Multiple sensors are often used for measuring parameters in controlled processes. In such cases, cascade control systems offer a much more viable and better choice than traditional single-measurement controllers. For instance, a temperature sensor that measures and alters the valve actuator in a steam-fed water heater may seem like a complete solution, but it would start to bottle-neck once multiple parameters start chipping in, such as mechanical friction.
Industrial organizations are aligning themselves with Industry 4.0 and IoT not because it’s a general trend, but because such automation technologies can greatly influence one of the most important factors in a business: profitability.
The best way to ensure a high return on investment is adherence to open standards, allowing frequent upgrades at manageable costs, effectively future-proofing an industry’s infrastructure. For decades, PLCs have been the backbone of all automation technologies. Advancements in embedded cybersecurity, compliance to communication standards, and greater integration capabilities are all factors that can notch-up the productivity and reliability of PLC applications.
Renewable energy is by far the best way to limit dependency on fossil-fuels, and stop the deteriorating situation of the environment, globally. However, the current power system is a stark reminder of legacy technologies, not to mention highly dependent on age-old principles and techniques, putting up hurdles for the integration of renewable energy plants.
In addition, transmission and distribution networks often face project delays, due to reasons such as right-of-way, resistance from activist groups, and limited financing options.
Safety should never be seen as a function, forcefully imposed upon a well chalked-out process. Integrated safety has long been seen a dangerous concept to masquerade with, making manufacturers design safety as a separate component. While doing so may make planning easier by adding another major step into the entire process, it actually adds complexity in the form redundancies.
Companies are now realizing this point and gradually shifting towards integrated safety concepts. For instance, Paper Converting Machine Corporation in Green Bay, Wisconsin uses an integrated safety platform from Rockwell to help its engineers plan upgrades while keeping safety in the equation. The integrated controls mean the engineers can perform all sorts of risk assessment while defining the functional requirements early in the design process. In addition, the engineers work in one programming environment since all the process and safety controls are on the same platform.