Trends in industrial communication 2012 | Automation.com

Trends in industrial communication 2012

March 192012

March 2012

By Staffan Dahlström, CEO at HMS Industrial Networks

Despite a turbulent market, we saw a growing interest in industrial communication solutions in 2011. As the number of industrial networks keeps increasing, automation companies need to make sure that they stay updated and compatible with the dominant networks on the different markets. During 2011, we saw several trends on the industrial automation market that increase the need for connectivity.

More Networks
First, the amount of industrial networks keeps increasing and there are today some 70 different networks available [source: Wikipedia]. This is challenging for manufacturers of industrial machinery since they need to be compatible with even more networks.

Faced with the overwhelming task of keeping track of all networks themselves, more and more device manufacturers and system integrators are looking for ways to outsource the responsibility of network connectivity and focus on their core business.

Going green

Saving energy is also a hot topic for many industrial companies — both in order to meet the demands of new legislation and to help save our environment.  A stand-alone protocol converter can offer quick connectivity to energy profiles and circuit breakers and solve real, concrete problems for users.

Remote management solutions also save companies lots of unnecessary travelling and allow them to reduce their carbon footprint.

Integrated safety

Another clear trend in the industry is the move towards integrated safety networks. Safety functions have previously been separate networks, but are now being integrated into factory mainlines.

However, integrating a safety network into a standard network is not always easy and this puts tough requirements on small and medium-sized companies. Also here, it will be beneficial for companies to outsource their connectivity issues and get quick and easy connectivity to safety networks.

Increasing need for remote management
As more and more companies want to streamline their operations, Remote management solutions can offer them a way to gain better control over field equipment and make substantial cost savings.  We see the interest in remote management steadily increasing, not only in the automation business, but also in adjacent industries such as power generation and building automation.

All in all, these trends work favorably for industrial communication and we foresee these trends to continue in 2012.
 

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