The development of Industry 4.0 technologies is already accelerating. This will lead to future industrial automation becoming scalable, open and optimized for integration. Explore the impact some of the top trends will have on machine builders and factory operations.
Most of today’s industrial automation systems use a PLC-centric distributed control strategy. PLC-centric solutions offer limited remote access, no security or machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and separate security controls. In a master-slave system, it is difficult for autonomous devices to coexist because the input and output from sensors or to actuators must be connected directly to the PLC or to some active or inactive device, see the figure below.
The next phase of industry will move from centralized, top-to-bottom direct control to the integrated safety and cybersecurity of distributed control architectures. Distributed control effectively pushes safety, process processing and intelligence closer to where it is needed, allowing dynamic real-time processing. A higher level of device intelligence eliminates costly centralized controllers by decentralizing logic. Distributed control plus real-time machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, applications that connect directly to the enterprise, will drive dramatic changes in the centralized and hierarchical automation world.
More and more factories are gradually replacing traditional fieldbuses in the field with Ethernet-based networks. Ethernet fieldbus technology offers cost-effectiveness along with reliability and accessibility. Thanks to fast, secure and precise data flow, these fieldbus technologies provide shared communication on a single local area network with simultaneous Internet access. A network can get closer to production monitoring and control, resource management and streamlined management by combining wireless and wired connectivity for improved transparency.
Dynamic automation requires open and interoperable networks. In the future, device manufacturers and producers will not have to fall into a private/semi-public scheme. In an open Industry 4.0 ecosystem, all devices are interconnected without protocol restrictions. In the ecosystem, an open architecture will provide the device vendor and its customers with the freedom to customize, use the latest technologies, and add or stop devices more easily.
Industry 4.0 is not a revolution in the real world. Industrial automation changes a piece of equipment in turn. Technology is used to support open and powerful distribution networks, modular machine-based control and logic, without replacing all transmission lines or machines on a production line. Molex Industrial Automation Solution 4.0 (IAS4.0) is designed for distributed control and organizational management of equipment, providing an open architecture from sensors, machines, enterprise, and cloud applications (see the figure below). The development of the integrated IAS 4.0 platform brings a modular, modular approach. A device manufacturer or end customer can connect one or more devices, step up and choose as needed.
An end-to-end platform, IAS 4.0 can serve simple or highly complex devices and robots as well as controllers, gateways and IO modules and develop cloud-based applications. The protocol-agnostic kernel allows real-time M2M communication without worrying about existing legacy protocols.
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