Enabling scalability for Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 uses the principle that automation facilitates scalability in manufacturing. That sounds great, but what do you need in your automation system itself to facilitate scalability? Could you be heading down a path of dead ends, replacements, downtime, higher costs, and yes, even some red faces?

WHEN SCALABLE ISN’T SCALABLE – Looking at the systems that are out there, especially across the SCADA / IIoT industry, some vendors offer products that claim to be “unlimited” or that come with all the licenses you-can-eat. However, when designers, integrators, and engineers specify and purchase these unlimited systems they often find that their goals are not met. They need to continually purchase more “unlimited” licenses to handle their system growth. To make matters worse, once the system outgrows the default “baby” historian it will require significant modification to migrate to an enterprise-level database. This process can result in data loss and downtime during the conversion process. Data can be very fickle.

REACTIVE PROGRAMMING – Systems that use reactive programming are far more extensible than those that don’t. What is reactive programming? In simple terms, this is a system that remains in a steady state until something changes. The change instigates an action. It is super-efficient, resulting in incredible capability to reliably handle vast quantities of data. This methodology is contrary to the more traditional approach of everything running in endless loops, whether anything has changed or not. Facebook and Google have latched on to this principle.

GO BIG OR GO HOME – In the future, having the ability to scale easily and reliably will be one of the cornerstones of the manufacturing industry. With the global population set to reach 10 billion by 2050 and food production alone to increase by 50%, scalability will separate the cans from the can-nots. Artificial intelligence and machine learning depend on high-quality data, with few—if any—gaps in the chain, to allow calculations to be carried out and intelligent decisions to be made.

FORWARD COMPATIBLE FOR LIFE – Trihedral was the pioneer of the reactive programming movement more than 35 years ago. This has helped their VTScada software become a leading SCADA platform that is used in mission critical systems globally. The same software that is installed on a tiny 1 or 2 I/O system can also be used for a 2 million I/O application; all in one easy install containing all core SCADA components. Our software is guaranteed to be forward compatible for life. Even very old applications can be easily migrated to the newest, bleeding-edge version. To be clear, large systems require multiple servers, partly to distribute the burden across physical servers, partly because it would be crazy to run a giant system on one server…even if you can! We like to tell it as it is. Truthfully. Don’t take our word for it, try it out yourself: https://www.vtscada.com/free-scada-software/

Pete is the Senior Manager of Global Partnerships and leads the Marketing Team. He joined Trihedral at the end of 2019, and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, having moved from Ireland in 2014. Pete brings with him over 30 years experience in the automation industry, most recently being the Director of Systems Engineering Solutions for Xylem. During this time, he worked closely with Trihedral on the development of the screen templates and interfaces for the MultiSmart Intelligent Pump Station Manager along with other applications such as the deployment of a large cloud based VTScada solution for the company. He has a strong background in SCADA, PLCs and system integration, having run a number of such businesses that covered the water, power, food/beverage and pharmaceutical industries. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation from the D.I.T. in Dublin, Ireland, along with degrees in Telecommunications & Electronics from the L.I.T. in Limerick, Ireland. Pete is also the producer and a presenter of The Automation Village! When he has time, he enjoys sound recording, video production, flying RC Planes, photography, doing goofy things (that he occasionally shares with us) and the outdoors. He also enjoys animatronics and 3D projection mapping. He has a bit of a reputation among his neighbours as being the ‘Clark Griswold’ of the area during both Halloween and Christmas, putting on some large light show productions.

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