True plug and play technologies are able to integrate with equipment from all vendors, eliminating any integration headaches and potential issues. They can also deliver a quality and performance that matches plant requirements exactly. Although the concept of true, open, plug and play technologies might sound idealistic to many, it is a growing trend for many manufacturers of industrial automation solutions, such as intelligent drives and remote monitoring software.
Experienced and independent systems integrators such as Boulting Technology are experts at recommending the best system for a plant’s unique requirements and capabilities. This includes ensuring the seamless integration of plug and play, out-of-the-box systems, while retaining the cybersecurity and tried and tested processes from the existing system.
As plants are constantly being upgraded and technology is evolving, the choice of products, services, software and hardware is becoming ever more complicated. Retrofitting existing systems with new sensors and communication software is therefore becoming more popular each year, as it is often a far cheaper solution. However, even within the retrofitting sector, vendor lock in can be an issue.
The choice to retrofit plug and play technology, which requires less complex integration and user training, can continue to ensure cybersecurity through consistent protocols and firewalls. This is proving to be the best solution for many plants as a means of lowering costs associated with industry 4.0.
About the author:
Nick Boughton is sales manager at Boulting Technology - www.boultingtechnology.co.uk