TechHub: Anheuser-Busch steps up after hurricane, Manufacturing & Digital Transformation and WEFTEC

In times of national disaster, Anheuser-Busch steps up

Anheuser-Busch paused beer production this week to send 155,000 cans of drinking water to those affected by Hurricane Harvey in Louisiana and Texas.

The first shipment arrived at the American Red Cross in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Monday, with two more shipments sent to Arlington, Texas, according to USA Today.

The Georgia brewery regularly stops beer brewing to fill cans with drinking water throughout the year to assure the water is ready should a local community need it.

This is a part of the Anheuser-Busch emergency drinking water program, which partners with the Red Cross to identify communities in crisis and supply them with safe, clean, canned drinking water following disasters.

“Putting our production and logistics strengths to work by providing safe, clean drinking water is the best way we can help in these situations,” said Bill Bradley, the company’s vice president of community affairs.

Providing emergency drinking water to people since 1988, over 76 million cans have been shipped nationwide. The last wave of support was last year, in which cans were shipped to those affected by Hurricane Matthew, floods in Louisiana and wildfires in California.

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3 Keys to manufacturing digital transformation

Digital transformation must have a purpose: to increase efficiency, quality and cost savings. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.

Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the increase in volatile customer demand, according to Industry Week.

Processes and supply chains must be adaptable enough to turn on a dime. This doesn’t happen if everything is done manually, in Excel spreadsheets, or in systems that don’t talk to each other.

The idea of capturing data, automating manual processes and enabling information sharing becomes imperative.

Controlling the shop floor

Manufacturing starts at the shop floor. Manufacturers must have shop floor control, including access to production information, inventory, quality data and the ability to quickly adjust to machine status across the enterprise.

Connecting the business

The shop floor must connect to the rest of the enterprise to make data accessible and promote rapid, accurate decision-making. Cloud manufacturing ERP not only automates paper-based, manual processes, but also consolidates information into a single set of accurate data.

Unlocking People Potential

Gerdau plant in India.

Once the cloud computing infrastructure is in place, people can pivot to work as business analysts. Production workers can see everything in the “manufacturing moment” over any device, rather than hunting down and piecing together information.

Managers can view analytics and dashboards that relate to their role from anywhere, over any device, to stay on stop of business.

Steel innovator Gerdau sought out the goal to reduce maintenance costs by 20%, undergoing a digital transformation as a result.

With a company of more than 35,000 people across 13 countries, accomplishing the reduction was critical to its profitability.

By jumping into the digital realm of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT):

    • An initial investment of $1.5 million yielded annual savings of $4.5 million
    • 93 hours per month were saved in scrap classification
    • Savings of more than 130 hours in unplanned downtime
    • Truck driver productivity had gains of more than 100% with a resulting 5% drop in freight costs
    • Raw material inventory reduced from 3 days to 7 minutes

Download the Steel Case Study

WEFTEC: The world’s largest annual water quality conference & exhibition

Recognized as the largest annual water quality exhibition of its kind, WEFTEC offers water quality professionals from around the world quality education and training.

Showcasing the most cutting-edge technologies in the field, it serves as a forum for domestic and international business opportunities and promotes industry networking.

A smart sensor fountain demo will be at WEFTEC, a co-innovation product by GrayMatter and DC Water.

Experts in the water quality field offer a wide range of technical sessions and workshops, creating a diverse list of water and wastewater issues and solutions including:

  • Collective Systems
  • Energy Conservation and Management
  • Membrane Technologies
  • Plant Operations and Treatment
  • Regulations
  • Research
  • Residuals and Biosolids
  • Stormwater
  • Utility Management
  • Water Reuse/Recycling
  • Water Quality & Watershed Management

GrayMatter and DC Water have created a drinking fountain that monitors water quality and flow in real time – giving users more confidence in the water they are drinking and saving money spent on maintenance and testing.

Find GrayMatter at booth #6549 to learn about the co-innovative partnership and see a live demo of the fountain.

Read more.

TechHub: Digital Transformation in Steel, the Industrial Technology Future & Pittsburgh Tech 50

Gerdau Saves Millions Annually, Accelerates Their Digital Transformation

$4.5 million in annual savings with a complete ROI in only 8 months.

Gerdau has enjoyed a long reputation as a process innovator in the steel industry for more than a century.

For a company with more than 35,000 people across 13 countries, the goal of a 20% reduction in maintenance cost was significant. It would not be easy to accomplish, but accomplishing the reduction was critical to the company’s profitability.

When an asset fails, the company loses an average of $12 thousand per hour in downtime.

The transformation Gerdau needed would take them into uncharted territory for many in the steel industry: the digital realm of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Dreaming big pays off

Download the case study to view the roadmap for digital transformation in the steel industry:

Download the Case Study

The Industrial Technology Future

Open software platforms are an increasingly popular trend within the industrial technology sector that is highlighting the important relationship between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT).

For GE Digital, Predix is the nexus where app engines, digital twins, machine learning and asset performance management meet, said AutomationWorld after a meeting at GE Digital headquarters in San Ramon, Calif.

“Platforms are where tech is going,” said Gytis Barzdukas, head of product management for Predix at GE Digital. “Like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet have their platforms in the consumer space, we want to do the same thing in industrial space. That’s why Predix is an open platform with regulated participation. Predix has been developed as a common data layer into which third-party supplier products can plug into.”

