One of the major hurdles to implementing an industrial automation platform across an organization is bridging the gap between collection of data and dissemination of data. Especially when dealing with evolving manufacturing lines. Upgrading legacy controllers is a challenging task from a functional perspective but from a bottom line perspective, it is critical.
Overhauling old platforms means new ones need to be designed and adapted to existing production environments, more often then not, this means production downtime not just for the physical install but for the ramp up during the transition.
Ultimately, we want this upgrade to provide better visibility into production lines, however does the loss of production time during the installation out weight the benefits? It seems in most aging industrial environments, stakeholders are hesitant to lose operational capacity. The complexity of having to evolve an old platform or bring in a new one leads to drawn out automation implementations. Then, with good reason, stakeholders look to roll out the new platform holistically. They must consider the variety of industrial controllers, the complexity of the integration, impacts on downtime, and the value case behind the overall project.
This is a costly and elaborate process that will ultimately pay dividends.
Turning Industrial Plants into Wireless Smart Cities
Today there are thousands of IoT sensor technologies designed to interconnect with variable platforms (ARCHIBUS, MODBUS), collecting data from floor-level manufacturing systems, or independent sensors collecting pressure, PH, temperature, vibration, and a variety of other information. Many of these IoT sensors function wirelessly, and a good sub-set of those operate on smart city networks already prevalent in and across manufacturing plants.
There are a number of details to consider when one aligns wireless IoT with hard-wired industrial controllers. Data velocity, security and authentication, and many others. That said these are all understood by experienced IoT experts and well addressed through hardware design, wireless protocol, and software frameworks.
Industrial IoT Environments Excel
So putting aside the due diligence, IoT wireless sensors have the ability to effectively plug-and-play in industrial environments; and transparently capture relevant data that can be collected and analyzed in a non-obstructive way and at a very low cost by the industrial controllers.
Within a few days and a minimum investment, an organization can harness the power of wireless IoT to achieve what would have taken years and cost thousands of dollars to implement the traditional way. That isn’t to say that the more complex path should not be taken for other operational and production quality reasons, however the short path brings immediate value and can be integrated into the bigger picture without having to roll it back.
So next time you are looking to capture your manufacturing and quality control data, look to wireless IoT sensors as a viable option that will bring instant savings. Want to learn more? Talk to our IoT experts.
Konrad Konarski is V-Soft's Practice Lead for AI & IoT where his cumulative expertise is used to commercialize and deliver industry-changing solutions for businesses. Konrad has worked with emerging technologies for more than 15 years. As a successful entrepreneur, engineer, business professional, and thought leader, he has a holistic perspective on delivering AI solutions that bring tangible value to customers.