What is Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
Industrial internet of things means connecting the industrial assets like machines, robots, sensors in a network so that it can be monitored and managed efficiently.
Why is Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) important?
Industrial devices generate tons of data every second. Connected machines are easy to monitor and manage from anywhere. People want to make smart decisions based on data to reduce cost, increase production, improve quality, and ensure the safety of humans.
A Top floor executive would want to control the following things in a production plant:
Cost of production
Implementation of IIoT will address the above-mentioned key points.
How to implement Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
Step1: Define the problem statement
Defining a problem statement is the first step to implement IIoT. Problem statements can be like monitoring the water treatment plant, predicting machine maintenance, managing HVAC devices in one place.
Let's take the water treatment plant as a use case to implement the IIoT solution. Identify the list of parameters to be monitored in a water treatment plant.
The pressure of water in the tank
The temperature of water in the tank
Water flow in the tap
Status of Motor Pump
Maintenance of the plant
Step2: Understand the OT network
Operational Technology (OT) network is the network of industrial devices from various vendors. Each device will communicate or share its data over industry-standard protocols or vendor's proprietary protocol.
Nowadays, every process or production unit is automated using Programmed Logic Controllers (PLCs). PLCs are physically connected with machines and sensors. If PLC is already present, mostly PLC will be the point of contact for collecting real-time data and controlling the system.
As PLC controls the entire automation logic, it maintains the process data, device's state data. For example, if there is a sensor for sensing the process temperature and it is connected to the PLC, PLC keeps the temperature information in its memory. Here the temperature is an IO tag. A single PLC will store a lot of IO tags data related to the process in its memory.
PLC will provide the IO tag data to consumers over any of the standard protocols like EtherNet/IP, S7, BACNet/IP, Modbus, etc.
The OPC-UA server has been implemented to provide a protocol-agnostic communication layer to IT systems in recent years.
If the OPC-UA server is already present, use the OPC-UA server as an IO tag data source.
In the water treatment use case, identify the IO tags in the PLC or in the OPC-UA server which stores the data for the list of parameters identified in Step 1.
Step3: Deploy IIoT edge device
IIoT edge device offers capabilities like communicating with industrial assets, collecting IO tags data, publishing the IO tags data to IT systems or cloud servers
Configure the IIoT edge device in such a way that it collects the required IO tags and publishes the data to a server.
Step4: Implement IIoT solution
Identify the list of features to be realized in the IIoT software solution. In the case of the water treatment plant, the following features will be useful to the end-users to monitor a water treatment plant.
Live dashboard to present the following data
Historical Trend of data to make actionable decisions
Notifications via Email/SMS for any critical alarms
Remote Access to plant to control the process
Prism provides the end-to-end IIoT solution which can be customized to any industry.