Although the focus in the past on Predix has focused on its cloud-based operations, but Barzdukas was quick to point that Predix can run operate at the edge, in the cloud or in hybrid applications.

cloud platform

A diagram of the GE intelligent platform Predix. Image: AutomationWorld

Addressing cybersecurity concerns around the transmission and storage of such data in the cloud, Barzdukas said Predix currently uses public key encryption and is moving toward inclusion of private key capabilities for users who want it. Predix’s public key encryption security operates in addition to the security provided by Amazon Web Services on which Predix’s cloud functions run. Barzdukas added that Predix will also soon be running on Microsoft Azure.

Pittsburgh Tech 50

The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Tech 50 finalists were announced, recognizing the most successful and innovative companies in the Pittsburgh area.

Companies range from health IT, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer products, consulting services and more, and are broken up into the following categories:

  • CEO of the Year
  • Solution Provider of the Year, Consulting and IT Services
  • Culture Leader of the Year
  • Innovator of the Year, Consumer Products
  • Solution Provider of the Year, Innovative Technology

GrayMatter is a finalist for Solution Provider of the Year, Innovative Technology, with CEO Jim Gillespie a finalist for CEO of the Year.

The award ceremony will be Thursday, October 12 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel.

TechHub: Digital Disruption, IoT Expanding Digital Footprints and More

Digital Disruption Transcending Industry Borders

With the first quarter of 2017 coming to a close, it’s clear that the exponential growth within the technology industry is not slowing down.

25,000 new information-related jobs were created in February this year alone, according to Forbes.

As this tech push continues, we’re seeing more and more of the Digital Twin emerge as physical and digital worlds blend together.

The Digital Twin is the computerized companion of physical assets, using data sensors to show real-time data analytics.

The adoption of this trend is becoming increasingly popular as companies realize the countless benefits that the Industrial Internet of Things provides, and Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence become mainstream.

The biggest mistake companies are making right now is assuming these technologies won’t influence their business or impact their industry.

Industry 4.0 is real, and it’s here.

Smart technology is becoming integrated into every facet of life, resulting in customers having the ability to buy anything, anytime, anywhere.

“The convergence of cloud, mobile, social and data have ushered in a new wave of business models that will present unique challenges for various industries,” said Bob Weiler in Forbes.

With this new technology comes new challenges and questions emerging for industry leaders.

To stay ahead of the competition— and win— organizations will need partners who can provide a new level of knowledge and experience within the industry, according to Forbes.

Rethinking business models within critical industry operations is necessary to maximize performance.

The pace of change is accelerating fast. Organizations need to jump on board and embrace emerging digital technologies.

To learn the first three questions to ask in your digital transformation, join our webinar on Thursday, April 6, at 2:30 PM EST: Transform Your Operation: Vision Before Action.

Gray Matter Director of Professional Services John Benitz will demystify the beginning of the digital journey for you using his expertise on various transformations like the GE Brilliant Manufacturing process.

Reserve My Spot

Digital Transformation: Solving Big Manufacturing Problems

The top problems manufacturers are struggling with are visibility into operations, sharing information across one or multiple plants and allowing the right people to access the necessary data.

The solution? Digital transformation of plant operations.

“Digitizing production processes is more about running an efficient business than it is about jumping onto the next technology bandwagon,” said Industry Week.

Automating processes and storing big data on the cloud allows for a single connected platform with production visibility. It allows for a single-set of accurate data and increases the control plant operators need, according to Industry Week.

Instead of having information documented on manual paper processes like Excel spreadsheets, it can be accessed in real-time across one or multiple plants.

Access to product information, inventory, quality data and more increases the productivity and decreases downtime throughout the plant.

Automating the plant is also automating the communication, in turn freeing up people and resources. Instead of having to track down the necessary information and data, workers have instant access to it at a moment’s notice.

Going paperless and automating processes is a critical step within the industry, and lays the groundwork for future innovations.

Gray Matter has a new solution to help transform manual data entry processes into digital insights for manufacturers, utilities and energy companies.

Mobility@Work digitizes information that would have been buried in stacks of paper and puts data in a format that can be used for big picture analysis.

Hauling manifests, inspections, scheduling, incidents, inventory and time sheets are all transformed from piles on someone’s desk to an easy to read digital presentation.

“There are a lot of correlations you can make if you have the data working for you instead of in a stack of paper.” – Kemell Kassim, Gray Matter VP

Download the free white paper to learn how Gray Matter solved the manual data entry problem and helped save a leading energy company nearly $1 million in just the first year.

Download Here

IoT Devices Expanding Digital Footprints & Vulnerabilities

Security Week defines IoT devices as convenient.

They allow us to have access to data remotely and process it faster than ever.

However, with the convenience comes risk, and most people aren’t locking down their systems like they should be.

There are more avenues now than ever for cybercriminals to breach systems as more devices are connected and the digital footprint of plants are expanded.

The reality of IoT hacks is eminent. Recent research highlights how PLC controllers can be hacked and potentially taint water supply, according to Security Week. Not enough devices are accounted for, and too much personal and business data is intermingled.

The top recommendations to fix this are to get a clear policy in place, designate accountability and segment your network.

By having clear rules, placing risk and responsibility on people or teams and designating sections of your network help block the threat of cybercriminals. It makes finding an easy path into the network nonexistent.

IoT devices have a lot to offer in the world of operational technology and plant management, the risk just needs to be mitigated and vulnerabilities need to be tracked.

Gray Matter offers a vulnerability assessment for OT networks that creates a security baseline for each asset with an IP address.

In a recent interview with ARC Advisory Group, Gray Matter VP Kemell Kassim detailed recent cyber initiatives and ROI case studies.

Download the Q&A Here

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