The amount of money expended on research and development for commercial technology exceeds the size of the industrial automation market. As many as 20 years ago, suppliers and engineers working in industrial automation began considering ways to leverage all that work for their own purposes.
The problem was that commercial computers and surrounding technology were considered too fragile and unreliable for use in manufacturing and production. And for the most part, that was true. That was then—this is now. Commercial technologies have solidified. Engineers have also figured out better ways to adopt them. We are light-years past the original “PC-based Control” days of 1995.
Ethernet has become the de facto enterprise network. And for good reason. It is a platform easily built upon. It is robust, adaptable, reliable. Therefore, the continuing interest you have in the information Automation World provides in many formats—from print to podcasts to Webcasts. A series of podcast interviews I made in 2007 continue to be downloaded to this day.
One of the beauties of Ethernet is the ease of adding peripherals to the network. Smart devices are easily plugged into a switch and ready to go. Networks can be reconfigured on the fly—upgraded and ready for the next level of sophistication.
This month, series Contributing Editor Terry Costlow shows how suppliers have developed peripherals and extensions to Ethernet networks, and how engineers are applying them. This is truly a great advance as control and information continue to provide advanced and effective manufacturing.
On-demand podcast on Ethernet, with Gary Mintchell interviewing Advantech Corp.'s Paul Wacker: http://bit.ly/awpod_037