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Industrial Ethernet plays vital role in taking advantage of IoT

By Max Burkhalter
May 2, 2016

The Industrial Internet of Things has the potential to change the way manufacturers operate. The ability to bring data to bear in near real time empowers organizations to align business needs with production capabilities with greater precision. In a recent interview with Machine Design, Schneider Electric's Mark Duncan explained that the IIoT has the potential to have a huge impact on manufacturers, allowing them to transform their production capabilities through better use of data.

Taking production to another level
The IIoT empowers manufacturers to connect data streams from business-specific solutions, machines, sensors, monitoring devices and other systems to coordinate and optimize operations. Duncan told the news source that this will take place in the form of an evolution as new IoT solutions gradually take hold in manufacturing. As these advances take place, companies will be able to better integrate their supply chains with their production lines and establish efficient machine-to-machine communication.

The Industrial IoT is beginning to transform operations for manufacturers.The Industrial IoT is beginning to transform operations for manufacturers.

Eventually, the IIoT will fuel an overhaul in manufacturing as organizations are able to combine improved data workflows with technologies such as mobile devices and even augmented reality to develop new work methodologies and transform production capabilities, Duncan explained.

As all of these factors come together, companies will move toward developing new operational methodologies that take full advantage of data in its various forms.

"The potential lies in the ability to link automation systems with enterprise planning, scheduling and product-lifecycle systems," Duncan told Machine Design. "We will see self-organizing machines and assets that enable mass customization and lot sizes of one. In the realm of asset performance, the collection and analysis of data from increasing numbers of cost-effective and intelligent sensors will increase business performance and asset uptime."

Getting your network ready for the IIoT
The future vision described by Duncan is heavily dependent on having network systems in place to support free-flowing data transit between diverse parts of the organization. This is particularly tricky in manufacturing settings, where specialized network systems have long been used to support different components of operations. Companies must be prepared to deal with automation and control networks, dedicated business links, surveillance infrastructure and a wide range of similar systems.

"Industrial Ethernet equipment is essential in handling the IIoT."

Attaching all of these solutions to a common Ethernet ecosystem creates a wide range of new challenges that manufacturers must be prepared to deal with. One such issue is the need for industrial Ethernet components that can withstand the vibrations, temperatures and atmospheric conditions that come up in production settings.

Having robust, hardy industrial Ethernet equipment is essential in meeting the demands of the IIoT because Ethernet frameworks can provide a common protocol for data transmission across different lines of business. At the same time, the hardened architecture and quality design of industrial Ethernet switches ensures that the network maintains operational standards despite the difficult environmental conditions that come into play in manufacturing settings. All told, specialized industrial Ethernet systems provide the combination of performance and reliability needed to prepare your network for the IIoT.

Perle has over 516 models of Managed Industrial Ethernet Switches with the vast array of options including 10/100/1000 Ethernet, PoE, fiber and combo ports. Perle IDS Industrial-grade Ethernet Switches are ideal for the harsh environments found in industrial factory systems and outdoor applications.


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