Digitalisation, Industry 4.0, IoT – or whatever you chose to call it – is all about one thing: data. How do you get it and what do you do with it when you have it? The reality is that without reliable measurement of what is happening in the process, you can’t really adopt a consistent approach to gathering your data. As an industry, we don’t take up the advantage of using intelligence in the field, whether that be in the form of analogue HART based instruments or digital instruments.
Connecting Your Process Plant to IOT Applications
In my experience of discussions with customers, I often get asked three questions: what are the benefits of digital instrumentation? How can I simply my approach? And what can I do with the data?
What are the benefits of digital instrumentation?
Quite simply, you get more than the key process measurements; you get supplementary data that allows you to piece together a clearer picture of the process and importantly maintenance of your assets. An example of this is Profibus PA based Coriolis meters that provide up to 18 process variables. This allows you to deliver predictive maintenance approaches, giving the opportunity to increase plant uptime and reduce costs of maintenance by only doing it when you need to.
How can I simplify my approach?
Digital instrumentation has been labelled as being ‘complex’ due to its network philosophy and early bad experiences with this approach. However, technology is changing this and with the increased use of Profinet as the backbone to a PA based instrumentation network, you can easily deliver and maintain such a solution, without the historic considerations of a Profibus DP based solution. Basically, reduce your infrastructure, simplify connectivity and get more data.
What can I do with the data?
Data alone doesn’t help. It needs to be contextualised over a period to become proactive, actionable information that has direct impact and benefit to the process and associated assets.
All this needs to be carried out without disturbing plant operations. Profinet and its increased bandwidth enables this and opens up the opportunity to proactively engage in an information driven way to plant operations, manufacturing and maintenance. A simple example of this is being able to serve information in a user-friendly way to allow maintenance and operational decisions to be easily actioned without increasing complexity.
If you want to know more, please feel free to ask or check out my online video tutorials here https://new.siemens.com/uk/en/products/automation/process-instrumentation/smart-instruments.html