The IIoT or Industry 4.0: Who will win?

Written by Dave Edstrom & David McPhail, Memex | Tuesday October 11, 2016
Oct. 11, 2016 – At Memex, we are frequently asked questions about both the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. The questions usually start off, “What do you see happening in [IIoT/Industry 4.0]?” The conversation will quickly zero in on their real concern, which is to find an answer to the question: “What and when should I be doing something with [IIoT/Industry 4.0]?”
Conceptually, are either IIoT or Industry 4.0 really new in manufacturing? The answer to that question is an emphatic “no.” One only needs to go back 36 years to the Manufacturing Automation Protocol (MAP) effort led by GM to see just one standardization attempt applied to manufacturing. For either to be successful, they must provide a net bottom line benefit for the dollars invested by delivering tangible and measurable business outcome(s).

At Memex, we would argue what is changing even faster is that manufacturing is catching up, and even surpassing, other industries in truly understanding what is happening on the plant floor. Only two to four per cent of all shops or plants are monitored, a fact Dave Edstrom, Memex CTO, picked up when surveying the industry during his time as president and chairman of the board of the MTConnect Institute. When asked, most plant or shop managers will state their plant utilization is in the 65 to 75 per cent range. When hardware/software is deployed that can properly quantify this number, it is shown time and again to be actually 25 to 32 per cent. A significant inflection point for both IIoT and Industry 4.0 is MTConnect. A fact that cannot be overstated is that the open and royalty-free manufacturing interconnectivity standard MTConnect has been a huge enabler for manufacturing and provides the viable highway for information sharing from the shop floor to the top floor.

The evolution
Industry 4.0 first came to life in 2011. The name Industry 4.0 represents the fourth industrial revolution, with steam power being the first, mass production using electricity being the second, and digital computing being the third revolution for improving manufacturing. It is interesting to note in 1966, Karl Steinbuch, a German computer scientist, stated, “In a few decades’ time, computers will be interwoven into almost every industrial product.”

Industry 4.0 recognizes there are significant technical challenges that all come into play and the only way to address those are with a comprehensive framework. A key paper for Industry 4.0 is the Working Paper No. 01/2015, titled Design Principles for Industrie 4.0 Scenarios: A Literature Review by Mario Hermann, Tobias Pentek, and Boris Otto. In this paper, they bring out key design principles for Industry 4.0:

• Interoperability
• Virtualization
• Decentralization
• Real-time capability
• Service orientation
• Modularity

Interoperability is listed as the first design principle and this is where a standard, such as MTConnect, becomes critically important. While MTConnect is not yet part of Industry 4.0, there are conversations going on at very high levels. This fact was stated by Prof. Dr.- Ing. Dr. h.c. Detlef Zühlke when he sat on an Industry 4.0 panel with Dave Edstrom, Memex CTO, at McMaster University this past April.

GE is credited with coining the term IIoT, while Cisco is credited with coining the term IoT. By adding Industrial to Internet of Things, how does GE differentiate the two? We find the following on the GE Digital blog: “In today’s ever-changing and volatile market, manufacturers seek a single version of the truth that will help them make the right decisions for improving profitability, while at the same time mitigating risk as much as possible. They wish to grow their profits and their organization, while ensuring safety for employees, the general public and the environment. To obtain all of this, they need increased visibility and better insights into the performance of their equipment and assets.”

GE is positioning IIoT brilliantly in its commercials. In one, “Owen” is given a hammer by his father and is told it was his grandfathers. Owen’s father asks Owen to pick it up. Owen tells his parents that while GE builds industrial equipment, he will be writing software that will allow machines to speak to each other. These commercials are laying the groundwork for data-driven manufacturing.

Taking advantage of the platform
Now that we have provided the definitions directly from the sources and the relevant context, let’s look at how we would respond to the next question, “What does Memex see happening in [IIoT/Industry 4.0]?” For many, IIoT means that after a plant has attached all of their manufacturing equipment, they come to the conclusion that data analysis begets more data analysis and they want to start adding sensors — everywhere. These sensors include coolant, vibration, temperature, humidity, motion, current and amperage, to name just a few. These sensors come into play after shops have electronically connected to their major assets, such as machine tools and operators. This attention on connecting everything in manufacturing underscores the importance of interoperability, the first design principle of Industry 4.0.

