Developments in IIoT Devices Present New Possibilities for Manufacturers

Developments in IIoT Devices Present New Possibilities for Manufacturers

Developments in IIoT devices are presenting Process Solutions with exciting new possibilities for providing lower cost data acquisition tools and services to end-users. Many of the industry’s leading control component manufacturers are offering more cost-effective devices that communicate using web communication protocols such as RESTful, which is a software architectural style for distributed hypermedia systems, and MQTT, which is an ISO standard publish-subscribe-based messaging protocol. These communication protocols enable Process Solutions to communicate to devices operating in the field using a host of programming languages.

The ability to directly communicate with devices in the field not only allows Process Solutions to quickly and easily provide remote service but also gives the ability to integrate with data collection and analytics software such as our new DAQuery™ software systems. Through DAQuery™, Process Solutions can create custom dashboards, which clearly and accurately display real-time and historical production data. By utilizing their production data, manufacturers can discover new ways to increase production output, reduce waste, save on operational costs, and seamlessly distribute necessary information directly to workers via HMI displays, tablets, TVs or other mediums.
Examples of new IIOT devices currently being offered by leading control components manufacturers include remote ethernet switches that collect data from field sensors and send that information directly to databases or live screens using HTTP requests, RESTful, or MQTT protocols.  Numerous smart sensors are being developed and entering the market with these protocols, which allows seamless machine to machine data collection and communication to databases.  These smart sensors can provide manufacturers who don’t need PLC-based controls, the ability to harvest information from their manufacturing environment. Some switches even have EDS files, so they can also serve as remote-IO replacements for a fraction of the cost.

Another example of cost-effective IIoT devices on the market today are IIoT gateways. These devices function similar to a microcontroller, except they have been re-engineered into a hardy, industrial UL rated device that can accept field IO.  One possibility is to use IIoT gateway devices as a lower cost OPC-UA or OPC-DA server to log data to a database from PLCs. OPC-UA or UPC-DA is a machine to machine communication protocol for industrial automation focused on communicating with industrial equipment and systems for data collection. Traditionally, Process Solutions would purchase an industrial PC to run these data collection servers; however, industrial PCs have been rising in cost, power requirements, and panel space.  These cost-effective IIoT gateway devices can run on free, low-overhead operating systems such as Linux, instead of having to purchase Windows operating systems and dealing with time-consuming Windows updates.  Another advantage of IIot gateways is the ability to be used as a remote access point. With consent from the client, this remote access allows Process Solutions to view the client’s I/O from our offices and help troubleshoot their systems, even if the client doesn’t have a PLC.  For smaller applications, IIoT gateways devices can also serve as a PLC replacement due to the ability to access system code and remote IO.

These are just a few ways that IIoT devices such as switches and IIoT gateways are improving the way manufacturers and integrators interact with industrial equipment and run their overall production. Process Solutions team of Data Science engineers are experts in integrating IIoT technologies into both new and existing systems. Visit www.processsolutions.com to get in touch with an engineer and learn how you can begin improving your production process with IIoT devices and DAQuery™ software systems.

Located near Seattle Washington, Process Solutions is the Northwest’s largest control systems integrator. With 30+ years in business and over 100 engineers and technicians on staff, Process Solutions has the knowledge, experience, and capacity to take on almost any automation project. Process Solutions provides a wide range of automation services, including electrical control panels, PLC and HMI programming, Industrial and collaborative robots, energy management and refrigeration systems, SCADA, and data science and analytics. For more information, please visit www.processsolutions.com.

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