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ICP DAS pushes IIoT in Asia

ICP DAS pushes IIoT in Asia
IIoT has now become a growing trend as manufacturers leverage the power of the Internet of Things and data to enhance operations.
IIoT has now become a growing trend as manufacturers leverage the power of the Internet of Things and data to enhance operations. “One major benefit of IIoT is it helps the manufacturer gain competitiveness and lower cost. They also want to use it to maintain the quality of products and ensure the safety of workers,” said Frank Cheng, VP of Sales and Marketing at ICP DAS. “Eventually everyone will move towards IIoT — it’s just a matter of who will adopt it first. Countries like Germany and the U.S. are already doing it, and Asian countries will follow suit.”

Thailand successful stories

ICP DAS has emerged as a leading IIoT solutions provider in Taiwan. It already has projects with some of the island’s top high-tech and traditional manufacturers. Now, ICP DAS wants to promote their solution design and service to their clients outside of Taiwan. One of the Asian markets targeted by the company, according to Cheng, is Thailand.

“Thailand has a great location in ASEAN, in the center of the region. It’s also got a robust car manufacturing and food industry. Opportunities are bigger for us there,” Cheng said. “We first want to help out Taiwan traditional businesses in Thailand by replicating what we do in Taiwan. Already we’ve begun several projects in their manufacturing facilities.”

One of them is a palm oil production facility whereby monitoring devices are installed on compressor motors to monitor the live operational status. An additional benefit to that is data that can be used to improve management. “In the past, operations relied on labor. If you wrote on the log the machine started at 8 a.m. and stopped at 5 p.m., I had to believe you. However, with IIoT in place, we have data. If the report shows the data that machine No.3 was on when it was supposed to be off, I know there’s an error,” he said. “This can help achieve more accurate management.”

Another project entails motor monitoring for a production facility that does gluing operations for vehicles. “The owner of the facility found out, through our solution, that there’s a waste of 5 amperes when the machine goes from warm-up to full throttle,” Cheng said. “The owner is happy with this data because it helps him figure out how to achieve more savings. This is an extra value that our solution provides.”

According to Cheng, ICP DAS hopes to keep replicating its success stories to attract even more customers. “Customers are pleased and satisfied with our service. Our Thai partners have even referred us to more people,” he said, adding that the company is now eyeing the Vietnamese market as well.

Solutions and service

ICP DAS is now a leader in the IIoT arena, offering a range of solutions and services built upon its expertise and know-how. For example, ICP DAS works with a major semiconductor manufacturer, which uses ICP DAS solution to gather critical data to improve manufacturing processes. “This IC company forbids employees to carry USB drives or smart devices, and there is no 3G. What they need is accurate and reliable data communication in their unique environment, and we can deliver that for them,” Cheng said, adding that this could not be possible without ICP DAS’ R&D effort. “We have a strong team of nearly 300 staff, and about 40 percent of them work in R&D. Revenue-wise, we devote about 20 to 30 percent to R&D,” Cheng said.

Solutions aside, ICP DAS also attaches a substantial importance to service. According to Cheng, it’s natural for new plants and factories to adopt IIoT, but retrofits can be more complex as operators are unlikely to replace their existing equipment with new ones. This is where ICP DAS’ pre sale service comes in. “A lot of what we do is we help clients upgrade their existing facilities to IIoT. So the service we provide is we go to their sites and study their processes. Then we offer them several options to choose from, based on their needs and objectives — for example, ways to connect their existing machines. Once they choose an option we will then go with it,” he said.

Intelligence on the edge According to Cheng, one thing that differentiates the company is its focus on edge computing and analysis. The company offers a range of programmable automation controllers (PACs) that do different types of control, monitoring and data acquisition. This is different from the traditional approach of sending data to industrial PCs for further processing and analysis. “Say you walk past a hallway, and the lights turn on … Why would you send all those signals to an IPC? We believe that edge devices should not only be able to gather data but also have logic and decision-making capabilities. On the other hand, if the customer wants an IPC, we can customize our solution to that need as well.”

Aside from IIoT, ICP DAS also has building automation and home automation solutions as well. “As the economy goes up, people want to renovate their homes, and companies are looking for smart meeting rooms and other smart features,” he said. “Right now our solutions are deployed in various Taiwan government agencies whereby lights are automatically triggered by the presence of people. Even the cleaning ladies at those agencies say they are impressed, as they don’t have to turn the lights on one by one.”

Setting an example

Starting as an industrial components manufacturer, ICP DAS has transformed into a major IIoT solutions provider that helps manufacturers gain competitiveness and value. Their expertise and professionalism have won the trust of factory operators in Taiwan and overseas alike. ICP DAS indeed is an example that its peers can learn from.

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