As a software engineer I am surprised by the lack of an emphasis on security in light of the Stuxnet worm. I would expect a lot more emphasis on testing any automation systems related to process controls and infrastructure.
I spend a lot of time testing software. Good software testing has come a long way recently with the advent of test frameworks and coverage tools. One item I place a lot of emphasis on is very thorough and detailed testing, 100% coverage and 100% success rates in automated testing. I have found many interesting issues in the last few percentages of thorough testing. Perhaps prime among these is that if it is hard to test it is not so good a design.
Increased automation offers an excellent cost savings and quality improvement opportunity. The benefits will be greatest when increased automation is thoroughly tested and made as secure as is warranted by the application.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.