Embark on a journey through the evolution of industrial automation as we unravel the mysteries of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) on ECO Ask Why. Prepare to trace the lineage of innovation from the days of clunky relays to the sleek, data-driven era of programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and sophisticated control system.
We're not stopping at the hardware; we delve into the networking revolution that's interlinking machines and churning out data at an unprecedented rate. Yes, this data is the new gold, and with the aid of trailblazers like HMS Networks and their offerings, we're dissecting how this precious resource is being mined, refined, and put to work turbocharging manufacturing efficiencies.
In our latest installment, the spotlight shines on the unsung heroes of industrial automation—interoperability and standardization. These twin pillars have knocked down walls between disparate systems, thanks to common languages like Ethernet IP.
As we peer into the crystal ball of manufacturing's future, the shimmer of edge computing, the allure of AI, and the promise of 5G beckon, foretelling a saga of operational wizardry and split-second strategy. So buckle up, because this episode is an electrifying ride through the past, present, and future of industrial automation that is sure to ignite your imagination and fuel your curiosity.
Remember to keep asking why...
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Host: Chris Grainger
Welcome to ECO Ask why, a podcast that dives into industrial manufacturing topics and spotlights the heroes to keep America running. I'm your host, chris Granger, and on this podcast we do not cover the latest features and benefits on products that come to market. Instead, we focus on advice and insight from the top minds of industry, because people and ideas will be how America remains number one in manufacturing in the world. Welcome to ECO Ask why. I'm your host, chris Granger. Let's jump in. Alright, we're excited to have everyone here today and hoping that you're liking the new format of ECO Ask why. No, it's a little bit different than what we've done in the years past, but we're just having a lot of fun digging deep and trying to provide you with information and insight that's gonna help you grow. We start off this new series of this format with the installed asset analysis, and we really broke that down on what that looks like. So hopefully you know if you're interested in installed asset analysis, we have the team ready and capable and willing to jump in and serve. And then we started talking about mastering system designs and going taking things from the concept to reality, which builds on a lot of tools within the electric equipment company that we use to help you design the most efficient systems out there. And then last month we talked about a deep dive into smart motor protection and for something for me that was just close, so close to my heart as someone who's worked in close to a motors for electric motors for years and ran our motor service division, was blessed to be able to be a part of that, to have that conversation around smart motor protection and how the technology has changed. What an incredible one. So if you haven't had a chance to listen to some of these recent episodes, go back and check it out in our catalog. It's a great way to get connected, okay. Now today we're going to be talking into we diving deep into, industrial automation. We're talking specifically with around IIoT solutions Okay, that's the industrial Internet of Things. Okay, and we'll be really focusing on how revolutionizing manufacturing starts with efficiency and connectivity, and there's a lot of innovation that's taking place to get us there. So we're going to get right into it, because there's a lot of information to look at here to hopefully help you a more prepared and equipped user of this technology in the future, because we know, if we look at that, the tapestry of industrial automation, when the ad that of the industrial Internet of Things happened, that was a revolutionary time and it really has created such a ripple inside manufacturing because it's reshaped the very fabric of how processes are done and how they're thought of and then how they're both, at the end of the day, how they're executed and learned from. So, being an distributor at an electrical equipment company we've been in business for almost a hundred years, so just think through all the different evolutions we've walked aside with manufacturers on that has forged that path. One IOP on at a time, one relay, one wire at a time. To me that's the cool part. It really is. And we see over and over again as more and more data, more, more IOP points, the need for more information, happens. There's a need to connect this data systems and that's led us to partnerships with many businesses out there. One of them is called HMS Networks. They have innovative solutions like the E1, any bus that are leading the charge, and connectivity and interoperability solutions, because this is crucial. You have to be connected, but you also have to be able to operate on multiple systems and as we delve deeper here today, we're talking about industrial automation, we're going to explore some of these nuances of IIOT and we're going to think about the future. I'll really put your future vision casting caps on for a minute and we're going to look at the role of connectivity. It's not just a necessity but as a strategic imperative as you move forward. Okay, so we're going to dig right into this, let's get going. So let's talk about the evolution of industrial, of automation, rather in industrial manufacturing. Okay, so there has been an evolution. So, if you think about automation in industrial manufacturing, it's been one of ingenuity, progress, of constant changing, and it can trace its roots way back to a time where the plant floor was dominated by hard wired relays and control systems. Right, that's. And I think about the days of the plants that I'd go to. There was an old textile plant, the whole town I grew up and there were lots of cabinets and relay cabinets and filled with wires going everywhere. Right, and that's how. That's how it worked. Right, and it's infancy automation. Look basic, it was a lot of