Cloud instrumentation in a process plant?

Will devices communicating via the cloud replace other wireless technologies or wired devices?

03/18/2011


Dear Control Engineering: I was looking at the article Cloud Instrumentation: Data without infrastructure. Is there any chance that someone would use that for instrumentation in a real process plant?

 

It’s hard to say how some of these technologies may come to be used some day. As Ghercioiu points out, when PCs were new, few thought that anybody would use them for controlling a plant. However, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that cloud instrumentation probably has less to offer in the kind of high device density environment of a typical chemical manufacturing plant. When tag counts are in the thousands or tens of thousands and all jammed into a relatively small space, that type of communication via the Internet is probably not the most practical.

 

To substantiate that point, you could ask yourself why instrumentation companies have gone to the lengths to develop protocols like WirelessHART and ISA100.11a rather than just adding WiFi radio modules. When working with that kind of data transmission with that many devices in so small a space, wireless Ethernet is not the first choice.

 

Cloud instrumentation is probably better where devices are more spread out and more traditional types of networking are not practical or too expensive. Of course who knows how technologies may change going forward. The possibility of being able to use existing infrastructure for little or no cost is a pretty convincing argument.

 

We’ll continue to examine all sorts of wireless technologies and their applications. To keep current, visit our wireless channel.

 

Peter Welander, pwelander(at)cfemedia.com

 

 



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Big plans for small nuclear reactors: Simpler, safer control designs; Smarter manufacturing; Industrial cloud; Mobile HMI; Controls convergence
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.