What both of these efforts are trying to establish is to be the platform for manufacturing. What is a platform? Microsoft Windows, Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Apple’s OS X are all examples of platforms. A platform is not just the operating system, but it is also the rules of the road in terms of interoperability between systems, security, licensing, interfaces, reference implementations, working groups and countless other critical aspects of a platform. Building a platform that becomes an industry standard is extremely difficult and expensive.

What should a shop owner or plant manager being doing today with either IIoT or Industry 4.0?

The tremendous interest in both Industry 4.0 and IIoT are proving the point that many of us in manufacturing have known for years manufacturing is ripe for analytics. Both Industry 4.0 and IIoT fall into the data-driven manufacturing camp. Woody Allen once said, “If you live in a country run by a committee, make sure you are on the committee.” Your level of involvement today with these efforts should directly reflect the possible outcomes and the tangible net business benefits to your business. If you are running a large plant with many software developers, you might want to invest some of a software developer’s time into either investigating these efforts or possibly joining Industry 4.0.

What steps should a plant manager take with either IIoT or Industry 4.0?

• Realize these efforts are a means to an end, not an end in itself.
• The bottom line with any effort in manufacturing should answer the fundamental question, “How does this help me improve my efficiency so I can make more parts and more profits with less resources in less time?”
• Far and away, the best investment of time is to truly understand what is happening on your plant floor. The way to accomplish this is with a shop floor monitoring system. The ROI of shop floor monitoring is measured in weeks and months, delivering an average of 300 per cent Internal Return Rate of capital — the percentage is based on the information we track from our customers.
• When it comes time to connect your assets on your shop floor, use MTConnect as the interconnectivity standard.
• If you are one of the less than five per cent who have completely connected your plant floor and can see exactly what is happening on any given manufacturing asset at anytime and from anywhere, then you should start looking into where it makes sense to work with Industry 4.0.

In our opinion, IIoT for manufacturing is really about adding sensors to manufacturing and the basic challenge is interoperability; interoperability is always the challenge in computers.

Will IIoT or Industry 4.0 be the MAP of the 21st century and end up in the graveyard of industrial standards initiatives that promised much but didn’t deliver, or will both truly be worthy of the term “revolution?” Only time will tell, but our bet is it doesn’t matter what you call it, if you are not connecting your plant’s assets to be monitored, then it is not if you will go out of business, but when.

David McPhail is the CEO and president of Memex, and a current member of Manufacturing AUTOMATION’s editorial advisory board. He has chaired several working groups of U.S.-based MTConnect Institute. Dave Edstrom is the CTO for Memex, as well as the former president and chairman of the board for the MTConnect Institute. Based in Burlington, Ont., Memex is the global leader of M2M manufacturing productivity solutions. Its connectivity technologies bridge the shop floor to the top floor and provide machine efficiencies, maintenance savings, and eradicate productivity gaps.

This article was originally published in the September 2016 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION

To read the complete article click here 

MEMEX Inc. to Unveil and Demonstrate MERLIN Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness (FOEE)™, MERLIN DNC and MERLIN Continuous Improvement Professional Services

BURLINGTON, ON–(Marketwired – Sep 14, 2016) – Memex Inc.(“MEMEX”) (TSX VENTURE:OEE) announced today it will be unveiling and demonstrating two new modules to the MERLIN open platform — MERLIN Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness (FOEE) and MERLIN DNC. MEMEX is also introducing MERLIN Continuous Improvement Professional Services (CI-PS) at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago.

It is a fact that most manufacturers are totally in the dark in terms of knowing in real-time if they are making or losing money on a given machine tool, shift or plant. Now with the introduction of MERLIN FOEE, we address this critical issue by combining OEE with financials.

