The rise of the IoT middleware platform

Posted by Matt Newton on Feb 21, 2017 8:00:00 AM

In a recent developer survey conducted by the Eclipse IoT Working Group, IEEE IoT, and Agile IoT, 40.8% of respondents indicated the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions they were either currently building or planning to build were IoT platforms or IoT middleware.

Almost every large IT or OT company today has some form of IoT platform or middleware, with the current number of self-described IoT platforms exceeding 150.

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Topics: groov, Remote monitoring, Tips, IoT, Networking, IIoT, Node-RED, Data acquisition

Open-loop vs. Closed-loop Process Control

Posted by Matt Newton on Feb 7, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Process Control

Process control systems are used in everything from advanced manufacturing to run-of-the-mill activities at home, like heating your house and brewing your beer. (You do brew your own beer, don't you?)

A control system that manufactures a product requires monitoring and control of many different process variables, while some at home require little more than a timer. For example, in manufacturing we may use flow meters to make sure fluids flow through pipes at a certain rate, or float meters to ensure ingredients fill a vat to a specified level.

When I brew beer at home, I may use a temperature sensor in my mash tun, wired to a controller that’s controlling my heating element to keep the mash tun at just the right temperature for optimum starch-to-sugar conversion. This is an example of a closed-loop control system.

(To see how small closed-loop control principles are scaled up to build industrial process control applications, check out the New Belgium Brewery case study and see how they use Opto 22 gear to brew their world-famous Fat Tire and other beers.)

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Topics: Food & beverage, PLCs, Tips, PACs, Oil & gas

OptoNews Tip: New tech note details protocol & tool support

Posted by Jean Femia on Feb 1, 2017 3:48:49 PM

So you know .NET—or Modbusor Pythonor HART. Can you use those development tools and protocols (or many others) with Opto 22 products?

You'll find the answer in our new technical note, Communication Tools & Protocols for Opto 22 Products

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Topics: Process control, Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, optonews, PACs, Integrators, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things, OptoNews 2017-02-01

KPIs for Industrial Automation and Process Control

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 24, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Understanding how productive, efficient, and profitable your business operations are takes constant monitoring and analysis.

One of the tools used in manufacturing, automation, and process control to stay on top of these metrics is  key performance indicators, or KPIs.

KPIs can be applied to all levels of a business, from manufacturing to sales, marketing, operations, and customer service.

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Topics: Process control, groov, Tips, IoT, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

Security Risks in Industrial Assets: Analyze before You Buy

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 19, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Attention industrial engineers: If you're not thinking about how secure that new wiz-bang-flashy PLC or PAC is before you purchase it, you're setting yourself up for a world of pain down the road.

Industrial control systems are used across a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and fabrication, to electricity generation and transmission, to oil refining and water treatment—all industries where a network security compromise could mean huge losses of capital for the business.

Recently we’re seeing many of these traditionally proprietary control systems—distributed control systems, PLCs, and SCADA applications—adding new, more open technologies like Ethernet and TCP/IP. And with organizations' increasing interest in the business advantages of obtaining system data, industrial control systems are now being connected to information technology (IT) networks.

That's scary.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, Networking, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

OptoNews Tip: Essential tools for building & troubleshooting

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 18, 2017 3:16:12 PM

For this tech tip we go to a recent blog post that takes a good look at the basic tools you need if you're a technician, an electrician, or a maker.

From oscilloscope to pliers to power supplies, these are the tools we find essential.

Get suggestions on what quality you need, what features to look for, and where to buy them, new or used.

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Topics: Electronics, Tips, optonews, OptoNews 2017-01-18

Is Ransomware a Threat To Your IIoT Initiatives?

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 12, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The image below still cracks me up. The captions for each of the devices are hilarious.

But in truth, ransomware is a pretty scary subject, especially when you think of it in the context of industrial technology and applications. And there’ve been quite a few unnerving stories about ransomware hacks in industrial applications lately.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

RS-485 - To Terminate, Bias, or Both?

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM

That Is the Question.

RS-485 Woes

Whether you work in industrial automation, process control, machine design, or any other industrial application, at some point in time you’re going to run into an RS-485 network. And troubleshooting these networks can be an absolute nightmare.

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Topics: Tips

Tools every panel shop, electrician, and maker should have

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 10, 2017 10:18:34 AM

What technician, engineer, or maker doesn’t like tools? Having the right tools for the job is essential in getting things done.

Few things are more satisfying than applying just the right tool to a specific problem to easily rectify the situation. Having a shop outfitted with the right tools and a good place to work makes fixing things and resolving problems that much easier.

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Topics: Tips, I/O, Raspberry Pi

OptoNews Tip: Top 4 tech tips from 2016

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 4, 2017 3:39:10 PM

Did you miss any of these technical tips?

Now's a good time to review some automation basics—and look ahead to new technologies in our field.

Accuracy and resolution. Specifications for both of these are included for our analog modules. What's the difference?

Sinking and sourcing. What do these terms mean when you're wiring digital DC outputs, and which is the better way to wire? Lots of questions and answers on this one.

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Topics: Discrete control, Tips, optonews, I/O, SSRs, Node-RED, OptoNews 2017-01-04, Raspberry Pi, Digital I/O for Raspberry Pi

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