Research group Gartner tell us that 6.4 billion devices are soon to be connected to the Internet of Things this year. That will be 30 percent more than 2015. This would mean that 5 million devices will be connected to the internet every single day. In 2020, the number is expected to grow to 20.8 billion connected things. Some of these devices will be connected to the Industrial Internet of Things. IIoT-connected devices will ensure that industrial automation reaches new heights, redefining industrial operations and leading to new levels of efficiency.
Honeywell has launched a new programmable logic controller (PLC) called the ControlEdge. It is equipped to deal with the IIoT and ensure that industrial devices all work in tandem with unprecedented efficiency. With built-in cybersecurity, the PLC promises to capitalize on the IIoT and take industry into what has been defined as Industrie 4.0.
Andrew Brodie, Global Controls Leader, in a roundtable discussion on the future of IIoT, said: "IIoT has the potential to be the most significant development in automation systems since the introduction of distributed control systems. It offers a wide range of potential uses and benefits, enabling business to leverage the vast amount of data provided by modern automation and control systems."
He lists the benefits of an IIoT-controlled set up within an industrial operation. He summarizes the huge advantages:
- Providing operations personnel with improved remote monitoring
- Diagnostic and asset management capabilities
- Enhancing data collection - even in the most dispersed enterprises
- Improved decisions about the actual health of assets
- Reducing the time and effort for configuration and commissioning
- Minimizing the need to troubleshoot device issues in the field
- Bringing new production fields online faster and improving collaboration across the company
Honeywell says their new PLC will assist industrial operations with all of the aforementioned necessities. Access to immediate data makes this PLC a productive tool that engineers can work with. The company has sold the Experion PKS automation systems to industrial operators, most notably to an Oil and Gas company named Kuban in Russia. The automation systems will assist with performance and promises to cut costs. The automation system employs the ControlEdge PLC, which reportedly assists with secured connectivity and integration with multiple devices across vendors. It also ensures that industrial operations can continue at an efficient level in an uncertain shift towards IIoT-connected warehouses, factories and industrial complexes.
The embedded security reportedly reduces the risk for the companies who employ the PLC. The PLC boots with something called 'Safeboot'. This scans industrial systems for any unauthorized software before industrial operations continue to ensure that no dangerous software is imposing on the systems. The PLC also has a firewall that ensures security.
Robert Alston, a cyber security technical lead at Honeywell, in a roundtable discussion on IIoT-connected PLCs, said: "Honeywell offers Industrial cybersecurity solutions and managed services that help protect the availability, safety, and reliability of industrial control systems and site operations."