Bob Hansen, long time manufacturing consultant and author of OVERALL Equipment “Effectiveness – A Powerful Maintenance/Production Tool For Increased Profits”, stated, “while OEE is an excellent metric, the truth is OEE tells you nothing about your profitability or more important, your potential profitability and this why I created Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness. MERLIN FOEE is a new tool for leadership teams to visualize hourly profit contribution by product on constraint machines versus world class performance results. Key components of FOEE information can improve prioritization of product /machine scheduling, re-order Continuous Improvement projects, and reset sales and marketing strategies for better cash flow and higher profits. What is the value of an accelerating competitive advantage such as FOEE? Priceless.”

John Rattray, VP of Sales for MEMEX, stated, “FOEE is a game-changer because it provides the ability to visualize real-time financial profit contribution on a per machine/product basis giving management the ability to direct teams with the information to drive profitable scheduling and machine utilization.”

David McPhail, President and CEO for MEMEX, stated, “We acquired the rights to FOEE because we knew that this will completely change analytics for manufacturing. Imagine knowing in real-time if you are making or losing money at any given standalone machine tool or at any one of your plants. What was only a dream in manufacturing, is now a reality with MERLIN FOEE.”

The Direct/Distributed Numerical Control (DNC) market has been flat in terms of growth. With the full embrace of platforms such as MEMEX’s MERLIN this has caused countless manufacturing plants and shops to re-evaluate their DNC solutions. MEMEX made a strategic decision to purchase Dostek in 2015 because of their exceptional reputation in the industry.

Doug Struthers, MEMEX DNC Architect, stated, “After 30 years at Dostek, I joined MEMEX for one primary reason — to create the most comprehensive, flexible, easy to use and easy to troubleshoot DNC software using the MERLIN platform. This was my opportunity to take my many decades of DNC experience to create the absolute best DNC software. MERLIN DNC will absolutely cause manufacturing to rethink their entire DNC strategy.”

The key high-level steps for successful implementation of Management Execution Systems (MES) such as MERLIN Tempus are measure, monitor and manage. Nigel Southway, international consultant, coach for Operational Continuous Improvement & LEAN Thinking and author of CYCLE TIME MANAGEMENT… Fast Track to Productivity Improvement, stated, “we have developed the MERLIN Continuous Improvement Professional Services (CI-PS) program to couple the power of the MERLIN Tempus platform with a comprehensive implementation process that enables organizations to embrace the CI culture. Utilizing time-tested, integrated templates, reporting methodology and advanced problem solving tools the MERLIN CI roadmap drives productivity improvement to achieve benchmark operating effectiveness.”

About MEMEX:
MEMEX, the developer of MERLIN, an award winning IIoT technology platform that delivers tangible increases in manufacturing productivity in Real-Time, is the global leader in machine to machine connectivity solutions. Committed to its mission of “Successfully transforming factories of today into factories of the future” and encouraged by the accelerating adoption and success of MERLIN, MEMEX is relentlessly pursuing the development of increasingly innovative solutions suitable in the IIoT era. MEMEX envisions converting every machine into a node on the corporate networks, thereby, creating visibility from shop-floor-to-top-floor. MEMEX, with its deep commitment towards machine connectivity, offers solutions that are focused on finding hidden capacity by measuring and managing Real-Time data. This empowers MEMEX’s customers to effectively quantify and manage OEE, reduce costs and incorporate strategies for continuous lean improvement.

Media Contact

Memex Inc.:

David McPhail, CEO

Phone: 519-993-1114



Rashi Rathore, Marketing Specialist

Phone: 905-635-3040 ext 103



Investor Relations

Sean Peasgood, Investor Relations

Phone: 416-565-2805


MEMEX Inc. to Demonstrate an Array of World-Class IIoT Solutions at IMTS 2016

BURLINGTON, ON–(Marketwired – Sep 8, 2016) – Memex Inc. (“MEMEX” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE: OEE) is proud to announce that it will be unveiling and demonstrating an array of world-class Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) software and hardware platforms at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, between September 12th to the 17th.

With these announcements, MEMEX is redefining what it means to truly know what is happening in your plant. MEMEX has long been recognized as the leader in both shop floor monitoring, as well as providing MTConnect software and hardware solutions for any piece of manufacturing equipment on the plant floor.

