Coming from a mostly-electronics perspective, as I do, integrating functions does seem like a no-brainer. But a lot of control and automation mechanisms are, or have been, not easily integrated with electronics and/or driven by proprietary, closed software, like PLCs. So integration of functions there is happening a lot more slowly.
I know what you mean, Chuck, I feel the same way about a lot of things. I always use the smartphone as an example. But I guess at the time, it made sense to just have a phone for talking...and then a music player for music...and a GPS for GPS. So using that logic, it shows why functions might be separate. But I completely agree with you.
Components makers integration functions that were previously separate into microcontrollers and other key aspects of the automation system to make them easier to deploy and manage. This controller from Advantech is an example of that trend.
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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