TJ, I agree with you that these capabilities have been around for awhile, and actually go way back further than the introduction of PACs. Making it easy to collect information is one step, and also for users to gain confidence that the machine controller has both the processing power and flexibility to do multiple tasks without creating problems with machine control.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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