Implementing Industry 4.0 with AWS to Achieve IoT Integration, Scale, and Observability
By Jyothish Alimilli, AWS Solution Architect – Concept Reply
By Enrico Brambilla, Partner Solutions Architect Manager – AWS
Industry 4.0, also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, refers to the digitization of the manufacturing sector. This transformation is driven by integrating advanced digital technology into manufacturing and industrial processes.
As industries progress towards revolutionizing their manufacturing productivity and operational efficiency, Industry 4.0 is key to reducing downtime and optimizing shop floor workflow.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a wide range of services that can help implement Industry 4.0 processes and tools seamlessly. AWS provides several other features that, once integrated, can establish fault tolerance, making it a highly scalable and affordable architecture for industries.
Concept Reply is part of the Reply Network, an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner with multiple AWS Competencies and service delivery specializations. Concept Reply supports and advises customers on all aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing—from designing and developing customized IoT solutions to implementing and managing them seamlessly.
With the combined expertise of Concept Reply and AWS, this post explores how different AWS services can be utilized to develop a scalable IoT solution that offers high performance and low latency, along with monitoring capabilities that help achieve Industry 4.0 standards.
Larger industries have a host of devices such as Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) that are part of various industrial processes generating data. Machine-level monitoring and data management gets highly challenging at this scale. The search for ways to improve this situation and perform component-level monitoring is still ongoing.
Furthermore, accessing data and utilizing it for predictive analysis in real-time can be complex. On-premises data centers are not a viable solution, as the operational overheard and maintenance costs can be high. Therefore, cloud data alternatives for both warm and cold data must be set up to achieve Industry 4.0.
The benefits and results of implementing an Industry 4.0-based approach for industrial processes is to leverage the computing and storage features of the AWS services. Furthermore, they help take advantage of the following features:
- Increased efficiency, as faults in machines can be identified at the root level; hence, operational backlog decreases.
- Scalability and adaptability as per varying requirements and unforeseen data traffic.
- Freedom of implementing custom rules for monitoring anomalies and dashboard visualization.
- Cost-effective solution due to the low overhead and maintenance costs.
In the next section, you’ll learn how Concept Reply can help you achieve integration, scale, and observability using AWS services, solutions, and best practices.
This solution enables industry shop floor to have visual control over the machines while monitoring their health and status.
AWS IoT Greengrass, when pre-integrated with several AWS services, helps connect devices easily to the cloud. It also makes it easier to extend the edge functionality without writing any code.
As more and more devices are added to this chain, scalability becomes easier to achieve. As part of having a data-driven architecture, storage services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) are embedded within the architecture.
Figure 1 – Industry 4.0 Architecture using AWS.
The factory and on-premises environment is assumed to contain factory machines which communicate over OPC-UA. This solution allows industries to apply the same for both smart IoT devices which already comply with the Open Platform Communications standards as well as legacy machines.
As a preliminary step, we configure an edge gateway which consists of elements responsible for communicating with the internet.
We then set up AWS IoT Greengrass at the edge gateway to help extend AWS Cloud capabilities locally. This service is essentially bringing cloud intelligence to the edge devices and used for features such as anomaly detection or powering autonomous devices.
While there’s an AWS solution implementing machine-to-cloud connectivity framework at the edge level, Concept Reply goes a step further and enhances this architecture. By provisioning scaling and mitigating resources through AWS Lambda functions, customers get improved flexibility and control over their resources.
This solution configures an AWS IoT SiteWise connector on AWS IoT Greengrass, allowing integration and collection of data from machines using OPC-UA. This ingestion of data from industrial equipment, data servers, and historian databases are redirected to AWS IoT SiteWise through the connector.
Communication back to the devices can only be possible with Lambda functions configured on the AWS IoT Greengrass connector, which provides a containerized Lambda runtime environment for user-defined code. The Lambda functions deployed at the AWS IoT Greengrass environment are triggered by AWS service, which will be configured in the next few steps.
Two-way communication is enabled between AWS IoT Core and the AWS IoT Greengrass connector for mitigation of resources or scaling purposes. Communication between AWS and the factory is enabled by the public internet.
