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Future Trends in Process Automation

Posted December 05, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Process industries, as with the hybrid and discrete production sectors, will increase integration among field devices and supervisory control and data (SCADA) systems, as well as between the integrated plant network and business systems. To accomplish this goal, it is projected the industry will invest more than $100 billion globally, split between modernization and green-field installations. According to this report from Processing Magazine, the best way to implement these changes is by using standard Ethernet and Internet technologies, as embodied in the Common Internet Protocol (CIP™) and EtherNet IP™.


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Guru

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#1

Re: Future Trends in Process Automation

12/06/2015 5:09 AM

I have spent many years designing and building control systems for process plants, the last ten of them integrating Ethernet, and recommending to my clients that they avoid linking their plants to the internet. Process plants are, or should be, built with the philosophy of "what will be the consequences if?". When the answer to that question is dangerous or expensive then you guard against it ever happening. We predicted nine years before the first reported case that highly computerized plants would be vulnerable to hacking. The computer software industry releases products on the basis that if a bug is in the program we will apply a patch and release an update. A large portion of internet software is written in Java, a programming language with so many holes in it that you could metaphorically use it to sieve boulders. That mentality does not sit well with engineers in the chemical, petrochemical and food industries where bugs in the system kill people. The "internet of things" is not currently robust enough to apply to process industries. Until that changes, I will continue to shout loudly against deploying it in this sector. I don't see that happening until the programming languages used to write internet software change.

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#2
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Re: Future Trends in Process Automation

12/07/2015 5:21 PM

Well said... coming from a food processing background, I agree fully and completely.

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