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How the Industrial Internet of Things is affecting food processing

January 9, 2018
Food & Drink

A good way to think of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is as an ever-expanding toolset to improve your operations. IIOT devices, such as industrial sensors, actuators, motors and controllers, are able to pass along safely and securely vital information that can help your plant run more efficiently and cost effectively.

Additionally, these tools are being designed to work in secure control environments. So, when all is said and done, the rewards derived from IIoT can be huge.

“Instrumentation and control engineers have their hands full figuring out new architectures, protocols, security, etc. to bring the IIoT to a practical reality,” says Steven L. Cook, principal engineer at Cook Process Solutions, LLC. “When they do, we’ll have an enormous amount of data that needs to be managed and processed into intelligible information to make decisions.”

Putting the right information in the hands of owners, operators and engineers will allow decisions and actions to increase efficiency and productivity and lower operating costs.

And IIoT can lend itself to incremental upgrades—as long as your equipment isn’t totally ancient. You don’t necessarily have to throw out everything and start over. So, the rest of this article will take a look at what can be accomplished, what IIoT technologies are necessary and what security technology may need upgrading or changing.

What is IIOT?

IIoT, Industry 4.0 and the cloud are often thrown together to define connected technologies that are capable of pulling in large amounts of data, analyzing it and providing valuable business information, for example, to improve processes, quality or maintenance activities. The cloud can be a misconstrued concept and is likely unique for each application and user, says Opto 22’s Arun Sinha, director, business development.

“Just as there is no single definition or use case of what an IIoT application is, the role of the cloud versus the edge will be different for specific companies,” says Sinha.

The term, “edge,” often refers to a server and/or gateway device that connects from a plant control system or enterprise system to an external system, say on the internet.

“And ‘cloud’ does not necessarily mean a server and storage somewhere outside the company firewall,” adds Sinha.

With an ever-increasing emphasis on the edge or the “fog,” often the cloud can be a “private cloud” within the company firewall and on premises. The role of the cloud can include storage, as well as data cleansing and processing, such as user-defined storage optimization, rules-based data reduction, etc. Analytics is a key element of cloud-based IIoT systems, says Sinha.

> Read the full article on the Food Engineering website

By Wayne Labs

Source: Food Engineering

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