Open systems accelerate the way to project efficiency and profit https://www.automation.com/files/pluginfiles/item_99678/field_376/Stockopen2-2_reg.jpeg
By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
In the interconnected industrial world of today, open systems have a major impact on improving the value of automation projects. Using superior project management methods using existing systems will certainly improve project efficiency. Compared to open systems, this can result in limited operating results, resulting in a low investment. An open system can impact all phases of a project from the beginning over its entire lifecycle, including project design, configuration, operation, and lifecycle maintenance for tremendous savings and value.
In contrast, a closed system limits the ability to leverage open integrations and obstructs the ability to achieve the superior performance and results the new technology offers. It's a bit like trying to run a business with old, closed architecture and computer systems. It is possible, but with a significant disadvantage for productivity and profitability.
Computer Industry Lessons
The computer industry has discovered the value of open systems years ago, dramatically improving efficiency and productivity and achieving higher value. In contrast, industrial and process automation systems are lagging behind in the adoption of technologies to improve system functionality, lower implementation costs, and improve reliability. By comparing some of the system architecture factors from both industries, we can see where automation can contribute to improvement:
The computer industry is based on open standard applications and programming languages that tremendously create productivity gains as well as the ability to to improve the functionality at a very high speed. On the other hand, industrial and process controllers have proprietary languages and interfaces, so it is not possible to write an application and use it across multiple vendor controls.
Anyone who has had problems configuring computer peripherals - including disk drives, printers, keyboards, network interfaces, and other devices - knows the ease of plug-and-play systems Appreciating today makes life easier while at the same time providing reliability.
For years, the computer industry has adopted agreed network standards for a variety of applications, including data, voice, and video, that enable multiple vendor products to work together. Industrial automation network standards have made some progress in this area with Profibus, DeviceNet, Foundation Fieldbus, ProfNet and EthenrNET / IP. However, DCS systems have fully closed network architectures that prevent the use of multiple vendor controllers. This is reminiscent of the early days of computing before TPC / IP, SNMP, etc., with multiple networking standards, including IBM Token Ring, Banyan Vines, DECnet, Novell NetWare, AppleTalk, and others.
Enhancing the Digital Life Cycle
The demands on manufacturing and process equipment to keep up with the rapid pace of technology advances have not diminished. Staying competitive with today's digital manufacturing technologies continues to increase the importance of open systems to take full advantage of this potential. New features and functions are constantly being created that can improve manufacturing and process flows and easily add an open system with lower costs and shorter implementation times, giving a significant advantage to an open system user.
Boost Competitive Advantage
Organizations using open systems can find greater flexibility to use the latest technologies at a lower cost and implementation time to outperform their competitors. Closed systems face the opposite: increasing costs and longer project execution times. This is not a theory but a fact. It has repeatedly proven in various industries, including telecommunications, computers, defense systems and avionics systems.
The true cost of closed systems
Closed systems increase the total cost of ownership in many ways. Here are some examples:
Gateway Myth and Fantasy
Closed-architecture vendors are staunch supporters of their "flagship" protocols, forcing users to add gateways, bridging devices, and other interface methods to add other closed-loop or closed industrial controllers and devices automation systems. These approaches are not native interfaces and create brittle systems that increase the reliability risk and require significant additional application engineering, programming, and configuration control management throughout the system lifecycle.
Production Optimization Complexity
Closed system architectures can force users to create "control islands" for which installation in coordinated plant controls requires much application engineering, unless all the automation equipment is purchased from a single vendor.
Open vs. Closed: The Investment Tradeoff
Adding and extending existing industrial automation systems with proprietary or heavily protected networks to the transition to open software will not prove to be a forward-looking investment. At the end of the minicomputer era, companies that made further investments in these systems could not take advantage of the software and peripherals (think sensors and I / O) offered by open PC systems.
Open standards-based systems eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline standard operations, with automation engineers and operators focused on exceptions and opportunities. Because of these benefits, open systems have the greatest capabilities to improve project performance by having an impact on all phases of a project from the outset over the life of the project, and this will continue to create value for the organizations that allow it
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