The essence of industrial data communication
Data communication is a process of transmitting data signal from one point to another through the network. In the light of high automation of industrial data systems, efficient communication between the devices is crucial not only for ensuring a correct operation, but also for the supervision and control of these processes.
As a rule, the communications between devices are carried out via the use of variable industrial communications protocols - the set of rules that enables to transfer and exchange the data between the devices that are meant to communicate.
Networking technology continues to play a vital role in the manufacturing industry, especially mechanical and plant engineering, and provides connectivity of physical and smart devices with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and networks. Data communication must be reliable, stable, safe, and powerful.
The objective of such communication is to seamlessly combine functional data exchange and high availability automation technology in order to enable transparent and efficient communication. To achieve that, the companies should develop the concepts that cover the aspects of maintenance, administration capability, fault-free operation, and data security for planning and integration of the data architectures.
Why to build up a fully automated industry?
To create a fully automated industry would mean to ensure the interconnection of the isolated operational systems, a more efficient management of production processes, and a better availability of information from field devices throughout the plant. When the first steps towards the innovations were made, automation was limited to local control of specific machines, leading to automatic systems isolated from each other that were unable to share information to optimize the development of work on a larger scale.
Eventually, the big players of the industry came up with the urgent need to integrate the information between plants and factories of the same group.
It’s a well-known fact that industrial communication networks are vital for successful digital transformation, building the basis for consistent, end-to-end integration, digitalization and optimization of the entire value chain, including external suppliers. Hence, unlimited data consistency and transparency based on an industrial communication network creates the ground for highly efficient interoperability across all automation components. In such a way, the companies can skillfully utilize their production plants and respond more flexibly than ever to market demands.
What are the key values of industrial data communication?
Value is achieved by exchanging data using an IT infrastructure. For example, remote experts provide access to systems, regardless of their location. Also, they can access data sent continuously from machines or comparable systems to a central history server. Deriving patterns in errors quickly becomes possible through the immediate access to machine data.
The added value of accessible machine data increases as the number of systems that can be analyzed also increases.
The well-established connection of office and data center networks to automation networks is a major challenge for companies – especially in the view of the tasks involved with the digitalization of industry and the accompanying comprehensive networking of all corporate areas and the extensive exchange of data.
All in all, data communication allows businesses to reduce expenses and improve efficiency by sharing data and common equipment among many different computers. At the same time, the network may be connected through cables, telephone lines, infrared beams, which is cheaper and helps to reduce the expenses.
So, why to consider investing in industrial data communication?
You are getting faster data collection;
Computing facilities are made available to many potential users;
Standby facilities are made available in the event of breakdown peak loads;
Information is more readily available to whoever may require it;
Reduction in hardware costs, although there is considerable trend towards having microcomputers at various locations carrying out basic processing, but linked to the central computer.
Today’s data communications are characterized by an environment consisting of a group of interacting components such a business, technology and research, standards-making organizations, regulatory agencies, and common carriers. The state of the overall industry at any time is the product of the interaction of these components.
To be an effective participant in the data communications field, one must be aware of the forces at work that are shaping the industrial data systems. The integrated nature of the network layer of an information systems architecture is mirrored in the skills required of today’s data communications professionals.