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Trends in Industrial Automation

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Trends_in_Industrial_AutomationSlowly but surely the Automation industry is making advances.  Some areas of improvement like safety and efficiency seem to be second nature, while others such as mobile information and cloud systems can take some time adapting and using. Nonetheless, it is important to keep up on industry trends in order to advance your business and stay ahead of the competitor.

Advanced Safety

“Safety First” is a motto found on any factory floor.  However, it takes time and effort to pay attention to the changing best practices of safety and even more dedication to implement safety into the design of machines.  An important trend of advanced safety is to require safety assessment training for all engineers.  This type of training would give engineers the ability to foresee risk and create safety precautions into the design of the machine.  Optimizing HMIs is a great way to keep operators safe by providing them with all necessary information and alerting them of hazards.  

Energy Efficiency

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 42% of global electricity is consumed by industries and 70% of that is generating motor driven applications.  Electrical motors could be the future of energy savings but it could take years of implementation and retrofitting before any real change is seen.  One reason to care about making your factory energy efficient is the cost savings.  Saving energy is a great way to cut costs, but you need to be able to cut the costs while getting the job done in the most efficient way.  Smarter Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) can cut energy use by eliminating the need for many individual remote I/O modules.  Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) can reduce energy consumptions anywhere between 25-70%. 

Mobility of Information

No longer will operators have to be stationary.  With the mobility of information on smart phones, tablets, and other mobile devices, accessing work apps is easier than ever before.  In a plant, apps can help with everything from viewing manuals to monitoring key performance indicators to receiving notifications about safety alarms. 

Cloud Systems

Alongside the increasing trend of mobile devices, staying connected through a Cloud system is also trending.  Cloud technology in an Industrial Automation setting can help connect everyone on one system resulting in increased productivity.  Cloud technology can also save time and money with the ability to troubleshoot machine problems remotely.  

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