mechanization and you know, there's lots of things. This did this, this, this, this, and you could. You could literally see how the, how the logic worked. It was effective, but not the most efficient. So things had started evolving, improving efficiency and and that was the focus that's what we see today. Right, because we see the sophistication in the technology that we have. And you saw, as you start thinking about technology in the, in the on the plant four, automation began advancing as well, and it began from those hard wire controls to the integration of PLCs, programmable logic controllers, and brought a new level of flexibility and precision to the plant floor directly. We see that, and this, this transformative, transformative journey, continued with the innovation of, like CNC control systems, and that that enabled automation with complex tasks and machining and manufacturing right there on the plant floor. But when he started thinking about it, sit back. The real watershed moment for industrial automation arrived when you started having network systems. This is what this is, this is really cool. Machines began communicating with each other and this changed the basic assumptions of everything and right there we saw the birth of an industrial Internet of Things. So this is where we now have the need for data, because data, the way we use it, is to life blood of industrial processes. So we kind of see that evolution. So it's going to come a long ways, right, bless all those days of the relay logic where we can go replace relays and things like that and trace stuff out. Now you can just jump on a network and you can see what's going on. You can make enhancements, you can make improvements, you can correct items. It's really just fascinating what you think about it, right. So now let's think about it from this standpoint. You have the rise of IOT right. But they're at the core. There's a parallel to its cousin, probably its big cousin, consumer IOT. Let's think about that for a second. So you have these IOT type of technologies and requirements on the platform. Now it's gain prominence, but its roots, if you really think about the roots, they were intertwined as the industrial internet of things. The IOT impacted our daily lives. It really did right and start thinking about this the presence of your smartphone and the smart devices that we have in our homes. That ushered in a whole new era. I'm not sure if it's always good, but always it ushered in a new era, one way or the other, of connectivity and our user experience, and we started having different expectations. We just did because the things that we experienced in our personal life, we want to see that in our industrial manufacturing environments as well. Right, we wanted that. So that experience of the homeowner began to change and their unique experiences for the plant user did well, did as well. Think about from the homeowner standpoint you have the smart thermostat, right, he has the smart receptacles. And then you start thinking about the way our homes are connected now with advanced surveillance security systems. These systems are relatively cheap, right, compared to what they were 10, 20 years ago. And this expectation of being able to listen, to connect, to understand what's going on with the plant and inside your home at all times, that started shifting from home sweet home to home. To now we're home, sweet, connected home, right, and we start thinking about these interfaces that we deal with every day now, right, we have real time access to data, seamless connectivity. I mean, kids can connect to stuff, right, and consumers are just enjoying it in our daily lives because it's created better experiences for us. And guess what? All of a sudden started creating the same type of expectation for plant managers and industrial operators. It did, and this shift necessitated a response for manufacturers to start integrating this consumer driven advancements into industrial processes. That's what we see the smart factory Boom. It started coming out. We did, we started mirroring the conveniences of efficiency that IOT had brought into our homes home to the floor and manufacturers. They started facing the challenge of this transforming traditional siloed systems where you just did this one process here and this is all you focused on To now everything's interconnected. You have interconnected ecosystems where machines communicate in real time and we start thinking about how this is kind of mirroring the inter-connectedness of our devices and really it's mind blowing. And you have devices like E1, any bus solutions from HMS. They have enablers to be able to make these connections happen in the first place, because you got to have infrastructure. That infrastructure has to be there to bridge the gap between legacy systems and the evolving industrial landscape, and it's just really interesting. We start thinking about the history of it and the rise of IOT and how everything ties together with our IOT expectations these days. It was just a matter of time, it was going to hit the plant floor and that kind of leads us too. Two key points that we need to think about. If you're in your fear of manufacturing plant today, that you must address. And when you look at manufacturers, you start evaluating vendors, you start talking to your distributors. Hopefully you're talking to a national equipment company. We love to come in and help you think about connectivity and interoperability Because, as you had that, iot Rise more and more and more, you have a lot of different manufacturers and solution providers Contributing unique technologies and protocols the deplet that you could use on the plant floor Okay, which is cool. But this created a little bit of a challenge Because you know there wasn't always standardized data formats and communication protocols, so that really hindered a lot of this seamless interoperability. That's why you can hear a certain one this manufacturer can only plays with this manufacturer. There's a little bit of truth to that, because manufacturers found themselves kind of grappling with each other with all these different proprietary systems that could not communicate with each other. At the end of the day, that's not getting stuff done. So, recognizing the need