JAN-FEB 2019

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16 INTECH JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 WWW.ISA.ORG vantage of the change as well. A DCS offered today is far less dependent on specialized hardware. In some re - spects, the new systems are far more upgradeable than their predecessors, to the extent that the thought of hav - ing to perform a system migration may no longer be necessary. Just as a personal computer purchased today may have its operating system up - graded multiple times over its useful life, with more configurability via soft - ware, industrial automation systems can be incrementally improved more easily. In the meantime, for the majority of companies, maintaining the old and new will continue. Smart individuals will realize the importance of keeping a foot in both camps and learning all they can about how everything works together. An IT professional who un - derstands how manufacturing works and what is necessary to support it will have opportunities for some time to come. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christopher Logue (Christopher.Logue@ is the global product man - ager for wireless technologies at Emer- son Automation Solutions. He is an IIoT enabler for the implementation of new wireless technologies in process plants worldwide. Logue holds a BSME degree from the University of Villanova. View the online version at PROCESS AUTOMATION the OT team can implement to better meet their success metrics of improv- ing productivity, safety, and opera- tional efficiency. The routers also have world-class security and data reliabil - ity. Next-generation versions of these routers in development will bring even more capabilities and flexibility around implementation. These types of communication make many Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) implementations possible and practical. When IP-based networking extends farther through the levels of plant networks, and protocols such as WirelessHART can reach individual end devices, a company can realize a true connected enterprise. The assign- ment to gather data from five process instruments can be accomplished in a week instead of months. OT as legacy Anyone watching the development of industrial automation technology over the past 15 years has seen many tech- nological changes. The notion of pro- prietary equipment, unique operating systems, and networking strategies is rapidly disappearing. Therefore, OT is looking more like IT all the time, and to most, this is not a bad thing. Where there used to be a gap between the two sides, now there is barely a line, and in some places, it is not even vis - ible. IP-based networking strategies are being used for industrial applications as issues such as determinism get worked out. The ease with which WirelessHART and wireless Ethernet can interface and work together is a prime example. This convergence helps mitigate one major challenge for process manufac- turers: personnel. The number of peo- ple with qualifications and experience to work with older systems is rapidly declining, and, as mentioned earlier, younger engineers do not see a great future in learning systems as they are being phased out. Automation suppliers are taking ad- nection to the DCS. Nothing about the existing setup has to change. These wireless adapters communi- cate with a gateway, which captures the data and sends it wherever it needs to go using a wired Ethernet connection. Finally! Something an IT person can relate to. Here is a bridge to span the chasm between these two analog and digital worlds, and it can be done pain - lessly and without high cost or installa- tion hassles. Many plants already have a Wire- lessHART network infrastructure in place (figure 3), and it can operate without interfering with wireless Ether- net networks in the same space. In fact, there are wireless Ethernet routers that include radios to communicate with WirelessHART transmitters in addition to wireless Ethernet (figure 4). These two protocols are different, but they can work side by side very easily, with each supporting its respective types of devices. These multiprotocol routers are simple and economical solutions that combine plant and field networks into a seamless architecture. The IT team can now use something famil- iar to quickly enable technologies that Figure 4. New industrial wireless routers have the capability to serve both Wire- lessHART and wireless Ethernet devices simultaneously. Source: Cisco Where there used to be a gap between the two sides, now there is barely a line, and in some places, it is not even visible. RESOURCES "Industry 4.0 for process" "Getting IIoT to live up to the hype" "IT and OT convergence?"

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