Everybody is talking about IIoT, industry 4.0, the cloud and big data, leaving many plant managers wondering if these things will result in cost savings or cost sinks. Three additional trends are converging to help ensure that the IIoT and related innovations will deliver as promised.
First is advances in what we will call real-time accounting. Simply put this involves running business algorithms in process controllers, making it possible to see in real-time, the impact connected assets have on profitability.The second development is in the movement of the locus of control from plant-wide assets to individual units, selected based on their contribution to in plant profitability.And third is the evolution of IIoT-ready controllers, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and programmable automation controllers (PACs) that have been augmented with the bandwidth, connectivity and cybersecurity needed to take maximum, safe utilization of the process data from connected assets and run advanced applications that can truly optimize the entire enterprise.
The Modicon M580 Ethernet-enabled
programmable automation controller (ePAC)
platform from Schneider Electric possesses
industry-leading processing and memory,
as well as stronger embedded cybersecurity.
Such innovations are already contributing to the following kinds of benefits:• Increased productivity. Using IIoT-ready advanced PACs, a feed mill in Vietnam, for example, has achieved 3x faster feeds production. And by standardizing on one control products family, it has cut cabling costs significantly. Overall, the mill has increased production by 3 percent, and reduced costs by 30 percent.
Thus the increases in business value that can be derived from this new generation of controllers make upgrading easy to justify, even in times of continuing downward pressure on capital costs. With the right models, companies involved in brownfield or greenfield modernization automation projects may see 100% returns on their controller investment in as little as three months.
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