IIoT/Automation Know How?
Why is Industrial Automation Required?
Automation or automatic control, is used in various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories, boilers and heat treatment ovens, switching on telephone networks, steering and stabilization of ships, aircraft and other applications and vehicles with minimal or reduced human intervention, with some processes have been completely automated.Automation is typically achieved using various means including hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, electrical, electronic devices and computers, usually in combination. Complicated systems, such as modern factories, airplanes and ships typically use all these combined techniques. The benefits of automation include
- Saving : labour savings, savings in electricity costs, savings in material costs.
- Quality : improvements to quality, accuracy and precision.
- Reduction in wastage : Helps reduce industrial waste/scrap.
- Time to Market : Significantly improves the produce time and hence time to market.
Reduction in Operating Cost
Industrial automation requires high initial capital cost , however it saves on the workers monthly wages, which is significant cost saving for the company. Plus automation does not require healthcare costs and paid leave and holidays that are typically associated with a human operator. Neither does it require other benefits such as bonuses, pension, Gratuity etc. Industrial automation has been steady and sturdy and rarely fails. Hence the maintenance cost associated with automation is low.
Automation helps Industries run 24x7, 365 days a year, without any need for holidays or time offs. Though the machines would require preventive maintenance but this time is miniscule as compared to human time offs that are mandatory and as per company and labour laws prevailing in any country. Automation thus leads to a significant improvement in the productivity any Industry.
Automation is useful in producing uniform quality of a product at any given time or condition. It helps eliminate the error caused by human operator. Plus automation does not suffer from fatigue or mood changes, as may be in the case of human operator. All these factors help in achieving high and uniform quality of the products.
Automation adds high degree of flexibility to operations. In case of adding any new task or making changes to existing process, we just need to reprogram the devices used in automation. However, in case of Human operator, one needs to spend time, energy and money to train them to perform the task.
High Information Accuracy
Data and Information has taken center stage in decision making. Automation helps in seamless data collection, eliminates unwanted data, improves data accuracy and more importantly reduces the data collection costs. This high quality data is useful in making meaningful and fact based decision for improving product quality and reducing waste/scrap/rejections.
Industrial automation is known to make the production line safe and secure. Automation can work in hazardous conditions as against humans.
How Conventional Automation Works?
The activities involved in Conventional Automation are as depicted below.
The challenges with Conventional Automation are :
- Iterative process : Most of the steps require iterative development, adding to higher project completion time.
- Requires external Integration : Automation typically requires additional integration and hence adding up to the time and cost.
- Budget Overruns : Because of the iterative nature of conventional automation execution, it often leads to budget over run.
The Factors that contribute to High Industrial sensing costs are:
The property you are sensing will require a connection of some type to industrial process. A proximity sensor may only require placement in proximity, but many other measurement types require specific (and costly) interfaces to the process like thermowells, or other taps into the process itself.
Sensing device or Sensors, as easy as it may sound, does not work independently. Sensors do need a device that hosts it and provide signal conditioning. It is a process to convert the signals (digital and/or analogue) into engineering units, etc. that is environmentally suited for the industrial location.
Interestingly, most sensors or measurement devices does not support IP. Instead they support one or more industrial sensor network protocols for communication of measurements and diagnostics alike. Many of these protocols were never envisaged or designed to support remote operations.
The Data and/or Information collected by the process explained above needs to be transmitted to the desired recipient. Hence it needs to be integrated with the IIoT gateway or other service that is providing backhaul or analytics, or business process integration.
Process and Quality audit gives enough emphasis to documentation. But more importantly, the automation that is going to be put in Industry environment is going to last for over ten years. Hence the Documentation has to be accurate, robust and should support day to day operations till the life time. Documentation is equally critical for any industrial operation as any other parameter.
Devices needs to be calibrated, put it into service, and assure that it is providing accurate measurement and diagnostic information.
Industry standards and Company /Operator practices are given utmost importance in Industry. The devices and any associated wiring have to be installed professionally and should comply with such practices and policies. Fly-by-night installations are strictly not allowed in Industrial segment since such installations are prone to turn high maintenance item quickly, adding disruptions to production schedules.
Engineering services are required for all these activities that are described above. If these installation activities are highly repeatable then the average engineering cost can be reduced with increasing volume.
As more and more devices are connected, there is a greater opportunity for system failure from various over-current, over-temperature and electrostatic discharge (ESD) threats that can cause serious damage in always-on, smart devices. That is why circuit protection plays a vital role. The energy efficiency, reliability and product lifespan features that most IoT system users will think are mandatory directly influence the circuit protection solution a designer selects. For high availability needs of IoT business models, circuit protection must be an essential element in maintaining the high level of system reliability expected of the IoT infrastructure. This increased reliability is necessary to aid in the adoption and expansion of the IoT ecosystem.
IoT ecosystem devices are designed to operate autonomously with many functioning in remote locations for long periods, perhaps for their entire working lifespan. In these environments, transients such as lightning, burst or ESD occurrences are a constant threat. Network connectivity can make these devices vulnerable making it a requirement that IoT-optimized systems be designed with advanced surge and circuit protection to ensure sensitive circuits operates reliably.
As the IoT infrastructure expands, so too does the need for robust circuit protection at all levels of the power design. Sensor nodes, gateways, and computing platforms will require protection throughout these designs- from AC power connections, to digital ports, down to the board level. Implementing circuit protection addresses both technical and economic issues that can be adversely affected if electrical transient threats are ignored. Ensuring the continuous flow of data to even the most remote devices in the infrastructure supports the very foundation and purpose of IoT.
The Key point of differentiation between SCADA and IoT are:
|Centralized Management||Decentralized Management|
|Day to Day operations of the plant||Mostly related to long time data storage
for analysis and comparison
|Supervisory Control||Predictive Analytics|
|and Remote Monitor||and Prescriptive Analysis|
|Specific to process or Processes||Data creates value in multiple applications|