Changing physical infrastructure supports manufacturing flexibility

The growth of industrial networking technologies and smart-building systems is creating both challenges and opportunities. Panduit is putting forth a vision for addressing these in a unified way.

10/16/2008


Tinley Park , IL A half-day presentation for facilities, engineering and manufacturing IT professionals brought together a message too-often scattered in manufacturing plants: the growth of industrial networking technologies and smart-building systems is creating both challenges and opportunities. Companies that can meet the challenges and leverage the opportunities in a unified way can succeed in increasingly volatile times.

Panduit , a company known for its physical infrastructure products, brought the three groups together to discuss implementation of a unified physical infrastructure (UPI), and Panduit’s vision for how a UPI can work to everyone’s benefit. The Chicago area gathering in Sept. 29, 2008 was one of a half dozen roadshows being presented around the U.S.

Panduit’s main message was the need for a unified physical infrastructure. The physical systems should be well-planned, integrated and scalable, because today’s manufacturing facility needs them to be that way. The key drivers of this trend, according to Doug Raymond, executive vice president of consulting for Frost & Sullivan, a presenter at the event, are:

  • increased demand for Lean manufacturing;

  • interdependence among systems, driven by the increasingly use of Internet Protocol (IP) networking; and

  • increased need for communications and, thus, the technology that enables it.

A UPI reduces operational and reconfiguration costs, and minimizes risk by increasing manufacturing flexibility. But it’s not just a greenfield-plant phenomenon. Daleep Sarenjin, a Frost & Sullivan analyst who gathered research on the topic from more than 1,500 contract manufacturers in 2007, said that such companies could take up to two weeks to transition to a new manufacturing line. That’s two weeks of unproductive time—something a unified physical infrastructure can greatly reduce.

For Panduit, the physical infrastructure is not the servers, but all else that connects to them: copper and fiber cabling; cabinets, racks and cable management structures; underfloor and overhead cable routing and air flow; and supplemental building systems such as security and fire safety. Unifying these systems makes modifying them decidedly easier.

Intelligent infrastructure design helps manufacturing IT departments meet changing power, cooling, uptime and availability requirements. Panduit’s UPI-based solutions take a holistic approach to data center design and risk management, and encourage more frequent interaction between IT and facilities management personnel, so manufacturing uptime and flexibility requirements can be met.

UPI-connected building designs link facilities and network systems directly into a common building network. Some systems converge electronically, through a common IP network architecture, while others converge physically through shared conduit, cable trays and building pathways.

From Panduit’s perspective, the unified physical architecture represents a change in focus, but not a radical departure from what has made the company successful. “We’ve been known for high-quality products, but we’re enhancing it to become solutions-oriented,” said Vineeth Ram, Panduit vice president of global marketing.

To get there, Ram says, Panduit is “investing more than 10% of revenue in R&D, as well as working closely with Rockwell Automation, Cisco, and other industry leaders.” Panduit is also walking the walk: In June 2008, the company broke ground on a new corporate headquarters building that will employ state-of-the-art connected building technology , and be LEED Gold certified .

In general, getting facilities, engineering, and IT departments to work together may not be easy, said Ram, but it is possible. “Start talking early, educate all three groups, and bring in consultants if you need to. Sometimes information is easier to digest when delivered by a third party,” he said.

“Right now the time is ripe for conversation, because of virtualization, 10 gigabit Ethernet, server consolidation, and other disruptive technologies. These are pushing the conversation,” Ram added.

A Panduit whitepaper entitled, “ Implementing a 10 Gb/s physical infrastructure to achieve I/O consolidation ” provides further information. Find it in the Control Engineering Resource Center .

For other whitepapers and application briefs, as well as information on the next stop of the free half-day seminar, visit www.panduit.com .

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free .





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
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
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
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.