Doug Bellin, Global Lead for Manufacturing and Energy Industries at Cisco, stated, “Since early 2015, Cisco has been working closely with MEMEX on IIoT security solutions based on MTConnect. Cisco is excited about the upcoming announcements at IMTS 2016. This further demonstrates MEMEX’s global leadership and their ability to connect all devices on the plant floor, using Cisco’s secure networking solutions, thereby turning that raw data into secure actionable information for the operator, plant manager and CxO to use to improve manufacturing productivity.”

New Product Announcements at IMTS 2016

On Monday September 12th, 2016 MEMEX will unveil MERLIN Tempus™ and MERLIN Tempus Enterprise Edition (EE). MERLIN Tempus is an open and extensible Manufacturing Execution System (MES) platform which offers the next generation of tools such as dynamic easily configurable dashboards and advanced reporting along with many other manufacturing analytical capabilities that enable time-saving execution of continuous improvement initiatives using Real-Time and historical data.

Developed using state-of-the-art software engineering technologies, MERLIN Tempus delivers green-light metrics and analytical capabilities to effectively reduce downtime while increasing throughput and profits. MERLIN Tempus EE extends the capabilities of MERLIN Tempus with full Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and integrated job scheduling. MERLIN Tempus EE creates an opportunity for a dramatic increase in OEE based on accurate Real-Time information collected using a true shop-floor-to-top-floor communication network connecting all machines, old and new.

On Tuesday September 13th, 2016 MEMEX will introduce the MTC-One. MEMEX has established itself as the company that addresses “the last meter” and leaves no machine behind when it comes to legacy connectivity on the plant floor. The MTC-One is the “Swiss army knife” hardware device for legacy machine connectivity enabling any machine on the plant floor to become MTConnect® capable.

On Wednesday September 14th, 2016 MEMEX will introduce MERLIN Financial Overall Equipment Effectiveness™ (FOEE™), MERLIN DNC and MERLIN Continuous Improvement (CI) Professional Services (PS). The holy grail for manufacturing is not simply knowing how effective a specific machine tool or the entire plant is, but rather it is knowing both the effectiveness and the profitability or loss of any given machine tool as well as the entire plant. MERLIN DNC is a reinvention of DNC fitting to current software and hardware platforms with the emphasis on ease of use and feature capabilities. MEMEX CI-PS is a new and much needed service where MEMEX consultants will assist customers in achieving the highest possible in-plant productivity using the MERLIN platform.

Dave Edstrom, CTO of MEMEX Inc., author of “MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know”, as well as former President and Chairman of the MTConnect® Institute, stated, “These announcements at IMTS 2016 represent years of research and development investment. We will be demonstrating and delivering state-of-the-art technologies with industry leading features that will further distance MEMEX from its competition.”

MEMEX’s entirely new software and hardware platforms are built upon the success of the current award-winning MERLIN software suite, which has enabled manufacturers to achieve upwards of 50% increase in productivity, a 20% plus increase in profit based on a 10% increase in OEE, along with securing payback in less than four months which equates to an Internal Rate of Return greater than 300%.

David McPhail, CEO of MEMEX Inc., and Mr. Edstrom, will be in booth E3368 to discuss and demonstrate these new game-changing software and hardware along with other MEMEX industry experts. Both Mr. McPhail and Mr. Edstrom have been recognized as two of the top 30 Advanced Manufacturing Visionaries by Smart Manufacturing Magazine.

About MEMEX:

MEMEX, the developer of MERLIN, an award winning IIoT technology platform that delivers tangible increases in manufacturing productivity in Real-Time, is the global leader in machine to machine connectivity solutions. Committed to its mission of “Successfully transforming factories of today into factories of the future” and encouraged by the accelerating adoption and success of MERLIN, MEMEX is relentlessly pursuing the development of increasingly innovative solutions suitable in the IIoT era. MEMEX envisions converting every machine into a node on the corporate networks, thereby, creating visibility from shop-floor-to-top-floor. MEMEX, with its deep commitment towards machine connectivity, offers solutions that are focused on finding hidden capacity by measuring and managing Real-Time data. This empowers MEMEX’s customers to effectively quantify and manage OEE, reduce costs and incorporate strategies for continuous lean improvement. For more information, please

