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The AWS Connected Factory Solution: The Fast Lane to Industry 4.0

Lately, everybody’s been talking about Industry 4.0. This revolution in manufacturing technology allows machines to automate many functions such as adjusting their performance, predicting their maintenance needs, and even communicating across systems. It’s no longer just imagining factories that can run themselves, it’s Industry 4.0 that is making it possible.

What is Industry 4.0?

Also known as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 refers to industrial process automation, real-time data availability, and technological interconnectivity across all front- and back-office functions in manufacturing. Industry 4.0 represents a fundamental shift in industrial practices. It involves the integration of advanced technologies like cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). These technologies work together to make production processes more automated, data-driven, and interconnected.

The right cloud strategy can make Industry 4.0 adoption possible. AWS provides a wide range of cloud services that support data collection, storage, analysis, and visualization. This allows a manufacturer to gain operational insights in real time, optimize processes, and make data-driven decisions. AWS’s scalability and flexibility enable businesses to adapt their technology infrastructures as their Industry 4.0 initiatives evolve, setting the foundation for smarter, future-focused operations.

Bringing data together in the cloud

On the average manufacturing floor, dozens if not hundreds of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) use a diverse array of communication protocols, making it extremely difficult to “talk” to all of them—and access their data for predictive analytics—from one central place. Manufacturers are often challenged to build out connectivity between their IT applications and these operational technology (OT) systems. If they’re relying on multiple integration points, as is common, it’s all but impossible to scale solutions, even across a single plant (let alone multiple facilities).

When industrial systems such as PLCs, distributed control systems (DCSs), switches, and nodes communicate directly with the cloud, many of these problems can be solved. When process data securely travels right to the cloud, where it is ingested and stored, manufacturers can achieve greater efficiency and productivity while reducing operating costs.

This fusion of industrial systems and cloud services brings many benefits for manufacturers. When process data is stored in the cloud, it’s possible to take advantage of the many public cloud services that support querying, analyzing, and reporting on that data. The cloud gives manufacturers immediate access to a plethora of cloud-native data engineering and analysis tools, along with nearly infinite computing power, with no need to procure, configure, or manage on-premises resources.

By leveraging encrypted communication protocols that meet security and governance best practices, cloud customers can ensure they’re protecting their data at rest and while it’s in transit.

Introducing the AWS Connected Factory Solution

The AWS Solutions Library is a collection of vetted solutions, along with architectural guidance, designed to help organizations rapidly overcome business challenges. These solutions include purpose-built services, ready-to-deploy software packages, and customizable architectures, along with instructions, to solve a range of industry and technology use cases.

The AWS Connected Factory Solution helps manufacturers get proof-of-value (PoV) deployments and production solutions up and running in their plants as quickly as possible. Deploying this solution removes the need for significant investment in data collection. Customers receive a deployment kit that makes it easy to roll out the solution across their plants. They’re able to organize and store frequently-accessed (hot) industrial data in an operational data store on AWS, and keep their warm and cold data in an industrial data lake there.

Because data collection and storage are streamlined, manufacturers can realize business value from their deployment almost immediately. This makes it possible to accelerate an organization’s Industry 4.0 journey to rapidly realize use cases like predictive maintenance, quality control, and remote asset management.

Smooth your path to Industry 4.0

Adoption of the AWS Connected Factory Solution typically takes place over the course of a multi-phase implementation process.

This begins with an assessment. Here at Netrix Global, we start by looking at all the devices currently in use within a manufacturing facility. Some will be identified as ready to use, while others will require changes before they can be integrated with the Connected Factory Solution.

Next, we assess your local network infrastructure to determine how well it can interconnect with cloud services, and whether improvements are needed.

During the implementation phase, we configure all solution components and connect them to the cloud. This typically includes an industrial gateway that can securely link your existing devices to cloud services. We then work to optimize your data transfer and extract, transform, load (ETF) processes to maximize the solution’s efficiency in production. Finally, we test all components, including network connectivity, to ensure they are working as they should be.

Over the long term, we help our customers build and adhere to data governance and retention policies that keep them compliant with relevant regulations and mitigate cyber risk. We also continuously optimize data storage and warehousing strategies to maximize availability while controlling costs.

Lean on partner expertise

Because we are experts in AWS cloud solutions, we have broad and deep experience applying Industry 4.0 principals in the oil & gas and biopharmaceutical industries, as well as other areas of manufacturing. We help companies migrate to and modernize their operations in the cloud.

This gives them:

  • real-time insights
  • smarter machines,
  • scalability and flexibility

Want to learn more about how you can transform your production processes into the factory of the future? Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us today.


Michael Cass

Michael Cass is Director, Managed Services Enablement at Netrix Global with over two decades on the job in various roles supporting our Outsourced IT and Managed Service products.