for a common language on the plant floor Industry leaders and organizations they advocated for standardization. That was huge, that was a big, big deal. So you had common communication protocols such as Ethernet, ip, right, and that became pivotal to achieving interoperability. Then you have solutions like that we talked about HMS is you wanted any bus? They have a commitment to open standards and they position themselves as a facilitator of this interoperable landscape Because, when you start thinking about it, these solutions not only support various industrial protocols, but also provide gateways that at this translators. So devices are different. With those different communication standards that you had, back in a day Maybe they can be able to exchange data more efficiently and effortlessly. And this created, when you start thinking about connectivity and interoperability, a unified, interoperable industrial ecosystems where you have these machines with these different manufacturers, everything seamlessly connects. You have, at that point, you have, a agile, responsive Manufacturing environment and that is really what you're after. You want that system, that you have to be reliable, we know that, but it also has to be connected. It's gonna give you the data that you need and you don't want a bunch of hoops to jump through. This is why solutions like this matter. Then you start thinking about the data. Because it's all about the data. Right, because you had this interconnectivity of devices, you have the standardization of protocols. Right, you felt that we find ourselves often on the plant floor flooded, flooded with Just data that we just can't do enough with. Right, it's just, it's coming in faster we can never do anything with. So then you had IIoT solutions that became not just conduits but managers of that data to try to put that data in the right places so we can make the best informed decisions in the moment and we start thinking about the volume, the sheer volume of data generated on the plant floor each day, from machine machine performance metrics to environmental conditions. This creates so great opportunities for sure, to learn, to grow, to adapt, to take, to take, to make the Adjustments in your process to really be as efficient as possible, but it also creates challenges. Right, because it really does, because what you start equipping advanced data management capabilities all these machines, you better be able to move that data where it's needed the most, where you can start using Historians and integrate into cloud solutions to be an integral part of your automation system. Right, because you get so to think about that. You make sure you're having the right tools in the right places to extract the meaningful information. So you got to get the data that you want, but then you have to move it to where you can actually make better decisions and talk about, you know, predictive, maintenance and optimization processes and Enhancing your overall operational excellence. You have to be able to do all that. You have to get that data in the right places and this is where the data deluge and all being able to understand the data on the better standpoint matters, because Another thing to consider we're set you have as an industrial manufacturer these days that you didn't have to really think about 20, 30, 40 years ago is cybersecurity Right? You having this data, you put this data on this cloud. Is it safe? So, making sure you have solutions and providers and manufacturers out there and partners like EECA who understand this need and help, and let us come alongside of you to incorporate the robust security measures, because you need to make sure that your data has complete integrity, first and foremost, but also needs to be confidential, because industrial data is sensitive. It can be your intellectual property, so that IP matters. So secure, remote access, encrypted communication, proactive cybersecurity features they have to be pillars that you are not going to waver. They have to be in place to stand against those cybersecurity threats. Those threats are real. So when you start thinking about the manufacturers that you're partnering with, make sure that they embrace these ideas as well when they start looking through the solutions for the IOT. Now let's think about the future and think about some trends and predictions. As we move forward, as we kind of cast out, we'll do some future casting, start thinking about industrial manufacturing landscape. Several trends start emerging. They do. They come up as catalysts for future evolution, particularly in industrial automation. So you have items like edge computing. So you have that's characterized by decentralized data processing, and that promises in itself to reduce latency right. But it hits real time decision making capabilities. That's real, that edge computing solutions are out there, so start thinking about that. This is going to be part of your industrial landscape moving forward. Then you have artificial intelligence. Let's just be real. Ai is going to hit the floor. It already has as many places, but it's coming. And that's woven directly into the fabric of IOT, right. It has the potential to transform data into actionable insights. You really start thinking about driving efficiency and innovation. Ai is going to be at the core of a lot of stuff. When you start thinking about implementing 5G technology further, that really does a lot for your plan as well, because that's the foundation of IOT, right. Because you want to make sure you have fast, more reliable communication between these connected devices. And so I'm telling you, as you future cast and start thinking about what's to come and where do you want your plan to be in the future different types of technology. I'd be like to get this data. What about this data? How can we make this machine more connected? You may get overwhelmed and I want to encourage you. The team at Electric Equipment Company continues to provide work with partners such as HMS to help you understand the different solutions available to address this IOT initiatives this is happening very fast and the commitment to staying ahead of these technological changes. That's where we live, because we want to make sure you, as the industrial