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INDUSTRY 4.0: The Four Concepts to Have Down Cold Before Wasting Time & Money on Implementation

Digitalization, Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are all trends moving the automation market. Academics and technology advocates will debate the nuances of these themes, but control engineers know they mean one thing: more complexity and technology to deploy and maintain in their applications. The end of the Field Bus Wars ushered in an era of open protocols but the proliferation of available protocols over time has created its own set of burdens. The control engineer of today loses sleep maintaining legacy systems while incorporating new devices and technologies.

This proliferation of technology and the one tool for every job attitude most technology groups have about their protocol make picking the right protocol or device for a job a very challenging proposition. This situation is specifically distressing because, for most control engineers, communications technologies are not core competencies. The ongoing need to invest resources and fund the deployments of communication standards largely inhibits improvements in the base application.

In this paper, we will work to dissect the requirement of Industry 4.0 and help individuals create a road map for more intelligent technology deployments. The complexity of bringing Industry 4.0 to their factory floor is immense but comprehending the practical requirements does not have to be.