Totally Integrated Automation: Is it time to Upgrade to an Integrated System?

Posted by Advanced Controls & Distribution on Jun 9, 2017, 7:49:35 AM

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Industry 3.0 is on its way out. The age of automation is in full-spin and manufacturers have embraced the wave of “smart” solutions that deliver greater efficiency, reliability and safety for their workplaces. Integration of Automation Technologies is a hot topic, one which several manufacturers are debating over; the major question being: Is it time to upgrade to an integrated system?

Throughout industry, whether its food and health or aerospace and automobiles, the importance of integration is becoming more and more apparent. The manufacturers are concerned about every single process right from planning to production, and everything in between. Integration is aimed at achieving maximum added value along the entire process chain, and eliminate any threat to an industry’s growth.

Siemens has been playing with the idea of integration since the 1990s, developing technologies and offering a number of products and services, which work synergistically to improve the workings of the supply chain. Siemens has named it “Totally Integrated Automation”, a range of products that target the entire production cycle. Why should Industries adopt it? This is a question which only the platform’s features can answer. 

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Totally Integrated Automation or TIA is founded upon on a set of basic pillars, which may be summed up as:

Integrated Engineering

Optimizing the engineering process greatly optimizes the productivity level, and brings down the design cost. Total Integration Automation Portal combines several engineering tools that can help engineers cut down times and reduce wastage of resources.

A few notable examples include the Siemens Plant Management Solution COMOS and SIMATIC Process Control System that bring centralized control to assets spread over a large physical or virtual region.

Industrial Communication

Based on standard interfaces and protocols, TIA offers maximum data transparency for all automation controls so that not a single packet gets lost. Maximum data transmission takes place with the use of SCALANCE network components in the harshest of environments, as data forms the backbone of an Integrated Automation System.

Industrial Data Management

Data is stored in an extremely managed & reusable pattern. Once it is safely archived, it is processed as per requirements for analysis of various trends. Integrated Data Management during the production cycle allows for better asset management, study of key performance indicators, carry out inventory checks, analyze production figures and much more, all with a few clicks on a centralized system.

The level of transparency such features generate help close the supply-demand gap while keeping the plant’s efficiency in check, a win-win for all.

Industrial Security

Cyber espionage and electronic warfare has been a problem since the inception of internet. As TIA greatly relies on interconnected devices and their communication, security at an industrial scale is a concern for many.

To address these concerns, Siemens has integrated a Security Configuration Tool within their Step 7 solution, providing comprehensive, layered data-protection against any malware. In addition, SIMATIC Logon is also integrated within the suite so that users can be managed and their rights be tracked in a proper manner.

Needless to say, Siemens’ systems are safer than ever, and all flaws old or new have been rectified at an aggressive rate.

Something for everything: this was the motivation behind all smart solutions, whether it’s the Smart Grid, a Home Automation Solution or the Digital Factory. The holistic approach to integration makes TIA a framework that protects personnel, environment and the equipment. Siemens has held its reputation at stake in the area of safety engineering and to prove its commitment, certified with global industrial standards like IEC, ISO, UL and so on.

TIA is already at work, globally and has developed a strong reputation for itself. Crawford Technical Systems, a US based company has stated that the use of TIA Portal has allowed them to increase their competitiveness in the market, while reducing engineering time by 50%. Furthermore, a Netherlands based company, Dijksma Koudetechniek B.V. has managed to increase its efficiency by 70% due to the reusability of the system.

Digitalization is shaking the conventional industrial balance of power and giving technologically sound companies an edge over those that have been around for decades but failed to catchup. TIA brings in solid benefits which will greatly improve a plant’s performance:

  • Scalable and flexible systems to satisfy diverse customer needs
  • Increased machine and plant performance
  • Reusability at its best with controllers being used for multiple tasks
  • No halts in production due to elimination of manual monitoring & control
  • Integrated monitoring and control of production based on real-world, real-time data.
  • Smooth workflow, in a managed, tracked manner, which at the end of the day reduces costs and increases efficiency.

From an economic standpoint, global markets are improving and gaining momentum from last decade’s recession. Global manufacturing markets are booming and TIA is a solution for all, whether its China’s mass-manufacturing, India’s textile, Brazil’s food or US’s high-tech industrial sector. All will benefit from it, the manufacturers, the customers/consumers and the environment, which will relieve itself from over-exploitation of resources.

All indicators, economic, technological or social, point to one conclusion: it’s time!

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Topics: Siemens, Controls, Industry News

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