Interview with IBCON
In Thailand’s export-oriented economy, manufacturing is the primary driver of economic development and growth. However, although globalization provides increasing opportunities to sell Thai products around the world, it also fosters fierce competition between rival companies. In this ever more competitive market environment, manufacturers must leverage every innovation available to maximize the value and efficiency of their production lines.
Yet, most factories in Thailand have limited space for new equipment. Facilities also vary widely in terms of environmental conditions and the ease of adding new cabling. Moreover, with limited margins leaving little funding for infrastructure investments, most Thai manufacturers cannot afford to even replace existing equipment. Considering these constraints, an effective equipment monitoring system must be sufficiently compact and flexible to allow installation in diverse factory environments and to support a wide range of machinery and equipment.
IBCON Co., Ltd., Advantech’s WISE-PaaS VIP partner in Thailand, is an automation systems supplier and systems integrator that assists Thai manufacturers with overcoming technical challenges, and Advantech’s intelligent wireless monitoring solutions have proven critical to their ongoing success.
Building Factories of the Future, Today
With more than 20 years of experience in Thailand’s industrial automation industry, IBCON has gained considerable expertise in modernizing manufacturing infrastructure.
Because most Thai manufacturers still conduct manual machine monitoring, IBCON sought to improve management efficiency by developing equipment monitoring systems capable of automatic data collection, which would then reduce maintenance costs and streamline workflows. However, rather than developing such systems on a factory-by-factory basis, IBCON wanted an off-the-shelf SCADA-based platform that could be applied to a wide a range of factory environments and equipment. Along with integrated software and hardware, this solution needed to include wireless I/O modules for data collection in order to minimize wiring and installation time. A compact yet durable industrial computer was also required to serve as a gateway for transmitting data to the back-end control room.
Fortunately, Advantech had all the required solutions as well as the expertise to combine them into a single package that offers tremendous functionality and maximum versatility. Specifically, Advantech supplied its WISE-4050 wireless I/O modules, UNO-2473G embedded automation computer, and WebAccess/SCADA browser-based software to provide a platform solution that is easy to develop, configure, and deploy. Using this platform, IBCON was able to quickly design an innovative and cost-effective monitoring system that could be easily deployed in a range of factory environments.
Massive Functionality in an All-in-one Package
Advantech’s WebAccess/SCADA provides manufacturers with a browser-based software package for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) operations. With the provision of a user-friendly HTML5-based dashboard equipped with extensive libraries and development tools for designing unique animated graphics displays, real-time data graphs, and data/alarm log reports, WebAccess/SCADA also facilitates data analysis for intelligent management functions, such as scheduling control and trend analysis.
Because the WebAccess/SCADA platform acts as a web server and can support up to 1,024 client devices without additional licensing, users can access the platform remotely via any browser or mobile device. This enables remote monitoring and control of all machines in order to further enhance productivity.
Advantech’s WISE-4050 wireless I/O modules feature 4 digital input/output channels and are currently well-known wireless I/O modules available on the market. The inclusion of wireless modules in Advantech’s platform solution allows IBCON to implement wireless data collection with RTC timestamps to ensure transmission accuracy and provide expansion flexibility.
Compared to conventional 4U industrial automation computers, Advantech’s UNO-2473G has a relatively small form factor, reducing the amount of space needed for installation. UNO-2473G also features a rugged fanless design, wide operating temperature range (-20~60°C), and rapid heat dissipation capabilities, making it wellsuited for operation in harsh industrial environments. Considering these features, Advantech’s UNO-2473G is ideal for IBCON’s clients in Thailand, whose factories typically have limited space for new equipment.
Simple Solutions for Complex Problems
For manufacturers and systems integrators such as IBCON, Advantech’s intelligent industrial automation solutions offer substantial development convenience and efficiency by integrating wireless hardware with powerful software, reducing system complexity and streamlining installation. Modern production lines rely on complex operations involving multiple computers and industrial machines. Although such operations are highly complex, production line systems and solutions don’t have to be. By providing Advantech’s fully integrated WebAccess/SCADA software/hardware package, IBCON enables Thai manufacturers to quickly modernize their facilities in order to increase productivity, maximize profitability, and remain competitive in the global marketplace of tomorrow.