Machine and Process Management

What do a Deck of Cards and a Services Oriented Drive Have in Common?


Everyone has played a card game at least once in their life, so everyone knows what a deck of cards is: an ensemble of fifty-two “pieces of paper” with four suits and two Jokers. The same deck of cards that we use to play with our friends, parents or kids, becomes something completely different in the hands of a magician. A superb magic performer can find inside the deck a card that we have chosen, or he can put together, one beside the other, all the cards in the right order and divided in each one of the four suits…but, anyway, it is the same deck of cards, with something more, something magic which makes it much more that a deck of cards.

services oriented drives

Similarly, each person who works in an industrial company knows what a variable speed drive is: a device which is used to control the speed of an electrical motor. During the last fifteen years we’ve seen an increase in the installations of variable speed drives (simply referred to as “drives”), mainly used for energy efficiency purposes, so nowadays in most of the industrial applications, these devices are commonly widespread and well-known. Also a variable speed drive can become much more than a drive if some additional features are included inside it, thus making it a Services Oriented Drive: a Services Oriented Drive still controls the speed of a motor, but it’s able to provide an enhanced experience to the user thanks to the embedded functionalities inside it.

That’s the first similarity between a deck of cards and a Services Oriented Drive: the same item, either a deck of cards or a variable speed drive, can become something more if additional values and functionalities are added.

Inside a deck of cards, four of them are the most important ones, the four Aces; during the long history of magic, many magicians have invented and performed tricks with these four cards. One of the most astonishing of these tricks is the one where the magician takes a randomly shuffled deck and in a few moves he is able to get the four aces out of it.

A Services Oriented Drive is based on the four main pillars of the fourth Industrial Revolution, the four aces:

  • Smart Data
  • Transparency
  • Asset Management
  • Efficiency
Services Oriented Drives

Smart data is information that we can get from a Services Oriented Drive which can be useful to analyse and understand our industrial process, for instance “consumed energy”.

Transparency means that a Services Oriented Drive uses standard communication protocols, like Ethernet for instance, which allows a fast and effective flow of information and data all over our plant infrastructure.

Asset Management means the possibility of predicting drifts of some of the components installed in the plant or in the machine, by getting some key indicators from the Services Oriented Drive.

Efficiency means not only energy efficiency, but also operational efficiency, which can be allowed by a Services Oriented Drive thanks to its design and embedded functionalities.

These four pillars are exactly the same as the four aces inside a deck of cards and that’s the second similarity between a deck of cards and a Services Oriented Drive.

Finally, only the magician’s imagination and ability can limit the tricks that can be performed with a deck of cards.

In the same way, a Services Oriented Drive can allow endless possibilities to its users, who can decide how much to take advantage of its functionalities in order to make their industrial process more efficient and more performing.

In conclusion, that’s the third similarity between a deck of cards and a Services Oriented Drive.

Be aware, a deck of cards is a simple sequence of playing cards without the magician’s touch; just like a variable speed drive is only a device that controls the speed of a motor, without the embedded services which make it a Services Oriented Drive.


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