Really a great article, John. So do we know how it's being received in a quantitative way? What perceentage of controls engineers are willing to (as they used to say), cross over to the dark side? What percentage are just saying, no, I won't ever do this?
Increasing integration in A&C does seem to be the wave of the future, and that includes robotics, as I predict in my Top 5 Robotics Trends of 2011: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=236475&. Integrating multiple control functions in hardware, as well as into a single IDE, will enable all this. And making it scalable can only be done by integrating PC-based hardware.
This is a great intro and I found the discussion of safety of particular value. The implementation of safety standards throughout the factor, and in products via traceable design-for-safety processes, is going to be a huge issue in 2012 and beyond. As well, the HMI stuff in this article was extremely valuable in the context of fielding a complete automation solution.
In an age of globalization and rapid changes through scientific progress, two of our societies' (and economies') main concerns are to satisfy the needs and wishes of the individual and to save precious resources. Cloud computing caters to both of these.
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.