Reaching for the Sky: What’s Happening With the Cloud?

February 09, 2022 by Stephanie Leonida

Industrial automation experts, including Yokogawa, Emerson, ThinkIQ, and Balluff, announce new cloud-focused solutions to help customers digitally transform operations.

Leaders in industrial automation are turning to the cloud to boost efficiency, mobility, business productivity, and expand capabilities.


ThinkIQ Continuous Intelligence Platform

ThinkIQ pioneers Continuous Intelligence for manufacturing with its newly enhanced platform. Image used courtesy of ThinkIQ


Industrial automation and test and measurement solution provider, Yokogawa Electric Corporation (Yokogawa), will release its Collaborative Information Server (CI Server) R1.02, and Emerson Electric Co. (Emerson) launched its premium monitoring services for its Oversight cargo services platform. Transformational intelligence provider, ThinkIQ, and semiconductor industry expert, Balluff, Inc. (Balluff), have also announced the arrival of their latest cloud-compatible solutions.

Yokogawa Cloud and CI Server

A cloud platform is an information technology (IT) system that can help automate industrial processes and increase productivity. Through cloud-based systems, industrial automation can be improved in many ways. A few examples include:

  • Improved connectivity between IT and operational technology (OT) systems
  • Reduced downtime for machines
  • Faster response times

Plant operators or managers in an industrial automation setting may typically integrate cloud computing into manufacturing execution systems (MES) and production planning systems (PPS). The Yokogawa Cloud services are exclusive to Yokogawa applications and solutions, including asset management, supply chain management, operations management, quality management, safety, human effectiveness, and enterprise solutions.


An overview of the CI Server on Yokogawa’s Cloud. Image used courtesy of Yokogawa


The Yokogawa Cloud allows customers to develop existing infrastructure while creating new applications. In this way, industrial automation companies can begin digital transformation and expand their capabilities.

The Yokogawa Cloud offers customers artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-based analytics and data visualization, plant-wide connectivity, communications security, rapid data integration, as well as rapid infrastructure and application deployment.

Yokogawa recently released its cloud-based CI Server. It can be used in a platform as a service (PaaS), integrating Yokogawa Cloud, a software license, and maintenance. Introducing the CI Server intends to reduce hardware costs, improve setup, and speed up project development.

Emerson’s Oversight Cargo Platform

With Emerson’s new platform, customers can collate and transform sensor data points from GO loggers and trackers into insights that can help make decisions to maintain and strengthen supply/cold chains. Users can view trends in data over a long period, enabling customers to look back and visibly see supply chain dynamics while also looking ahead and spotting issues that could impact future supply chain integrity.

The platform-based continuous intelligence solution, ThinkIQ, recently enhanced with new capabilities for supply chain and production optimization within material-centric manufacturing. Customers can close the loop from the edge to the cloud and back, where decisions can be made to take action. This will help to enable an autonomous self-driving supply chain.

Another feature of the enhanced platform is improved cybersecurity, according to ThinkIQ’s SOC 2 compliance program. ThinkIQ has also endeavored to improve the robustness and performance of its on-premises gateways and connectors, as well as strengthen its GraphQL API for a stronger integration with third-party applications. GraphQL is a query language and server-side runtime for application programming interfaces (APIs).

Balluff’s Condition Monitoring Toolkit

Balluff’s Conditioning Monitoring Toolkit (CMTK) allows customers to monitor plants and processes, as well as visualize and analyze machine and system conditions or statuses. Balluff’s CMTK is a unified retrofit solution that can link up to four arbitrary IO-Link sensors. Network integration allows for remote monitoring anytime and anywhere.

The CMTK has been designed with self-sufficiency in mind with independence from cloud and machine control. Users will receive warning messages when adjustable limit values are exceeded, and the system comes with plug-and-play commissioning and data visualization.

Large, medium, and small enterprises continue to slowly adopt cloud-based solutions. These solutions can help manufacturers boost productivity and data analytics. Are there cloud concepts you struggle with understanding or utilizing?