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Internet of things, Machine-2-Machine Communication and cyber-physical systems: How does SAP support “Industrie 4.0” in the Chemical Industry

Everything gets smarter and it gets connected – that was my definition of Industry 4.0 and what does Internet of things and machine-2-machine communication means for the Chemical Industry outlined in a prior blog –

But how can SAP help to make happen what is called by some people the 4th industrial revolution and what definitely help companies to become more adaptive and competitive? In order to answer this question it makes sense first to look at the building blocks SAP provides and combining them to Uses cases then:

SAP RWIP: This stands for SAP Real World Integration platform. It is not yet a commercial product but proof of concept of our research department. The concept is to connect business systems to the objects of the real world through a highly robust, flexible, and scalable architecture to enable the development of real-world integration applications across all industries. In fact technical devices in plants are equipped with smart cards so that they can communicate and data is sent through SAP´s Plant Connectivity application into MII and can be used in SAP HANA for analysis of big data

SAP HANA: This must not missed of course nowadays but there are good reasons for it. HANA is an in-memory data base which allows handling of high amounts of data. Highest amounts of data you can think about in chemicals origin from the shop floor and can be enriched with business information and become accessible for analytics through HANA. But HANA is more than that. It is a business application platform comprising among others a Business and Processing Engine for e.g. Predictive Analytics which is another important building block. SAP HANA is used by Rolta One View. Rolta is an SAP partner that provides a HANA Data Model that brings data from multiple sources into one industry standard model so that more than 250 KPIs describing the performance of technical assets can be calculated.

Social Media Networks that extend business processes like sales and R&D by collaboration capabilities like SAP Streamworks, Jam and the SAP Product Stewardship Network

Mobility:  Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) and Sybase Afaria are SAP´s Mobile Infrastructure which allows to connect  Mobile devices with SAP systems to provide Mobile applications and use SAP systems through mobile devices.  Afaria provides mobile device management and security in this context.  Technical devices equipped with smart cards can be seen as Mobile devices as well in the context of machine-2-Machine communication and Internet of things.

Object Event Repository (OER): It is an assembly of SAP SCM Event Management, SAP PI and SAP´s Auto ID Infrastructure. With it physical shipments can be tagged with unique identifiers using RFID tags and their movement along the supply chain can be monitored using RFID readers. Supply Chain Events can be defined in order to control the movement and recognize unwanted events that need to be responded.

Probably this listing of building blocks is not complete but here are some ideas what you can do with it:

Predictive Maintenance: This is more than just condition based maintenance. You do not watch certain sensor data only taking action once critical limits have been reached. Predictive maintenance gathers many data in an analytical model in order to predict equipment failure taking preventive action before that happens.

High Performing Plant: Based on analysis of shop floor data material and energy consumption is reduced and Equipment Effectiveness can be improved.

Adaptive Supply Chains through Tracking & Tracing: Gain fully transparency on your supply chain in order to reduce inventory levels and/or increase supply chain responsiveness, respond timely to any disruptions in the supply chain, run product recalls efficiently and prohibit product counterfeiting.

Increase Safety through provisioning all people impacted with all safety information they need on Mobile devices like working instructions, Log-Outs / Work Permits, timely communication of work orders and Incidents, location of Hazards

Customer Centric Products: Co-Innovation and product information disclosure through collaboration platforms and on Mobile devices. Examples: Discussion of customer specifications as part of proposal process in response to customer inquiry, display of product data sheets and MSDS on Mobile devices, exchange of product compliance information like material data sheets, certificates, MSDS, ESComXML files (electronic exchange of REACH Exposure scenarios) on SAP Product Stewardship Network.

What use cases do you see? What SAP components did I miss that can support here? I am looking forward to your feedback.

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