News from PI UK
Talking Industry: Industrial Networks, IIOT, and Communications
Talking Industry is a new way of engaging with an audience of automation engineers. During the lockdown, technical publishers needed to find new ways of engaging with their readership, many of whom worked from home or even in furlough.
After two successful events in 2020, six events were planned for 2021. The first of these was held in January, on the topic of Industrial Networks, IIoT, and Communications. The panel included Chris McComb – Managing Director of systems integrator ITech and represented PI UK.
The panel focused on three broad areas: first steps, enabling technologies, and moving data through the enterprise. Each speaker led on one of these topics, with the other speakers and chairman contributing as required.
The session’s format attracted a wide range of expertise amongst the 170 attendees, from novice to expert, and the questions reflected that. In the first section, all the speakers agreed that the best way to initiate Industry 4.0 techniques is to start simple and take small steps. Even small steps will show a benefit immediately, often with minimal outlay.
Chris McComb led the middle session on enabling technologies. “Every manufacturer, every type of network, every age of machine – all of that can be connected,” says Chris. “Brownfield sites ones will be a mix of technologies.”
If you are taking all your data from the network, the network itself must be healthy. An industrial plant may be new or old. Good infrastructure needs constant health checks, with preventative maintenance on the technology, the hardware, the systems, and mechanical parts. But networks are often overlooked – network infrastructure can be copper, it can be fiber, it can be wireless, and it is usually a mix of all those different technologies. PI UK recommends frequent health checks on the network, at least annually.
News from PI Brazil
PI Brazil Re-Elects Board of Directors for the Biennium 2020-2022
On October 2, 2020, PI Brazil held a General Meeting online with its members to approve the 2019 accounts. During the meeting, the participants also voted for the continuity of the Board of Directors in the management of the Association for the biennium 2020-2022.
The Executive Board remained the same, with André Petroff, CEO; Adilson Peres Junior, vice-president treasurer; and Alexandre Oliveira, vice-president secretary.
New Brazil Working Group Dedicated to Industry 4.0
Formed by associated companies, the new Industry 4.0 Working Group in Brazil is developing actions to demonstrate that PI technologies are enabling Industry 4.0 applications.
Industry 4.0 has been changing the industrial sector for a long time, even before it was a concept. Implementing industry 4.0 trends is a continuous process of applying technologies focused on improving procedures, optimizing production, and reducing failures through an efficient connection between physical and virtual systems.
According to André Petroff, CEO of PI Brazil, the use of industrial communication networks in the field is already consolidated. However, there are obstacles to implementing more comprehensive applications, such as Industry 4.0 connectivity. Petroff explains that the use of enabling technologies for Industry 4.0 goes through several stages, such as the measurement of the maturity level of industrial processes, the planning (‘where am I?’ and ‘where am I going?’), and calculations of return on investment (ROI) that consider opportunity costs.
“To help the market choose the right investment and the best connectivity strategy, the Association has created a Working Group that is developing presentations on how its protocols – PROFIBUS DP/PA, PROFINET, PROFIsafe, and IO-Link – are enabling technologies for Industry 4.0, directly or indirectly. For example, in cases of production batch variations or even batch size one, IO-Link allows to diverse sensor parameters and field devices for different applications”, André Petroff adds.
The Industry 4.0 Working Group is formed by associated companies, which have referenced the document “How to Navigate in the Digitization of the Industrial Sector,” created by McKinsey consultancy, to identify industrial segments where there is a connection between PI technologies and Industry 4.0.
“In parallel to the Working Group, PI Brazil continues its actions focused on protocol integrations with OPC UA, TSN, and 5G standards, also observing aspects related to cybersecurity and compatibility with IT standards. And all this while maintaining the high performance that serves the market today,” concludes Petroff.
New AS-I Working Group
AS-Interface is an intelligent solution for communication at the lower fieldbus level. It connects sensors and actuators to the master controller efficiently, transferring power and signals over the same cable.
The demand for this technology – easy to apply, low installation cost, and flexible, among other characteristics – has increased. PI Brazil is empowered to promote AS-I locally by expanding its agenda to disseminate good practices of use, according to international standards, and creating an AS-I Working Group.
Formed by nine associated companies – Dimensional, Festo, ifm electronic, Lapp Group, Nova Smar, Pepperl+Fuchs, Sense, Siemens, and Westcon – the AS-I Working Group meets periodically. They have been developing presentations, articles, documentation, and cases on many different topics, including an especial focus on ASi-5.
“We are preparing to hold more webinars and technology-related events in 2021, and to survey data on numbers of nodes installed,” explains Vinicius Lopardo, director of AS-I Technology at the Association and ifm marketing manager.
On October 21, 2020, the Marketing Manager of the AS-International Association, Tilman Shcinke, spoke to the group about exploring the theme and the materials to be used, aiming to expand the documentation offerings and promote actions to expand and consolidate the technology in the national territory.
National Survey of Installed AS-I Nodes
In November 2020, the AS-Interface Working Group initiated a data survey on numbers of AS-I nodes installed in Brazil. The information refers to 2019. It was collected from associates who already employ the technology (about 10% of the association’s staff).
The research, scheduled to end in April 2021, is the beginning work of statistics that PI Brazil is compiling. The project will gather data from other industrial communication networks that the Association promotes, such as PROFIBUS and PROFINET, whose survey should begin in March 2021, considering the installed nodes of 2019 and 2020.
With the creation of a history series, PI Brazil will have an updated diagnosis of the Brazilian automation system and, thus, can define strategies to identify and minimize problems in the sector, improve and expand the participation of technologies, and generate greater productivity and business opportunities to users.