Adapt or Fall Behind: Scalable Solutions Reshaping Manufacturing

From code reusability to decentralized control systems, scalable solutions are not just reshaping manufacturing automation; they're revolutionizing it. Join us as we delve into the technologies and insights shaping the future of industrial automation.

Explore Our Industrial Automation Demo

all devices

World-leading industrial manufacturers are taking advantage of digitalization and IoT technology to increase their efficiency and achieve zero-defect production. By leveraging sensors, cloud connectivity, and machine-to-machine communication, factories can increase their level of automation, monitor processes in real time, and anticipate/optimize maintenance. Scalability helps meet increasing levels of demand while reinforcing performance and quality.
From expediting time-to-market and enhancing user experiences to streamlining the product development lifecycle, navigating this new landscape requires industry leaders and innovators to lead the charge. Despite resistance, holding onto outdated practices is no longer viable; adaptability is essential for survival.
In this exploration, we delve into the transformative capabilities of various scalable solutions in industrial automation. With their ability to adapt and grow, these solutions are reshaping the landscape, offering new possibilities, and driving efficiency, standardization, and collaboration. 


How to Scale for Seamless Interconnectivity

Today's industrial solutions extend far beyond machinery or sensors; they encompass a networked ecosystem where capabilities are interconnected and designed for extensive reuse—from embedded devices to desktop applications. It includes not only functionality but also uniform user experiences, interfaces, and seamless UX across all devices, achieved with minimal implementation time. 

Scalability demands the integration of a unified framework across a diverse array of digital devices, facilitating code reusability and software flexibility with the fewest number of modifications. It is essential for the efficient deployment and management of industrial IoT solutions. 

Maurice Kalinowski, Director of Product Management at Qt Group, underlines that scalability embodies future readiness. “Beyond immediate deployment, considerations span the protection and utilization of intellectual property over the coming years, anticipating hardware iterations and evolving operating systems.” 

Additionally, the same codebase should ideally allow the handling of multiple devices, products, models, and brands. All these factors weigh heavily in the selection of technology stacks, guiding choices toward frameworks that ensure adaptability and longevity. 

Webinar: Build the future of Industrial Automation | April 30

Explore all aspects of the high-impact industrial automation demo developed by a team of experts.

Overcoming the Challenges of Scalability with Qt

Overcoming the Challenges of Scalability

The days of monolithic systems requiring three days of downtime and five engineers to complete the upgrade are behind us. Modern systems have small and robust components that can be implemented and delivered in small batches, facilitating upgrades that react to market demands or technological advancements.
Ilkka Tengvall, a Red Hat solutions architect, explains that because deliverables in an industrial setting differ from typical internet-connected environments, automation of the entire upgrade process is vital, necessitating modularization and standardization. 

“At Red Hat, we refer to this as the ‘Adidas Network,’ where individuals who lack IT knowledge must physically walk to insert a USB stick that automatically begins the update. The stick’s authenticity and integrity must be trustworthy, and the system must be thoroughly tested and certified,” he adds. Systems can scale up and down not only in response to failure but also when an unexpected workflow needs handling quickly. 

Tengvall says, “A manufacturer can scale a specific feature by splitting it into modular pieces; you can take one piece and start replicating it at any factory. It can also be about the aftermarket delivery of new features to remote sites or a licensed feature that a customer has paid for. If you need to change something under the hood, you can do it. The world is no longer a fixed entity.” 

How Can Collaboration Redefine Efficiency_ (1)

How Can Collaboration Redefine Efficiency?

As industrial automation evolves, so too does the collaborative landscape.
Dieter Droese, Senior Director Sales, Key Accounts, EMEA at Qt Group, says the days of solutions tailored solely for developers are gone. Today, the approach encompasses architects, designers, developers, and testers working in tandem, which also saves money at a time when manufacturers are facing cash flow challenges. 

“The financial challenges mean having a robust EBIT by accelerating revenue generation, which requires faster time-to-market and shrinking production costs. However, it would be best if IT investment is prioritized over human resources, replacing manual tasks with technology,” he says. 

