Industrial Internet of Things and Changing Automation Architectures

The Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture has been a defining architecture for instrumentation, automation, manufacturing operations and business planning and logistics systems since its introduction in the 1990s.

IIoT-Device-EcosystemIn a Plant Services article, What a smart device ecosystem looks like, Emerson’s Mike Boudreaux shares ways that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is reshaping this model. Mike writes:

Emerson's Mike Boudreaux


A new architecture is emerging outside of the traditional Purdue model for monitoring applications that don’t involve control of the process. This architecture resembles SCADA systems, but when you remove supervisory control, they become simply data acquisition systems. New IIoT gateways are based on more-efficient processors, small-footprint software, and new message queuing protocols that can tolerate limited network bandwidth. This new smart connected ecosystem focuses on delivering actionable information to engineers and managers when and where they need it.

He describes the challenges the traditional ways of integrating non-control and non-safety-related applications such as energy management, personal safety and environmental monitoring into control systems. Increased cyber security efforts make this integration even more costly and complex. But, the emerging IIoT ecosystem:

…is making it possible for innovative measurement technologies to be introduced for energy, reliability, personal safety, and environmental monitoring applications. Examples include new wireless power monitoring; condition monitoring on pumps, fans, and heat exchangers; toxic gas monitoring; and safety relief-valve monitoring applications.

We’ve highlighted many of these examples in prior posts:

The expertise to monitor and analyze these applications may reside with the process manufacturers or producer or with the technology and service provider. Mike notes how the architecture expands and does not need to encompass the control system network:

Wired and wireless gateways can be installed with direct connections to software running in the business and operations networks, and in some cases they are being integrated with cloud computing through the Internet. The cybersecurity model is simplified here, because the threat to control and safety systems is reduced given that there is no direct connection to the control and safety system networks.

With the rapid expansion of wireless measurement devices, the cost and complexity of installation is also reduced compared with wired instrumentation. The networks to which these devices connect coexist with the existing control networks based on the Purdue model. Mike concludes:

The smart connected device ecosystem is making it possible to address energy, reliability, personal safety, and environmental problems that have yet to be solved by traditional approaches. It is becoming possible to securely get the right information into the hands of expert problem-solvers wherever they are located, whether in a control room on-site or in a factory somewhere on the other side of the world.

Read the article for the full story and find other IIoT articles in the Industrial IOT section of the Top Quartile site. The Manufacturing Connection’s Gary Mintchell shares his insights on this article in a post, Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture Meets IIoT.

You can also connect and interact with other wireless and project specialists in the Wireless and Plan & Design groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

One comment so far

  1. I personally agree. In some applications these “missing measurements” now being automated are integrated through the DCS all the way up through the enterprise architecture. In other applications they bypass the DCS and land in the historian. In yet other cases (particularly when there is a Data-as-a-Service business model involved, the data bypasses DCS, historian, and all the rest straight into the cloud. Learn more from this essay:
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/unplug-your-dcs-jonas-berge

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