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Cybersecurity Benefits of a CNC Retrofit

Fanuc’s Panel i Replacement Program ensures that industrial PCs attached to computer numeric control machines can receive vital cybersecurity updates.

Paneli Angle Windows10

With high-profile cyberattacks growing in frequency, industry has become all too aware of the potential dark side of internet-connected devices. While plant-floor networks were once air-gapped to separate them from enterprise networks, this approach has become untenable, as the core functionality of Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives are built on integration between operations technology (OT) and IT.

As a result, defense-in-depth strategies have grown in popularity. These approaches seek to use intentional redundancies at every layer of a system down to the device level to ensure security. In the case of an internet-connected device such as a CNC machine, this can be achieved via routine cybersecurity updates to the industrial PCs (IPCs) they are outfitted with. However, in some cases, these IPCs may run outdated operating systems that are no longer supported. As a result, cybersecurity updates may not be available, rendering important factory assets vulnerable to potential breaches.

While replacing machinery entirely can be expensive and time-consuming, a relatively straightforward retrofit may be able to avoid the need for this. For example, through its Panel i Replacement Program, Fanuc provides IPCs equipped with touch or non-touch LCD displays, solid-state drives, and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise for CNC machines running on obsolete operating systems such as Windows 7, XP, or older. These older operating systems are no longer supported by Microsoft, and therefore are not furnished with cybersecurity updates.

“To stay competitive, you need real-time operational information from your CNC machines to make data-driven decisions,” said Jon Heddleson, general manager of factory automation for Fanuc America. “But we realize there is a lot of legacy CNC equipment still in use today. To fill this critical cybersecurity need, this program allows Fanuc CNC users to unlock Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) advantages by connecting their machines to the business network in a safe and secure way.”

Once CNC equipment receives the appropriate cybersecurity updates, it is able to securely collect and transmit production data. Fanuc’s replacement panels are available in multiple sizes and come equipped with Gigabit Ethernet ports. 

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