The fact that data is important to automation isn’t exactly news. Data is necessary in automation and motion control, but Industry 4.0 will elevate the importance of monitoring, storing, analyzing, and using data in automation. A recent report examining key trends in automation over the next 4 years listed data acquisition and data analysis as two of the main trends that will impact the motion control market. Since Industry 4.0 – which has a direct effect on changes in the manufacturing industry – emphasizes data, it should come as no surprise that data is set to have a big impact on the automation control market.
Cloud-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems basically allows an operator to monitor and control systems remotely via Internet. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things go hand-in-hand, and SCADA systems are necessary in getting a plant ready for the next industrial revolution.
A plant that truly embraces Industry 4.0 has to do more than just monitor data, however. It’s about storing, analyzing, and using that data in order to make changes and adjustments in real-time to benefit your production. Another big trend in automation is analytic software.
Analytic software will help identify and reduce errors, look for opportunities to increase efficiency, and help optimize production. Simply having a boatload of data won’t do you any good if you aren’t using it, and motion control systems can produce far too much data for humans to be able to pick out trends and inconsistencies without help. Having the right software allows you to make the most of your system’s data.
Of course, the increased importance of data in automation and the shift towards cloud-based storage, control and monitoring has led to concerns about security. The Internet allows for unprecedented communication and versatility, but having your machinery in a cloud-based network makes it more vulnerable to hackers. However cloud security technology is improving, and the benefits of IoT in manufacturing are far too great to not embrace Industry 4.0.