I agree AnandY. This also takes a lot of pressure off the control engineering staff and puts it on the supplier. Suppliers are effectively competing to see who can make life easier -- and more productive -- for the control engineer.
Ethernet provides real-time manufacturing intelligence. Naturally this will lead to smart manufacturing process which will have faster time to market, lower total costs of ownership, improved asset utilization and optimization.
When a project does not absolutely require Ethernet/IP, I'll still push for it for future expandability, or even for simple ease of programming. The alternative would be programming via a serial connection (shudder).
Nice article Al. This seems to be yet another example of smart machines that let the control engineers off the hook for original programming. Good idea with the army of boomer control engineers heading into retirement.
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