“When Should I Invest in a Managed Ethernet Switch?” is the question posed in the latest issue of the Industrial Ethernet Book. I’ve heard it said elsewhere that you’ll either use a managed switch or wish you had. The logic is that an unmanaged switch has diagnostic information consisting of blinking LEDs. If your line goes down due to a switch failure and you can tolerate the downtime to go find blinking lights, an unmanaged switch might be the right choice for you. If you can’t stand the downtime, then use a managed switch. Its onboard diagnostics can be read by many kinds of software from the IT world. And in the case of switches that are also PROFINET IO devices, you can bring that diagnostic information right into your HMI and alarm on it there. Or create a response in your PROFINET PLC.
Switching educational topics to educating the next generation of engineers (and first getting them interested in engineering as a career choice), check these articles from Control Design: “Education Leads the Way” and “Who’s on FIRST?”
During my trip to Kauai, my wife and I stopped at the Kauai Coffee Estate. My wife sampled the coffee as I sat enthralled watching their video touting the automation of their process. I lost interest when it got near the end and they didn’t say PROFIBUS or PROFINET. No coffee videos here, but thanks to Control Engineering for uncovering this link with videos of “How Everyday Things Are Made.” I especially like chocolate… I mean the video on how chocolate is made. (Actually I was right the first time.) Anyway, this is a link you should show your budding engineers.