Industry Trends

Jul 11

Cloud versus Fog

If the Jeopardy answer is “Cloud, Fog, or Edge,” the question is “Where all can you do analytics?” We rejoice in the PROFINET of Things with its Data Access, Uptime, and Openness, but the Industrial Internet of Things is really about analytics. PROFINET is an enabler. A very important enabler, but still an enabler. The…

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Jun 20

Digital Twins

Along with Cyber-Physical Systems, Big Data, Cloud, Analytics, and other Industrie 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things buzzwords is the concept of Digital Twin. Maybe Digital Twin is from Industrie 4.0 and not IIoT? Here is a definition of Digital Twin from Wikipedia: “Digital twins refer to computerized companions of physical assets that can be…

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May 30

IO-Link to the Rescue

Take my old prox switch… please. And give me a new one with IO-Link. The old one just closes contacts. IO-Link, however, uses the same wires for the contacts but superimposes a digital signal over those wires. The old prox switch could be trained with a button to set the operating distance. IO-Link lets me…

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Mar 28

IO-Link versus AS-i

You’re designing a new machine. Should you use IO-Link or AS-interface (AS-i)? Yes. Yes, you should use the one appropriate to the task at hand. There’s never a substitute for doing the engineering. Use AS-i for: A long string of pushbuttons (as along a conveyor). A long string of Emergency Stop pushbuttons (as along a…

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Mar 14

Where Networks Fit in the IIoT

There has been a raft of articles about networks and their place in the Industrial Internet of Things. Basically, IIoT is at the intersection of IoT and Industrie 4.0. Here’s a 46-second video reminder of how the relate. There were three articles that caught my attention: 1. Modbus As an IoT Protocol??? John Rinaldi makes…

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Mar 7

What Should I Do about TSN?

TSN = Time Sensitive Networking. It’s a catchall name for a series of new standards whose goal is to improve determinism in “standard” Ethernet networks. It grew out of the needs of Audio/Visual delivery. Naturally, a new organization grew to further the effort: “The Avnu Alliance is a community creating an interoperable ecosystem servicing the…

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Feb 21

7 Steps to IIoT

I saw a recent magazine article outlining six steps to take to implement the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It was mostly political – form a team, get buy-in from a C-level executive, etc. It’s not that I think the political approach is not valuable, but most of us live in a technical world. So…

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Nov 15

Low-lying Clouds

I once took visitors to see the Grand Canyon only to find it filled with clouds. Now we find low-lying data clouds, too. The recent ARC post The Power of the Industrial Edge reminds us that with increasing numbers of sensors there will be increasing amounts of data. Transmitted over PROFINET, of course, I would…

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Sep 20

Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of PROFINET

“Cloud” is one of the current automation buzzwords. It just means that the computer is not here. It’s in an offsite location administered and backed up by specialists. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing. I outsource driving directions to Google Maps instead of my wife now. But Cloud is not about where the computer is; it’s…

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Jun 21

An Expanded IIoT Checklist

What does it take to have your very own Industrial Internet of Things project? PROFINET has a role to play: Things. The starting point. The “T” in the IIoT. In the industrial world these are sensors, actuators, instruments, I/O blocks, drives, vision systems, robots, Ethernet switches, scanners, label printers, RFID, switches, lights, and more. These…

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