B&R has numerous features for safe and secure digitized solutions.

Saurabh Kulkarni,
Mobile Automation Expert India,
B&R Automation.

With B&R on board, OEMs can satisfy their customers’ requirements faster than ever.

Many construction equipment companies have teamed up with B&R to automate their high-tech heavy equipment. Every aspect of B&R automation system is designed for modular, concurrent engineering. Saurabh Kulkarni – Mobile Automation Expert, India, B&R Automation shares his views on the scope and major challenges of big data and telematics on the CE industry.  Excerpts from the interview…



What is telematics technology and how is telematics related to autonomous and connected vehicle technology?

There are many applications of telematics related to connected vehicle technology. One such major highlight in use today is the vehicle or fleet tracking and health tracking of vehicles or off-highway equipment. This helps the OEMs to be in touch with their equipment and keep track of the condition. It also helps in remote areas where off-highway equipment can coordinate with other equipment enabling quick response in case of breakdowns and failures.


How do you assess the potential and scope for digital platforms – (Telematics, connectivity solutions, the cloud, and data analytics) in the CE space?

Digitization is fuelling the need for connected products and control systems, at every stage of the value chain. Just like in any other industry, digitization is reshaping the construction equipment industry around the world. Developed countries are already reaping benefits such toas, higher productivity, controlled costs, perfect predictability, efficiency, quality, safety etc. from a range of new control technologies and advanced automation. Construction industry is one of fast growing industries in India. Conversely, in India, construction is one of the least automated industries. However, things are changing as mobile equipment manufacturers are offering advanced functionalities such as GPS, data collection, condition monitoring, secure remote maintenance, connectivity options and much more. With this, the barriers for adopting new technologies are falling; however, it would take some time to reach automation levels deployed in the western world.


What do you think the major challenges when it comes to adopting the digital platforms in terms design of machines, availability of vendors for connectivity solutions, and acceptance level of end-user segments?

Globally, construction equipment manufacturers are working towards providing next generation connected solutions. Data analytics, business intelligence and connected assets are of primary importance. However, digitization itself provides numerous challenges on its path of adoption and implementation. Seamless connectivity and interoperability are two of the major challenges OEMs encounter in their endeavor for digital transformation.

A combination of serial bus, proprietary networks and Ethernet networks in the equipment controls make it difficult for achieving a standard interface and network for connectivity in mobile machinery. This results in interoperability issues and serial bus limits the possibility of digitization for the OEM.


Data privacy, hacking concerns, installation costs, and overall internet connectivity strength could negatively impact the rate of growth in this area? What is your take on these concerns?

Indeed, with increasingly automated and networked machinery the assurance of security and safety in order to protect user and equipment is important. Keeping this in mind, B&R automation solutions has developed numerous features for safe and secure digitized solutions. One of our solution, Secure Remote Maintenance offers service and maintenance of equipment from anywhere in the world, or simply can monitor equipment 24/7 to retrieve data and much more. In addition, it also makes it possible to log data securely.

We follow high security standards and data from equipment and IT or cloud over an encrypted VPN connection further protected by the use of certificates.

An additional level of protection is provided by a firewall integrated in SiteManager. Access rights to the equipment by service technicians, is governed by GateManager and its integrated machine pool management system. Secure Remote Maintenance from B&R is extremely easy to operate. You don’t need to be an IT specialist to configure it, either. Using B&R’s SiteManager saves both time and money since it only needs to be configured once for use on different equipment.


What is B&R’s contribution in the whole eco system and also give us couple of examples from any of your product range where your range of system  have brought a transformational value to the machine builder and the end-user / industry?

At B&R our slogan is our mission. The pursuit of ‘Perfection in Automation’ has inspired and guided us for over 35 years. Our solutions allow automation concepts for any industry applications or off-highway equipment to be implemented easier than ever. Our customers benefit from an easy-to-operate development environment, high-performance real-time operating system and ready-made software components.

Many construction equipment companies have teamed up with B&R to automate their high-tech heavy equipment. Every aspect of B&R automation system is designed for modular, concurrent engineering. This gets the products to market faster and allows machine builders to react flexibly to new requirements and special requests. Decoupled hardware and software make it easy to switch out hardware components at any time. With B&R on board, OEMs can satisfy their customers’ requirements faster than ever.


Could you enlighten us on the positive impact of big data analytics and telematics on the design of equipment with an example?

In the CE industry where competition is fierce and margins are tight, digitization helps reduce time to market, increase efficiency and provide flexibility for both OEMs and operators. The solutions such as digital twin provides a complete
digital footprint of equipment, enabling OEMs to detect physical issues sooner, predict outcomes more accurately, build better equipment faster with superior quality, reduce time-to-market and costs.

Virtualization is very powerful allowing visibility of equipment operations as well as interconnected vehicles. Digital Twin has several benefits, including the ability to run in line with the real equipment to enable rapid task-planning and early detection of potential problems. Digital Twin provides an integrated outlook of any project to any user at any point of the product life cycle.

It enables continuous improve­ments in process and design as well as enhanced operations and maintenance. OEMs also leverages virtualization for faster time to market and reduced development costs. With Digital Twin, B&R helps OEMs to virtually develop and test equipment without the need of actual mechanics and electronics. This saves costs and avoids wastage in development phase, thus, increasing time to market.


What is the customer expectation from big data analytics / telematics service from various end-user segments? 

Off-highway demands are much different from the demands for automotive sector commercial vehicles. Automobile sector focuses on comfort, driving pleasure, add on features in cars, whereas off-highway sector focuses on reliability, durability, ease of diagnostic and maintenance, data logging with intermittent availability of networks etc. This is owing to the requirements of the consumers in that segment.

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