As I think Rob pointed out in his article on top automation trends for this year, many of the same technologies that are a force in the enterprise IT world are now a force in the world of the factory automation folks, which makes it easier and more natural for them to "lay down their swords" and collaborate. It can only benefit companies' quest for lean operations to employ technologies that keep the plant floor and the IT systems backbone in sync.
Great article and interesting developments in the industrial controls world. Of course, Ethernet does not require IP. There are other protocols that are appropriate for the shop floor that utilize Ethernet as a transport, such as EtherCAT. By standardizing on Ethernet, organizations can lower their support costs. By designing devices that use Ethernet as the transport, engineers can develop systems that are more flexible. For example, while EtherCAT is great for idustrial contol, there are functions that are better done with IP. If these can be supported on the same device, then the system can become more flexible and more efficient.
Excellent article, Al. For years, a big stumbling block in the progress toward the networked plant has been the cultural differences between IT and the plant controls group -- as you mentioned, The war between the two groups seems to be easing. Sounds like Cisco and Rockwell are helping by serving both groups. I woldn't be surprised if vendors helped broker a peace. Some of the issues are throny. IT can reboot the office computers overnight to load a patch, but they can't do the same with the plant PCs.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
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.