MAY-JUN 2018

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20 INTECH MAY/JUNE 2018 WWW.ISA.ORG D ata collection from industrial facilities and plants provides a number of ben - efits to end users, system integrators, and machine and process skid builders. End users can monitor their facilities and plants worldwide from any location with cellular net - work or Internet access, and system integra- tors can do the same for their projects. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) machine and process skid builders can monitor their prod - ucts and systems wherever they are installed, even at remote customer sites. Data collection by OEMs can be especially useful for both the OEM and the customer. Data can be acquired for analysis and remote moni - toring, and data can be sent to machines and process skids for remote control. This two-way remote access provides: l remote monitoring to quickly alarm and alert personnel l predictive capabilities to anticipate problems before they occur l remote control to respond to issues and problems l improved overall equipment effectiveness: better uptime, throughput, and quality l cost savings by eliminating most trips to the field In addition, OEMs can: l log usage data for billing or maintenance l gain insight into customer needs l analyze data to improve future product or process designs Although most OEMs need remote access to provide the quality of service their customers want, the barriers are high and include security issues, technical difficulties, and costs. Cybersecurity is a major concern for both OEMs and their customers. Busy information technol- ogy (IT) departments may not have the time, re sources, or technical skills to set up remote ac- cess to automation systems and equipment. As a result, older methods like opening ports through firewalls and creating virtual private net- work (VPN) tunnels are falling out of favor. Newer methods of remote access, particularly those us ing the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol in publish/subscribe commu- nication models, can be a major improvement, providing the data and access OEMs need without burdening their customers (sidebar). Industrial hardened edge programmable indus- trial controllers (EPICs) address these and other remote access requirements with local computing, multiple programming options, local control, and sensor input and output interfaces. Edge processing Edge processing encompasses at least three functions. The first is to collect, process, view, and exchange data where it is produced—at the edge Simplified remote access Remote monitoring and control systems using modern data collection techniques deliver improved performance and security, along with simpler implementation and lower costs By Benson Hougland

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