Rob you certainly are correct in the transistion to more visual devices. To take it one step further lets have a smart machine send you a text message.. It there. Did you know that there are apps developed for your smart phone that enable the monitoring and even ability to control machines. SCARY!!! But again its all there and needs to just be unlocked. The ablity to remotely diagnose, monitor, and control a machine is possible and is being done. These things as I said before really make the world smaller and make machines more capable.
Have smart machines changed the nature of how control engineers interact with the plant? Are we seeing the plant become more of a video-based HMI platform where problems are detected through software as opposed to the old style of running the plant by walking around and listening for problems?
Maintenance has certainly changed and for the better. Smart machines have sensing technology as an inherent component and that tells the technicians where the problem is so that it can be resolved with less effort, less downtime and overall lower cost to the producer. Smart machines when done right can make all the difference..
Yes smart machines do enable greater implementation of automation in manufacturing. Plants with smart machines require fewer people to do simple tasks and shift the focus toward what the facility was designed to do.... Produce Produce produce...
Smart machines can and do cross network communication platforms. They are only bound by the ability of that communication medium to handle the amount of traffic present on it. The use of new and improved industrial ethernet communications mediums such as Profinet and Ethernet are examples of where thins are headed..
Smart machine technology is not market dependent. The ablitiy to deploy the capability is there for all markets and the key really is in the identification of what pieces you want to unlock relative to that application. In such sophisticated markets as automotive and packaging it is even more important to consider the use of smart machines and devices because the payoff is much greater in the long run.
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