Flintshire-based insulated building panels manufacturer Kingspan Insulated Panels (KIP), in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and AWS partner Storm Reply has brought down the factory audit time from three weeks to just three minutes.
Before this digital transformation, all of Kingspan’s 50 factories across the world had individual data collection, management and control systems. For any kind of audit, manual processing was required because of the lack of visibility or efficiency. After the collaboration, ‘AWS IoT SiteWise’ and ‘AWS IoT Core’ built an ‘IoT in a box’ solution that is replicable, portable and installable to any production facility in the world.
Disparate Data in One Solution
KIP was desperately trying to unify all data from their different factories because managing a diverse set of data was a big challenge for them both from an operational and administrative point of view. Extracting any insightful information from such a large data set was very time-consuming and challenging. Hence, KIP wanted to implement an IoT solution that could generate standardized data from different factory locations. The ultimate goal was to analyze the data promptly and meaningfully.
KIP leveraged the solution provided by “AWS IoT SiteWise” to collect, process, monitor and organize equipment data on-premises. The ‘IoT in a box’ solution started to work in just 3 days after deployment. “We could quickly see that Storm Reply understood the challenges of our business, and that AWS had the Industrial IoT services that we needed,” says John Neary, global manufacturing director at Kingspan.
Without any additional software, KIP was able to monitor equipment remotely, visualize heterogeneous data and integrate the analyzed data with other applications.
Challenges to Address
The power supply and networking infrastructure may not be super stable on different factory floors. This is one of the biggest challenges for any IoT solutions to function properly in factory premises. To solve the problem AWS IoT SiteWise was deployed on ruggedized PCs that are capable of running without power or network for as long as 7 days. The Amazon solution is capable of sending data reports when power and data are restored. Besides, it can produce some basic reports without connectivity.
People used to worry that IoT required reliable and fast wireless networks, but this is not always possible in rough manufacturing environments,” says Neary. “But AWS SiteWise helped us build applications that really do work at scale in an industrial environment.”
Because of the unifying data and uninterrupted report production, the audit data is compiled in almost real-time or becomes available with just a few clicks. Consequently, the audit time has been cut down to 3 minutes which was earlier 3 weeks per factory.
KIP has now implemented better quality control without enhancing the budget for operational costs. Besides, any newly built factory is up and running faster than before. “Thanks to our work with AWS, we now have ‘IoT in a box’ to send alongside the physical production line,” says Neary. “That means new factories can be up and running and online faster than ever before.”