Industrial IoT Hardware
Achieve Less Downtime, Higher Productivity With Industrial IoT Hardware
As smart manufacturing continues to evolve, sensors and transducers are undergoing significant changes.
VFDs, PLCs, analyzers and meters have all been improved through added intelligence and communication. Before these improvements, transducers might have had a 4-20mA or 0-10V signal wire leaving the device and returning to a PLC or DCS. In the last few years, however, components have been redesigned with ethernet communications and can communicate back to a PLC through Ethernet/IP or Modbus TCP/RTU.
The changes have been gradual, but as more companies adopt intelligent technologies, sensors and transducers will no longer only produce the most basic of current or voltage signals. Hardware will become even more communication protocol accessible.
What’s different about industrial IoT hardware?
Industrial IoT hardware might look similar, but if you inspect closely, you’ll find critical differences. These components are adding the wired or wireless communications necessary for developing Industry 4.0 standards. Legacy hardware, although traditionally reliable in their limited capabilities, are quickly becoming obsolete and more difficult to replace, not to mention more and more costly to maintain. The wide array of industrial IoT hardware continues to grow. IIoT hardware sensors adding these enhanced capabilities range from level transducers to vibration sensors to pressure sensors and more.
Moreover, the addition of a communication port currently makes hardware IIoT capable, but look for future hardware intelligence developments, which means sensors that drive production could become small-scale controllers with built-in microprocessors.
Smart hardware development takes time as manufacturers work hard to design and produce newer, more powerful components. You just can’t transform standard sensors and transducers into intelligent devices. You can add a gateway to the device, but that can be cumbersome since the product isn’t guaranteed to work as expected.
By changing out old sensors for smart ones, you’ll transition your factory to an IIoT capable system. But replacing all the sensors in a factory for smart hardware is a difficult and expensive undertaking. You can keep your costs low, however, by making updates in planned phases. Using IIoT capable devices, you can capture, process and analyze your data to make smarter production decisions.
Transitioning to IIoT hardware
The first stage of transitioning to industrial IoT hardware is connecting your infrastructure through ethernet or Wi-Fi. The second, more sophisticated stage is 5G cellular connectivity and computing power at the edge of the system. More computing power at your system’s edge helps you make smarter decisions by using real-time and historical data.
Of course, manufacturers that haven’t yet transitioned to IIoT capable devices are wondering what to do with their legacy equipment. Legacy hardware has stood the test of time, but it’s becoming obsolete, with replacement parts more difficult to find as well as more expensive.
Besides, legacy equipment didn’t provide the intelligence that’s required in modern factories. The sensors would only send back the primary current or voltage signal. And, seemingly “bulletproof” legacy equipment will eventually break down. The dilemma for managers: “Do I pay for a replacement or upgrade the system to a similar structure?” By upgrading to IIoT hardware, you’ll gain analytical insights that’ll reduce machine downtime in the long run.
“Do I pay for a replacement or upgrade the system to a similar structure?”
Achieve less downtime, higher productivity and higher profits
As more factories retire legacy systems and transition operations using industrial IoT hardware such as smart sensors and transducers, the payoff is less downtime, higher productivity and higher profits. But to make the transition more affordable, plan changes over time, not all at once. At Results Engineering, we work with clients in scores of industries to modernize factories using cutting-edge industrial IoT hardware, software and other Industry 4.0 technologies.
Common Industrial IoT Hardware Questions
Can my old hardware be used in the Industrial Internet of Things?
Due to cost considerations, this is a common question. Much of your old hardware is perfectly capable of functioning in a new IoT system. In fact, it is not only more affordable but also ideal to maintain much of your old hardware as it is already functioning the way you want. Now it’s time to bring that setup into the modern age of Industrial IoT.
If my data collection system already is receiving the sensor data, how is smart hardware going to make that better?
When it comes to smart IoT manufacturing, sensors are the pivotal part of the system. Devices such as power management modules, energy modules, and other sensing devices are the key to successful IoT integration.While existing sensors may work, they often don’t have the capabilities to feed the valuable data you need for effective IIoT.
Are there ways to keep my hardware but reap the IIoT benefits?
Whenever possible, we would rather you keep existing hardware so you can put the savings towards other important areas of your new IoT manufacturing implementation. We work with you to identify these pieces of hardware so you can make informed decisions.
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