Incredible stories of Indian Manufacturing

Industrial IoT for Brownfields

Today, Industry 4.0 is hardly a trend; it is more or less a fact. This industrial revolution is mainly characterized by increasing digitization and interconnection of machines, people, plants and facilities. It is not only limited to manufacturing and production but also focuses on entire business model. It has opened up many opportunities in terms of efficiency, scalability, timesaving, productivity, and profitability. With available latest technologies and connected manufacturing systems, collection and evaluation of technical and operation data looks easy for Greenfield projects. However, the reality is different. In India, many operating factories are decade old and to shut these running facilities to develop advanced manufacturing facilities is impossible, complicated and a costly affair. Knowing this fact, enterprises have started retrofitting legacy equipment to support new Industrial IoT solutions. Even though the industry is seeing immense potential through smart manufacturing, brownfield facilities are facing some challenges such as interoperability between machines, data security and privacy.  

Challenges in Retrofitting Brownfields

The modern manufacturing facilities with smart and advanced technologies are already reaping benefits of smart manufacturing processes. On the other hand, adoption of Industry 4.0 is conceptually difficult in brownfield plants owing to legacy systems. In India, many factories have decade old infrastructure and upgradation of existing equipment, machines, devices, and sensors would incur high costs, which acts as a major barrier for technology adoptions. One of the challenge associated with these brownfield factories is collecting data and moving it to upper layers and IT. Even today, many manufacturers and industrial operators collects data manually and enter it into a spreadsheet. This approach is prone to human error and there is a possibility of data manipulation. Manual data collection does not give real-time information and hence can restrict or slow down the ability to find the root cause of downtime and take corrective actions. This result in unsatisfactory performance drastically lowering RoI. To overcome these challenges, Indian manufacturing needs continued push towards enhanced automation without modifying the existing setup. Although this may sound abstract, its impact is tangible and fundamentally changes business models in many organizations.


The smartphone-inspired design and functionality of the user interface are make it intuitive to use without requiring any specialist knowledge.

Opportunities within Smart Manufacturing

The new era of ‘smart manufacturing’ is helping manufacturers to improve productivity, quality, achieve mass customization without sacrificing quality, cost and speed. This is helping enterprises to innovate products and services reducing time to market and rapidly increasing RoI. Industrial IoT looks at enabling standalone devices, machines, plants to communicate with each other and work together as a whole. Industrial IoT will generate and process enormous volumes of data. By systematically analyzing and networking this large volume of data, manufacturers can improve production efficiency and productivity. The real time data of machine health and availability can be used to create proactive maintenance schedules and decrease downtime and substantially increases availability of the machine. Real-time data has numerous advantages for enterprises in terms of boosting revenue, reducing operational costs and improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Digitalization has opened up the possibilities of remote monitoring and diagnostics of the machine. Connecting machinery to the Internet in a secure manner enables machine builders to remotely monitor the condition and performance of their machinery from anywhere in the world. This solution makes it easy to quickly respond to unforeseen problems and enhancing after-sales service by reducing downtime and avoiding costly travel. Industrial IoT has the potential to revolutionize the way things are manufactured. It enables manufacturers to effectively meet growing consumer demands. The revolution in adaptive manufacturing is extending the economy of mass production down to batches of one efficiently with the higher margins on personalized products.

Leveraging Brownfields Efficiently

Many enterprises are investing huge capex in establishing new connected facilities in order to stay secure in the growing competitive market. Setting up Greenfield facilities from scratch not only includes a large startup cost but also involves significant time to build the business and to acquire approvals from governing authorities. Whereas, with minimum capital investment and small modification, brownfields facilities too can leverage smart manufacturing benefits within no time. Orange Box from B&R was developed with this in mind to provide Greenfield installation benefits to brownfield installation in a cost effective method.

Orange Box enables users to access energy and process data from previously isolated machines and lines, making them Industrial IoT ready with minimal effort. An Orange Box can substantially reduce downtime and boost availability of existing machines and lines, which makes operations more productive and profitable. Orange Box consists of a controller and preconfigured software blocks. The controller is able to collect operating data from any machine via its I/O channels or a fieldbus connection. With this data, the software modules generate and display OEE ratings and other KPIs, and can share the information with higher-level IT systems using open source OPC UA communication. Installing the Orange Box requires no changes to existing hardware or software in the factories. Equipment owners can achieve a substantial boost in productivity with a remarkably small investment in time and cost. It is as simple and intuitive to operate as a smartphone. Orange Box is also equipped with advanced energy function, which can evaluate energy data collected from the machine. Energy consumption is measured directly on the machine and viewed on an industrial HMI screen. The software is also able to break down energy consumption by device and displays it in a clear graphical overview. At a glance, operators are able to get an overview of any machine or entire factory power consumption.


The Orange Box data acquisition and analysis system from B&R allows users to easily link data points via a visual editor. This gives them quick access to a structured overview of the causes of unplanned stoppages

B&R: An ideal partner for a successful Industrial IoT implementation

To remain competitive in the era of industrial IoT, digital transformation is the need of the hour. B&R offers complete hardware and software solutions, comprehensive service and expertise in automation and digitalization of machinery and equipments. With cutting-edge technology together with open source communication standards such as OPC UA, Ethernet POWERLINK and openSAFETY as well as the powerful Automation Studio software development environment, B&R is the right partner for implementing industrial IoT solutions in both new and legacy equipment. With solutions for machine to factory automation, B&R serves as a perfect partner to every industry for sustainability, flexibility, higher productivity and profitability.

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    Saravjit singh

    In India, awareness level of Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing is alarmingly low. It's all about rigirous digitisation across the value chain; vertically and horizontally. Implementing Industry 4.0 is not going to be easy. At the same time, unless we shift to Industry 4.0 we will not be able to compete globally in the 2020s. On the other hand, those who are able to successfully adapt Industry 4.0 the rewards are tremendous. .

  • comment

    Good intro to IoT. Addressing practical difficulties. Motivated to take it further. .

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