Historically, there has been little convergence between manufacturing and enterprise in the plant network. Instead, there are multiple, separate networks – one network may run fieldbus protocol at the device level, another network may run ControlNet protocol for machine-to-machine
communications, while a third protocol, such as Ethernet, or a proprietary network, links the machines to data acquisition and storage units for reporting or archiving. Meanwhile, a separate network, often an extension of the office Ethernet network, is on the plant floor, enabling workstation access to work orders and task instructions.
The linkage between technology and future growth is strong. As McKinsey & Company characterizes, for western economies the growth of GDP will only come from the “do it smarter” companies that build a better business model.
As a result we see that many process and discrete Industrial Automation systems are undergoing dramatic transformations and adopting new strategies for industrial Ethernet. Many companies are transitioning to Ethernet connected controllers, computers, high speed motion control, cameras and power electronics. Every day, 160,000 new industrial Ethernet nodes are connected (I.H.S. Global/IMS Research). And there are estimates that 100% of plant floor devices will be providing data as soon as 2018.
One of the core issues affecting the performance and reliability of industrial control systems is electrical noise. It can cause field device misreads; devices to fail, reset, or enter a fault state; equipment damage; or signal retransmission that inflicts communication delays. The topic of mitigating performance issues caused by electrical noise is wide ranging, but we’ll look at three topics here: the types of Electrical Noise, the types of problems caused, and a multilayered approach to EMI noise mitigation.
Power interruptions and power quality are frequent causes of downtime in manufacturing, costing the average operation thousands of dollars each year in lost productivity.
Recovering quickly from an event is critical; when the machinery has recovered and is ready to go, having production wait on the infrastructure to “reboot” is simply unacceptable.
Just that situation can occur—network switches, PCs, and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are key parts of modern control systems, and even short “blips” in power can cause restarts that delay device availability for up to several minutes.
As ensuring power to these devices during outages is critical to quick machine recovery, many manufacturers rely on a traditional battery-based UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system as an insurance policy.
However battery-based UPS systems are reliant on battery maintenance. Users must be willing to implement a rigorous program to monitor, maintain and properly dispose of batteries to ensure effectiveness.
Some of the common identified issues with traditional UPS systems:
Panduit solutions have helped Oil and Gas processors deploy networks faster and more reliably. Use of standard IP (Internet Protocol) and EtherNet/IP in oil and gas applications is growing. Oil and Gas customers have deployed integrated, pre-tested managed switch solutions to provide fast installation and risk mitigation.
To accommodate the demands of managing increased productivity, energy infrastructure providers need to reliably deploy networks across their treatment/processing facilities. Overloaded networks can experience operational issues with out-of-date technology, therefore companies are deciding to upgrade to a system that offers consistency, reliability and adherence to the latest industry network standards.
At the recent Rockwell Automation Fair, in Houston, TX many of the 10,000 attendees learned about the Connected Enterprise, its importance in realizing the value of the Internet of Things, and how Industrial IP is providing a common platform to boost productivity, efficiency and flexibility.
Attendees of the Process Solutions Users Group also learned how companies are using innovation to transform the Energy industry, including techniques such as front-end engineering design (FEED), to reduce deployment time as much as 50%, with reduced costs and risk. If you were not able to attend the show, Controlglobal.com has a nice summary here.
It’s a sign of something ongoing in the marketplace, the aging of equipment and technologies and the drive to gain productivity by better connecting systems as upgrades occur.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein
To capture your share of the value of the Internet of Things for manufacturing ($3.88 trillion for manufacturing), rethink how you deploy your industrial plant networks. Too many existing industrial networks are full of security holes with poorly executed physical infrastructure that threaten downtime, quality and even safety. The thinking about networking for the factory floor needs to evolve and simplify.
Leverage expertise and thought leadership to improve your industrial networking IQ and greatly reduce your installation time, risk and costs. Here are three resources to help you progress: Continue reading →
Hello and welcome to the first entry of the Industrial Automation Solutions blog. We are looking forward to engaging you with perspectives of industry trends and business drivers. We hope to discuss ideas and insights around industrial network and control systems infrastructure that can help you leverage latest technologies and design methodologies, to help you improve the effectiveness of your operations and increase your business agility and competitiveness.
Internet of Things (IoT) Infographic (courtesy of www.industrial-ip.org)
One of the biggest challenges faced by companies today is the ageing and obsolescence of operational systems and networks. Continue reading →