The role of smart automation devices in IIoT

Importance of the smart automation devices

For years, device makers have improved the performance of their factory automation product to differentiate them from competitors. A modern AC VSD is still a motor speed controller, but with added functionality and intelligence, they have become smart automation devices in the world of IIoT.

The speed of industrial business is increasing all the time. IoT is changing the way information flows through a manufacturing enterprise. For example, critical business variables that were once constant over long periods can now change daily or even hourly. Industry is experiencing a degree of variability in business it has not seen before. With so many variables, it means a plant’s operational profitability is difficult to track and control. Manufacturers need to align their operations to the new, accelerated speed of business.

Plant automation uses smart devices to manages processes and help manage operational profitability. Moreover, they enable the workforce that operate and use them to help control risks to the business. In particular, risks relating to safety, environment, efficiency and reliability. Moreover they help manage, risks to the profitability of the operation.

Moving to an IIot centric digitalised control environment is the answer to achieving real-time business control. Investing in digitalisation technologies will enable growth and increase market share. It is not simply about keeping things running and minimising repairs and downtime. It increases visibility to data and optimising the business to meet current and future needs. Smart automation devices are key to this improving productivity and finding efficiencies.

Smart automation devices

According to a Schneider Electric white paper, pumps and motors connected to drives are primary targets for efficiency improvements. In fact, energy costs represent 40% of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a typical pump. Technologies such as VSDs offer significant potential for reducing the energy consumption of pump and motor systems.

The latest Schneider Electric VSDs like ATV600 and ATV900 are Services Oriented Drives (SOD). They come with added intelligence, giving them embedded energy and asset management service capabilities. SODs can measure the energy consumption of attached devices (like motors or pumps). They can also check performance of those optimised assets and improve energy performance by adjusting operating parameters.

By integrating SODs into the network, equipment performance is available plant wide. Measurements are accessible via a central control panel or on mobile devices. This helps simplify the production and maintenance process. By performing advanced asset diagnostics, they also help drive optimised predictive maintenance strategies. Optimised asset performance of the drive, motor, and mechanical transmission are all monitored. It also provides predictive maintenance. This helps repair only what needs repairing, reducing the cost of unplanned breakdown and production losses.


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