Nice article Al. This seems to be yet another example of smart machines that let the control engineers off the hook for original programming. Good idea with the army of boomer control engineers heading into retirement.
When a project does not absolutely require Ethernet/IP, I'll still push for it for future expandability, or even for simple ease of programming. The alternative would be programming via a serial connection (shudder).
Ethernet provides real-time manufacturing intelligence. Naturally this will lead to smart manufacturing process which will have faster time to market, lower total costs of ownership, improved asset utilization and optimization.
I agree AnandY. This also takes a lot of pressure off the control engineering staff and puts it on the supplier. Suppliers are effectively competing to see who can make life easier -- and more productive -- for the control engineer.
Outside North America, the situation is quite different and the worldwide market share of EtherNet/IP is roughly the same as Profinet at about 30% each. What continues to surprise me is the emphasis on connectivity as a major area for increasing performance and productivity. The ability to communicate more information, more easily is the key point in the next round of "smarter" manufacturing.
We have machine design and building companies building new machines that include connectivivty, snd don't admit that the rest of the machine is new as well. So how much is real invention and how much is working for the camera? Which then does not achieve that much,
Ann, we're also see devices that come smart. So there is less of the traditional integration required. As one supplier put it: Now, you put the devices on the line and they come awake and say, "Here I am."
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Two small, wheeled robots can "see" through a concrete wall using nothing but WiFi wireless communication. They can detect and measure everything on the other side: people and objects, their positions and geometry, whether they're moving, and what materials they're made of.
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