AWS IoT SiteWise services let users optimize their asset maintenance, improve manufacturing operations, and configure custom web portals. These web portals allow you to visualize the machines in real-time and monitor the data flow. Custom metrics are created to track industrial performance, and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) handles the authentication service. The web portal would serve as a great tool for industrial and/or operational engineers.
Resource-based policies are an efficient way to apply access-based control on the factory machines. Not only does it establish authentication protocols, but it also simplifies the process of onboarding new machines and provides access to technicians working on these machines.
Amazon S3 is the data storage option which stores incoming data from AWS IoT SiteWise. This is possible thanks to a prebuilt AWS CloudFormation template made available by AWS.
When data is on S3, it can be assigned a proper storage tier based on the usage criteria and retrieval frequency (standard/archive/intelligent tier). Further, it can integrate with Amazon Athena for querying SQL data or performing big data analysis using Amazon EMR.
The data ingested from AWS IoT SiteWise to AWS IoT Core is continuous and helps the user derive the last reported state, even when the device is offline. AWS IoT Core helps connect, manage, and scale an IoT device fleet without any operational overhead. This acts as a one-stop destination for customers as multiple communication paths can be set from AWS IoT Core to other AWS services.
Users get the privilege of setting up IoT rules, which are a way of letting AWS IoT Core understand how the devices must communicate with other services. Based on the MQTT topic streams, different tasks can be supported. In this solution, the IoT rules redirect data to AWS IoT Analytics.
AWS IoT Analytics is a fully managed service for IoT data, allowing users to run standard SQL queries and perform machine learning analysis as well as custom analysis. Concept Reply has also integrated Amazon QuickSight so that data from AWS IoT Analytics can be visualized in a dashboard. Operational or industrial managers can use this dashboard for a high-level understanding of the shop floor trend.
Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR) stores the built Docker image, and a container dataset is created from the AWS IoT SiteWise data store and linked to the Docker container. For Jupiter notebooks, an executable container image of the notebook can be created with a single click, and then the container analysis at the console itself can be visualized.
Concept Reply’s is designed to handle data and develop insights, as well as to monitor assets and assist in the remediation. Without this consideration, Industry 4.0 may become obsolete as faults in machines cannot be identified at the root level. It that case, operational backlogs can increase and impact efficiency.
There is another path in the architecture through which the data flows and helps monitor and flag changes. AWS IoT Core sends the machine data to AWS IoT Events which detects changes in operation and fleet/machine failure, and monitors them.
Data from AWS IoT Events will be integrated with Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS), and configured owners such as managers or supervisors will be notified in case of any state detection. This service can be used to scale the fleet as per demand, and AWS IoT Events comes with the freedom of implementing custom rules along with a pre-built library of actions.
As part of enforcing the asset management system, Concept Reply’s solution tracks changes in assets and acts as required. Therefore, AWS Lambda functions get triggered and communicate back to the devices about actions to be performed.
How Concept Reply Can Help
Concept Reply is serving this solution to customers who are looking to move to a fault-tolerant, auto scaling, and highly available cloud architecture for their industrial processes. A custom-made solution tailored for specific needs results in productivity as well as customer satisfaction.
For customers looking to scale this solution and streamline their processes even further, Concept Reply assists in integrating CI/CD tools for deployment of applications direct at the edge, in addition to implementing 5G communication between devices and cloud for secure and fast communication.
AWS Organizations can be a great inclusion to implement multi-account strategy for organizations with large number of users in different geographical areas. When industries try to scale with a huge number of resources and users, AWS Organizations easily manages billing and resources on a project or task basis. It manages accounts in separate environments by controlling their access and permissions.
Industry 4.0 is a rapidly evolving field, and future trends in conjunction with current technologies will transform the operations to greater heights. For example, the rollout of 5G will make the communication between devices and machines more secure, faster, and reliable.
Companies will also start to implement more machine learning and artificial intelligence services to improve their data insights. This will automate the data analysis process and enable more accurate predictions, lower overhead cost, and maximum effectiveness.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment in the comments section or visit www.reply.com/concept-reply/en/ to learn more. Visit AWS IoT to learn more about these services, or reach out to Concept Reply.
Concept Reply – AWS Partner Spotlight
Concept Reply is part of the Reply Network, an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner. Concept Reply supports and advises customers on all aspects of IoT and Ccloud computing—from designing and developing customized IoT solutions to implementing and managing them seamlessly.