In the midst of a technological landscape that is always changing, with an ever-growing dictionary of terms and trends, one technology that has been picking up steam is edge computing. As a technology that is changing the entire face of data processing, edge computing plays a paramount part in enabling the smart factory and assisting with taking the entire manufacturing process to an unprecedented level.
What is Edge Computing?
According to Gartner, edge computing is comprised of “solutions that facilitate data processing at or near the source of data generation.” In other words, edge computing means that data is processed where it is actually being created, near the “edge” of the network and individual sources of data, as opposed to a centralized data center.
When it comes to IoT, sources of data generation are found in things with embedded devices or sensors, and edge computing enables the data to be processed by the devices themselves. Since edge computing increases efficiency for data processing and allows large amounts of data to be processed close to the source, the resulting decrease in internet bandwidth usage lends itself to reducing costs, ensuring applications can be used in remote locations, and improving security—as critical data is now able to be processed without being placed in a public cloud. With the edge computing market size projected to reach $3.24 billion USD by 2025, it’s a technology that is becoming more widespread and making monumental changes throughout industries everywhere, especially manufacturing.
Benefits of Edge Computing in Manufacturing
With 67% of manufacturing plants working towards becoming “smart factories,” this means there will be an increase in the number of manufacturers searching for the most effective technology solutions to implement in their new smart operations—and one of these will most likely be edge computing. In terms of the manufacturing scenario, the “edge” is viewed as the computing infrastructure that lives closest to the sources of data, for example, in equipment like robotic arms and machinery that conducts heavy lifting. With these parts situated furthest from the core computing infrastructure, which is in the cloud, they are considered to be located at the “edge.”
This type of computing can:
Provide real-time insights for fast decision making
Turn large, machine-generated data sheets into insightful, actionable data by using resources connected to a network, such as temperature sensors, alarms or motor drives—allowing big data analytics to occur at the data source
Monitor for predictive maintenance needs and part replacement before a machine fails, ensuring minimal loss of productivity and optimizing processes
Allow remote sites, where cloud connectivity is unavailable or unreliable, to send data
Pre-process sensitive data locally, in areas where compliance and data residency are critical
Enable industrial equipment to make autonomous decisions without human intervention, through sensor data which can monitor machinery conditions, accelerating or slowing operations to optimize usage
Reduce startup time and bandwidth costs for new manufacturing operations, since data can be gathered and analyzed locally without a giant, centralized data center
Increase the accuracy of asset management as well as visibility into factory operations, yielding the opportunity for more process improvements
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In manufacturing, there are two main areas where edge computing can be beneficial, commonly referred to as the “near edge” and “far edge.” The near edge only affects the manufacturers and internal supply chain processes, focusing on automating processes and performing analytics within the plant. The far edge extends beyond the plant floor, referring to the connection between the manufacturer and its business partners or consumers. An example of this would be a heavy-duty equipment supplier selling a product enabled by edge computing to a construction company. With the far-edge capabilities, the manufacturer will be able to identify when the machine will need maintenance and what parts will need replacing before the machine fails.
Edge computing might be the technology you need to push your smart factory to the next level, with improved productivity and product uptime through the use of predictive capabilities and process optimization. Dynamic Computer Corporation provides the services you need to keep your data safe and optimized and your smart factory’s IoT devices working properly. For data and smart factory solutions you can depend on, contact Dynamic. Call 866-399-1084 or email us at email@example.com.
Moiz Bhinderwala leads the technical services and logistics teams at Dynamic. With more than 10 years of experience in the IT industry, Moiz has deep knowledge of the complex technological landscape, working closely with clients to understand their IT challenges and help design custom technical solutions to meet their business goals.