JUL-AUG 2019

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30 INTECH JULY/AUGUST 2019 WWW.ISA.ORG Device management made more efficient Industrial devices—from robots to field devices, controller programs to drive systems—all have their own programming languages and data formats. Software version-control systems can make maintaining these assets easier By Robert Glaser T he Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is set to bring about radical changes to the work environments of today's industrial maintenance departments. IIoT smart devices come with their own software and intelligence that needs to be maintained. But how often have you—or should you—ask whether the software version running on a device is the same as the lat- est released version on the server? Only with the right kind of data management system—giving you more certainty, safety, and security—is it pos- sible to answer this question. One important aspect of data management is version control. Version control refers to a system in which the changes made to a file or to several files are logged over time. This helps to centrally man- age upload, download, and compare processes. The term "version control" originated from software engineering. Software developers use the term to meet their goals, to safeguard and optimize their work, and to make the process of developing software more flexible. Version con- trol is slowly winning acceptance with industrial automation departments. This is partly due to in- creasing costs and the time constraints placed on maintenance departments. These departments have a critical mission to keep production envi- ronments running optimally—minimizing down- time and recovery time. Maintenance departments are fully aware of the challenges they face. Changes made to devices can lead to errors, which in turn can lead to down- time or defective products. For this reason, it is necessary to monitor, track, safeguard, and com- pare changes made to projects and to device pro- gram logic. The need for these processes is further reinforced by the fact that the number of different processors, devices, data, and possible sources of error continue to grow. The version control process enables an organiza-

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