioning and maintenance of automation systems can be optimally supported and carried out via remote access by using modern, powerful communication media.
With Siemens’ offering of platform-based remote services, customers can access the centrally available know-how of the product manufacturer at any time worldwide. The remote Services are based on the "common Remote Service Platform" (cRSP) from Siemens, a secure, high-performance and highly available remote platform.
With the “Live remote monitoring system for Factory Acceptance Tests”, customers can save time, money and resources. The remote observation provides transparency and reliability through the manufacturing and testing processes.
ERJ: Thank you