Thorough and well-written article. I completely agree with the speed of installation advantages of a wireless system. Many years ago, I had to set up a wired network to our factory floor and the time required to plan and install this older technology was significant (not to mention the time needed to troubleshoot improper hardware node connections). In many instances, wireless technology will prove to be faster and much more flexible than existing wired systems.
I see combatting the noisy industrial environment, wirelessly, is making some strides. I think I feel confident enough in the tech these days to use wireless in the machine shop. The little risk may have a huge payoff in mobility.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.