Businesses these days are looking for that intelligent edge for their factories which will give them a leg up over the competition. Intelligent solutions that will increase efficiency to streamline their product output. But they fall short when they cannot tell the difference between an industrial space and a dedicated data center. This is especially true when they are trying to install local computing equipment. Making this error adds to their maintenance headaches and produces dismal network performance. Before we delve in any deeper, let us first get to know a few facts.
What is Internet of Things?
Since the term was coined in 1999, the Internet of Things has grown from a simple vision to a tangible reality. This is because of the widespread use of the Internet Protocol or IP. The emergence of universal computing, and the sustained progress of data analytics. It was predicted that by 2020, there will be 20.4 billion devices linked to the Internet of Things or IoT. But despite its constant development, the IoT is still an ambiguous notion. Something abstract, though its benefits can be seen in everyday life.
The Internet of Things can be defined as an added link to the internet. And other network connections to various sensors and devices, or “things” if you will. That allows even basic objects like lightbulbs, locks, and vents a greater level of computing and logical abilities. Smart devices can collate and disseminate data to other devices and networks. They can execute these activities with little or no need for human interference.
How does the IoT work?
The “things” that are connected to the IoT can be something as mundane as a fitness tracker to a complicated item like an autonomous vehicle. Regardless of what role they perform. There are a few basic components needed for these items to operate efficiently in their IoT environments.
Here are a few of them:
Data is primarily collated from the environment for the IoT system to start processing. This is done by sensors in devices that can measure perceptible events or shifts in the environment. The type of data being mapped depends on its function. It can be the human pulse in a fitness tracker or the distance to a certain point in an autonomous car.
Connection and Identification
The data needs to be transmitted from the device to the IoT system, be it a computer or any other device. And for this transfer of data to be comprehensible, there must be a singular definitive presence on the web that has its IP address.
IoT devices can perform their essential operations without a physical interface with their users. They can operate based on data from their sensors and feedback from the network. A smart lightbulb can be switched on at the behest of its user, even though its user is in another country. A valve in a smart factory can open or close, depending on the data collated by its sensors.
Though these devices are designed for automation, the supplemental tech must be paired with them for these devices to operate. These are some of those technologies:
This serves as a link for the data of various devices to get to the cloud. It also assists in interpreting the various protocols of devices into one singular protocol. It sifts out any irrelevant data accumulated by the devices.
The Cloud is where all the data from different devices is collated. And this is where software can access this data for processing. Almost all of the data processing takes place in the Cloud. This makes things easier on the devices.
This transmits the data collected by the devices to the users, letting them make the essential commands to be performed by the devices.
Now, what is an IIOT?
An IIOT or The Industrial Internet of Things, also called Industry 4.0. This refers to the extension and use of the Internet of Things in industrial fields and operations. With specific attention paid to machine-to-machine communication, big data, and machine learning. The IIOT makes businesses and industries more proficient and productive in their operations. The IIOT covers industrial operations like robotics, medical devices, and software-defined production processes.
The IIOT does not only serve everyday consumer devices commonly related to it. It is unique because it converges information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). Operational technology means the networking of operational methods and industrial control systems (ICS). This covers human-machine interfaces (HMI), supervisory control, and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Distributed control systems (DCS), and programmable logic controllers (PLC).
The intersection of IT and OT generates industries. They have higher system integration in automation and optimization. It also provides more enhanced clarity between the supply chain and logistics.
Understanding the Network Computing Challenges
With all edge locations, dedicated power back-up is needed. Thes avoid interruptions in utility power. This keeps it from affecting system availability when deploying IIOT in the factory or warehouse. But in manufacturing and automated warehouse conditions, power conditioning is even more essential. The gear operating in these locations can create electrical noise. This can interrupt IT equipment operation. Various kinds of UPS remedies apply several methods to power conditioning. And the kind of UPS chosen will dictate how efficient it is at eliminating power disruptions.
A lot of factory situations are incapable of controlling the temperature and humidity. In the parameters needed for sustainable IT equipment operation. When deploying IIOT in the factory or warehouse. Dedicated cooling is indispensable in most industrial conditions. This needs a strategy for heat dissimilation. Is it better to disperse heat directly into the atmosphere? Where it will be dissimilated through the HVAC system? Or is it better to duct it directly out of the warehouse?
Factories have a high density of dust in the air than data centers when deploying IIOT in the warehouse. These impurities affect the dependability and shelf life of IT gear when sucked into the equipment by server fans. Shielding IT gear needs dust-proof or sealed IT racks or enclosures. These are all needed to block impure air from getting to the equipment. With dedicated cooling added to the enclosure a clean, temperature-and-humidity-controlled atmosphere is achieved.
The basic theory of edge computing is to situate computing and storing equipment near the people and gear it supports. In manufacturing, this means keeping critical gear away from unauthorized personnel. Using cabinets with locks and employing sensors that alert you to breaches is essential. Securing all your mission-critical gear is important when deploying IIOTs in the factory or warehouse.
Network Infrastructure Visibility
All edge computing sites are situated in places where dedicated technological supplies are limited. Remote monitoring gives centralized IT experts a good look at equipment performance and environmental factors. This enables them to see if the gear is operating according to correct specifications. When outfitted with added sensors, remote monitoring can alert you to incidences that endanger your gear. This includes high temperatures, water intrusion, or unauthorized access.
Microdata Centers for Harsh Environments
Businesses that use smart manufacturing technology can identify specific elements that cater to obstacles. And create a solution that can manage the unfavorable atmospheres prevalent in manufacturing. But the ideal method is to secure an integrated micro data center solution. One that is targeted to provide excellent output and reliability.
These micro data center solutions utilize regulated IT-grade components. They allow the quick and duplicable implementation of edge computing in manufacturing. They use rackmount cooling, intelligent power distribution, and remote management. In a secure enclosure that is capable of aiding UPS systems. This depends on their range and the level of power conditioning needed.
When choosing a micro data center, pick a solution that allows for monitoring multiple data points from a single IP address. This will make management easier as the edge network grows. It also lowers expenses, since there is a fee for every IP address used in a network.
Keep in mind as well the maintenance requirements needed, like cleaning air filters and replacing UPS batteries. The union of remote monitoring and a service contract from a vendor. One that can respond immediately to on-site maintenance needs. Can drastically reduce the risk of batteries not living up to their prescribed run time.
The reality of deploying the Industrial Internet of Things in your factory or warehouse requires not only an intelligent and vigilant monitoring solution. It also needs to factor in certain elements that are less than desirable in a factory or warehouse setting. However, once implemented, the application of these technologies can assure you a more productive and efficient business, that will increase your revenue and maintain stability in your enterprise. We hope this article was both informative and helpful.