Interview with Al Dimassi, General Manager of IS International Services, LLC
With Donald Trump’s promise to restore American manufacturing jobs, the U.S. manufacturing sector is hoping to change the narrative that jobs are being lost overseas by establishing high-tech “factories of the future”. Therefore, efforts to reinvent U.S. manufacturing by leveraging the latest technologies to establish intelligent factories will have a substantial impact on the nation’s long-term economic growth. The growing use of interconnected intelligent machines to support activities along the entire value chain, as well as the adoption of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (I-IoT), is creating a fully digital manufacturing landscape. In this smart manufacturing landscape, IS provides turnkey solutions in the process control and automation industry to help customers implement smart factory for maximizing operational excellence.
As a global services and engineering company focused on client satisfaction, with an emphasis on providing quick and high quality deliverables, IS specializes in system integration which spans PLC, HMI, SCADA and DCS specification, configuration and commissioning. Their role is to ease any strain between customers and general contractors by coordinating with all of the other disciplines on the projects, as well as other vendors and skid manufacturers to provide a complete solution for projects, from general manufacturing, to renewable energy, to health and pharmaceuticals. Manufacturing needs durable, strong infrastructure to thrive. IS has deep knowledge of industrial networking protocols, hardware design and programming with expertise in many different platforms. The substantial amount of expertise development in many of the major fields of industrial controls, I&C and systems integration has led IS to achieve many successful projects.
Advantech’s Professional Services
The implementation of smart factory solutions involves placing sensors on equipment, leveraging software to collect data, and using data insights and analytics to optimize the entire manufacturing process. Because most existing manufacturing assets will need to be retrofitted with intelligent sensors and programmable logic controllers, for some companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, high upfront costs pose a significant barrier. Most products currently available offer smart connectivity (i.e., remote access and control from a wide range of internet-based devices) and can be easily monitored from web-enabled SCADA management software, such as Advantech’s WebAccess/SCADA, using Ethernet or wireless networks, and increasingly do not require the services of a gateway. The challenge for manufacturers now is how to use the same software to monitor legacy equipment. This is where Advantech plays an important role.
As a platform agnostic systems integrator with 170 combined years of experience in control systems upgrades, IS has been constantly looking for innovative integration solutions for its business. These integration solutions must sometimes be off the shelf, supportable and cost-effective. IS has many choices, and the fact that they chose Advantech for their current projects substantiates the partnership selection. IS’s win-win business model relies heavily on lowering their partners’ overall cost through innovation and cost-effective solutions.
Advantech’s SRPs (Solution Ready Packages) that combine hardware and software into integrated industrial applications are quick-start tools that enable a stepwise approach to achieving Industry 4.0. Advantech has a wide variety of SRPs and products that present novel solutions for many of the applications that IS encounters with customers. Additionally, with Advantech, IS has had access to engineers who have intimate knowledge of the products, their history, and their in-development enhancements. This has been a key to planning and executing solutions and installations that are forward-facing for IS’s clients. “I would have to say that we have found the access to people beyond just the technical support staff of the current products to be the single largest benefit in working with Advantech,” says Al Dimassi.
Future Cooperation on Industry 4.0 Applications
In many regions of the US, the process controls industry has been undergoing serious contraction as production facilities have moved off-shore. Software companies have attracted younger talent while the senior leadership retires. In order to fill the gap created by these circumstances, it takes IS’s results-oriented engineering practices to be used in conjunction with creative tools like those made by Advantech. IS possesses the engineering and production expertise to lead its clients to Industry 4.0 solutions that will provide them with maximum benefits. However, it takes the hardware, software and WISE-PaaS platform tools of Advantech, along with IS’s industrial leading support, to make it a reality. “Most clients are looking for reliable, secure, cost effective and off the shelf solutions; Advantech provides all of this and more.” says Al Dimassi.
The future of U.S. manufacturing is being redefined. The next step in creating a successful future with the Industry 4.0 is collaboration. To gain an advantage, technology companies should establish partnerships aimed at advancing a particular field or building endto-end customer solutions that harness the best of their assets and capabilities. The resulting emergence of ecosystems and platforms will deliver a whole new level of value and business opportunities. In the Advantech IoT Co-Creation Partner Conference held in Philadelphia on May 15th, IS signed DFSI (Domain Focused System Integrator) agreement with Advantech and joined Advantech’s WISE-PaaS VIP Partner Alliance program. “We look forward to a long and successful Win-Win partnership with Advantech,” says Al Dimassi.