For any business considering industrial automation, Droese advises starting small with any digitization strategy. He warns that it will entail courage and the necessary budget, energy, and commitment. 

“With the right support system in place and the right people overseeing the initiative, you will not only meet industry demands but exceed them, driving forward the future of industrial automation with confidence and purpose.” 

Driving Standardization in the Tech Landscape (1)

Driving Standardization in the Tech Landscape

The temptation to be self-reliant and seek unique ‘snowflake’ solutions from open-source online resources can lead to non-standardized outcomes that make collaboration difficult. 

Red Hat’s Tengvall notes, “Consistency is key; products must look identical and follow uniform processes for deployment, upgrades, customer support, continuous operation, and reliability. It involves identifying a single, standardized method applicable across all processes, streamlining consumption, and enhancing efficiency.” 

Central to this is the use (and reuse) of code. “Everything delivered, including infrastructure and automation, must be defined and controlled through code. It ensures standardized solutions with extended lifecycles, particularly crucial in industrial settings where longevity is a primary consideration.” 

While standardization can alleviate the complexities associated with managing large-scale operations, cross-platform compatibility is vital in ensuring the seamless integration of diverse components. 

Qt Group’s Kalinowski explains, “Hardware integration, like sensors, facilitates machine collaboration, while software standards such as MQTT and OPC UA enable smooth communication. Empowering customers to efficiently build their platforms with a one-stop service providing software lifecycle management solutions is a priority for us at Qt.” 

How is Connectivity Being Embraced

How is Connectivity Being Embraced?

Building upon the foundation of standardization, the seamless integration of connectivity emerges as a pivotal driver for scaling up industrial automation solutions that encompass cloud computing, sensors, and M2M communication protocols. 
Roy Funck, Senior Vice President of Technology at ABB's Marine and Ports Division, says manufacturers can leverage scalability in interconnectivity for enhanced productivity within industrial and marine automation. 

Using big cruise vessels as an example, he says, “While the major equipment onboard, like propulsion solutions, will remain the same for the next 30-40 years, other equipment, such as software-based bridge operations, will be continually analyzed. For example, a retrofit can update the user interface based on the captain’s behavior to make it safer or streamline how to present information.” 

Scalability drives the development of more efficient solutions, enhancing quality and usability while enabling controlled enhancements throughout the lifecycle of the systems.

QT_IA_still_07_graded (1)

Harness IoT for Proactive Maintenance

In industries where machines and motors often operate for decades, demanding standardized, long-lifecycle products, the challenge of updating and integrating diverse data sources, including those from sensors and ERP systems, is clear. 

Asset management or maintenance, involving trend analysis and diagnostics, has long been crucial for tracking and understanding the behavior of such assets. It has transitioned from human observation to leveraging IoT technology for data analysis and adjustment, thereby enabling predictive maintenance and risk mitigation. 

Kalinowski from Qt Group is seeing customers move beyond predictive maintenance to digital twins, where real-time operations are mirrored by a digital replica, predicting future outcomes based on current practices. “There can be a 3D graphical representation of a robot arm or a whole factory line, for example, that allows you to optimize, test, and monitor your existing and even future products to see how they behave and how to train other products.” 

According to Funck, the true potential lies in leveraging data to proactively monitor equipment in real-time using strategies like condition-based maintenance (CBM). By detecting early signs of deterioration using technology like sensors, data analytics, and predictive algorithms, CBM would allow for the precise scheduling of maintenance tasks, minimizing downtime and costs. 

“For instance, simulating the impact of running a motor at a higher RPM over five years to optimize performance isn't widely practiced. The challenge lies in applying condition-based maintenance, where maintenance schedules determine real-time asset performance rather than fixed intervals set by the manual. Despite advancements, a credible method remains elusive.” 

By embracing proactive maintenance strategies, harnessing connectivity, and driving standardization, the future of industrial automation can be efficient, reliable, and safe. The measure of success lies not only in meeting industry demands but in surpassing them, paving the way for a future where innovation enhances performance and quality. 


Scalable Software and UI Development