manufacturer, can confidently navigate the evolving landscape and start leveraging, using some of this technology in your operations that's available, that just a few years ago wasn't so. Really, what are here for you because I want you to think about as we come to the end of this conversation? The journey from industrial historically, the way stuff was done with industrial automation to the present is really a testament to the industry itself, its adaptability and its resilience. I mean I think about my dad as an industrial technician back in the 80s and 90s and the technology that they had available and how that evolution changed. I mean at one point they had a PLC on everything except the Coke machine. I mean it was crazy just to see how all that connectivity, all the blue hose that's inside those plants and now you look at a manufacturing plant today. That is the expectation it really is. You start thinking about man. All these devices are connected now and I'm able to pull data from this. Like we talked about last month, this simple motor starter that I never could imagine getting this amount of data from before, and I get into all my motors and I can pull this in historians and try to get and run trends and to predictive Analysis. And it's just when you start thinking of it that way. It's just really cool sometimes to sit back and think about the technology, because so much of this technology is a strategic imperative for our growth and as you, as you start navigating the complexities of the few of the future and data management, interoperability, cybersecurity you gotta have solutions and more important solution providers At your disposal. That's gonna work alongside with you as a partner to help you make the right decisions. But again, that's what we do at eco. We have experts designed in each one of these areas. Maybe you have a question like we've been talking about this for this month industrial automation. We have those guys and girls ready to come support you. Maybe you want to talk about motor circuits. Well, we're ready there as well. How about motor control centers? Yep, got those resources available? How about power management and switch gears? How about? How about motor relays? How about Smart meters? How about HM, us? Whatever you're thinking about from an industrial automation standpoint, we have team members trained and ready and most of the time locked and loaded with Demo's to bring and show you. So this is what it's all about, because edge computing, artificial intelligence, 5g all this innovation is coming and we are here. We're learning with you. We're learning to be able to bring out the best, the latest, the greatest to help you, because we are Unwavering in our commitment as Solution partners with you, because we want to give you an advance, an edge on all the different competitors that you're fighting against, and we want to be your partner. So you just transform a journey, so, as you start thinking about IIoT and everything in front of you and the right solutions, industrial manufacturers cannot only adapt, but you can thrive in your pursuit of excellence. This is not something you have to do kicking and screaming. You get to do this willingly, because it's gonna make you better In understanding the different technologies. This is what industrial distributors like electrical equipment company, do best. So I'd encourage you to reach out to us. Let us know if you, if you have a particular solution or a process that you need help with, we're here, we're ready to serve. We're ready to jump in to hit it head on with you to give you some wisdom, to give you some insight, to give you some discernment, to give you some ideas to help you think outside the box. We even have innovative labs in place where you can come, you can try out, try it for yourself. Let's put your, your case study against this technology. Let's see if this technology will give you what you need to make the best decisions moving forward. That's what it's about. You're gonna start asking more from your vendors and trusting their expertise To make the best decisions moving forward. That's what it's all about. So hopefully, you're enjoying the new format of eco s. While we definitely are, I'm enjoying doing it. It's just cool to have eco s while back again, again you will. You can give us a rating and review that helps for sure. Share this out with other, many with other, with others in manufacturing. We'd love to just, you know, take this message and get it out as many people as we can. If that's something we can come help you with, we have. We have team members ready to come to your industrial manufacturing site, particularly if you are in the southeastern United States. That's what we are Predominantly serve the bet the most. So let us know if we can serve you there. If we can come, we can help you. Yeah, we have labs. We have labs in Virginia, we have labs in North Carolina, south Carolina. So we have labs that you could come to, where you can get hands-on. So if you're interested in that, we'll put a link in the show notes for you to go check that out as well. So lots of solutions, lots of experts, lots of manufacturers and different types of solution providers that can help you make the best decisions that you can moving forward. So we'll love to help you, love to serve you, love to help just jump in any way possible. So again, thank you for listening to eco s why. If you enjoyed this one, let us know. We love to hear from you. It really would be interesting to hear your feedback. And if you have a topic or area that you'd like some some, some supporter expertise in and you maybe want us to do an episode about it, send it, let us know, send us an email, connect with us. We'll have links here to show those for you. Go do that, okay, so have a great day. Thank you so much for tuning in and remember to keep asking why. Thank you for listening to eco s why this show is supported ad free by electrical equipment company. Eco is redefining the expectations of an electrical distributor by placing people and ideas before products. Please subscribe and share with your colleagues and friends. Also leave comments, feedback, any new topics that you would like to hear. To learn more or to share your insights, visit eco s why Com that's ee co, asks Hycom.