Media Contact

Memex Inc.:

David McPhail, CEO

Phone: 519-993-1114



Rashi Rathore, Marketing Specialist

Phone: 905-635-3040 ext 103



Investor Relations

Sean Peasgood, Investor Relations

Phone: 416-565-2805




Two New Devices Focus on Securely Accessing Data in Legacy Machines

April 202016 | Brett Brune | Smart Manufacturing magazine

A trio of Mazak, Memex and Cisco is beginning to sell SmartBox, a device meant to securely manage manufacturing data—information on axes, spindles, temperatures, cutting times, downtimes and part counts, for starters—culled from machines that have been laboring in a sort of silence for decades. At the same time, a pairing of Forcam and Wago plans to release a similar device it calls the PFC100 Industrial MTConnect device before July.

SmartBox uses I/O links to connect machines and produces MTConnect code in real time. It can use an adapter board from Memex and must be connected to a Cisco router, John Rattray, VP of sales and marketing at Memex, said in an interview with Smart Manufacturing magazine at the MC2 conference in Dallas. It can also use Memex’s factory- and machine-shop-floor-monitoring software, Merlin, to map existing signals and analyze and correlate the data so shops and plants can use it to improve productions.

Companies in the aerospace, defense and medical industries welcome the Cisco router requirement because it assuages their network security concerns, he added.

“We’re talking about IP connections in terms of Ethernet connections,” Rattray said. “You don’t need to have all the security in there to make the connection work. However, one customer of ours, DP Tool in New York, had experienced a situation where a guy who was maintaining a machine put in a USB stick into it and a virus on this USB stick spread to the company’s manufacturing network and whole admin network. It cost the company an enormous amount of effort and grief to get that fixed. You can run without security switches. But smart manufacturers are recognizing we need to secure and lock down our shop floor networks.”

The SmartBox has a “level three” managed switch that will shut the device down automatically if a USB stick comes its way or someone unplugs a particular Ethernet connection, Rattray added.

The emerging device from Forcam and Wago has a combined MTConnect adapter and agent inside the device, as well as a built-in security firewall for cybersecurity, Forcam USA Inc. CEO Mohamed Abuali said. He demonstrated a simulation model at MC2, saying it cost less than the trio’s device.

The Forcam/Wago product will cost less than $1,000, he said. And the Mazak/Memex/Cisco device will cost $4,000 on the low end but could be used on four machines, Mazak President Brian Papke said.

Companies using legacy CNCs will soon be able to choose between bolting their new data-retrieving device together with a Cisco network router or a “quicker solution that can connect to any network,” Abuali said. “The alternative [to these two options] is you have to retrofit the machine and upgrade the controller, which can cost thousands of dollars. In many cases, you cannot even retrofit.”

Both devices are intended to help manufacturers around the world connect their machines securely to a network. About 14.5 million machines still lack connectivity, Rattray said.

Of course, the idea is to then analyze the data to make the best decisions possible about manufacturing and machining processes. And some of those decisions can be made without human involvement, to be sure: “For instance, if a temperature sensor starts to rise above a threshold limit, the machine can send an alert and notify people before it fails,” he added.

Merlin lets companies “take data and make it manageable,” said Papke, who serves on the board for MTConnect. Otherwise, companies end up with “digital exhaust.”

“Forcam wants to define real-time production—from any machine of any age,” Abuali said. “That’s a critical state.”

Memex Chief Technology Officer Dave Edstrom is “very pleased to see more of these type boxes come out—because, as the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships,” he said.

But he couldn’t stop himself from making a quick comparison with the offering from Forcam/Wago: “The integration of what Mazak is doing with the SmartBox, with Memex and Cisco—making it easier to connect—will resonate very well with manufacturing. You don’t have to sell someone on Memex’s ability to connect anything. And you don’t have to sell anyone on Cisco’s ability to network a lot of devices together and do it securely. So that’s why we think SmartBox is a game-changer.”

Click here to read the complete article