IIC sets up automation testbed for print industry with Fujitsu, IBM, RTI, Toshiba
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has established a ‘smart printing factory testbed’ in collaboration with Fujitsu, IBM, Real-Time Innovations (RTI) and Toshiba to develop technologies to help the printing industry automate production and maintenance processes.
The IIC said the group is using the testbed to trial a new ‘smart printing factory platform’, which integrates data about the status of print jobs and the condition of print machinery, along with unspecified “production-quality data” from internet-of-things (IoT) sensors, either integrated in to or attached to print machinery.
The group wants to expedite the digitisation of the print industry. Its testbed IoT printing platform seeks to automate production and maintenance schedules, and control printing equipment via a secure IT/OT management console, the IIC said.
IoT-based automation, being put through its paces with IIC members in the new testbed, will improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of print applications, said the IIC. “We’re excited that IIC members are working on a cutting-edge problem like smart printing for factories,” Ssaid Richard Soley, the consortium’s executive director.
Izumi Watanabe, IIoT team leader at Fujifilm, commented: “As in other manufacturing industries, the printing industry is required to respond to mass customisation and must improve processes in order to stay competitive. However, replacing a legacy printing system with a fully automated one is not easy because companies use equipment from various manufacturers.
“An open ecosystem is the best way to connect equipment from many manufacturers. An open ecosystem will also allow factory operators to analyse data and integrate new printing developments more easily. We look forward to working with IIC member companies to make improvements on printing industry processes and technologies.”
IBM, Fujitsu, Toshiba and RTI are provide the enabling technologies for data acquisition, management console, production planning, design implementation and security at the IIC testbed at the IIC base in Needham, in Massachusetts.
The IIC has a number of testbeds in operation, notably for predictive maintenance, time-sensitive networking, artificial intelligence in the manufacturing sector, alongside worked cases in a number of other vertical markets, including for water management, smart energy, and retail analytics.
Japanse hardware and software maker Hitachi talks about ‘dynamic scheduling’ in the printing industry, here, among a wide-range of industrial IoT use cases.