Accelerate IIoT with hardware, software

More intelligent manufacturing is possible more quickly by choosing hardware and software that help with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) architectures.

By Stone Shi, Control Engineering China November 4, 2017

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has developed into a key means to help realize the smart factory and intelligent manufacturing concurrent with development of the Internet of everything. How can enterprises deploy IIoT architectures more rapidly? Control Engineering China asked National Instruments (NI) Corp. China executives, Cui Peng, marketing manager and Yi Xilu, technical market engineer of Internet of Things (IoT), how to accelerate IIoT implementations.

IIoT platform architecture

Collection and analysis of Big Data runs through IIoT processes, from front-end data acquisition, transmission, transfer to the cloud, and to a decision-making terminal. Data acquisition and analysis are core to NI offerings, an advantage for those seeking an IIoT platform architecture.

"As for IIoT, we will help customers build a basic architecture, emancipate them from data acquisition, and allow greater focus on data analysis," said Peng. "In the past, the customers spent 80% of their time to carry out the front-end system architecture and data acquisition, with 20% left for data analysis." A platform of hardware and software can help customers to speed up IIoT deployment, Peng suggested. Elements to help with IIoT deployment include embedded industrial controllers, systems on modules, machine vision, motion control, industrial touch screens, data acquisition and control platforms, and cloud-based data management and analysis software.

Xilu added, "The basic architecture of IIoT as produced by NI can realize the intelligent test and protocol test, as well as monitor equipment in the industrial field. In such cases, early design verification and later mass production will be monitored online in real time to enable predictive maintenance, protect stable operation of assets, help customers enhance production efficiency, and shorten the production period." 

Build an IIoT ecosystem, supply chain

As IIoT develops into a comprehensive systemic engineering architecture, a cooperative ecosystem helps. Companies that offer open-ended platforms of integrated hardware and software also help. Peng said, "Another extension of the NI platform concept lies in the industry development, jointly promoted by cooperative partners under the assistance of the ecosphere…. Generally, we will provide a platform offering to satisfy customer-defined demands." To supply customer solutions, Peng continued, "We will adopt two methods. First, we will join with local or global professional partners to build the solution suitable for the specific field. Second, we cooperate with end customers to develop the specified system."

In the U.S., NI joined with Cisco, Intel, and other industrial companies to build an IIoT Lab at NI’s Austin headquarters, focusing on the micro-grid control and communications, advanced manufacturing control, heavy equipment asset monitoring, and other fields. NI also is among companies working on and promoting the IEEE Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) standard. IIoT Lab members are producing TSN-based controllers and multi-slot Ethernet-based compact controllers that can support TSN standards. 

Smarter manufacturing

In China, starting in 2016, NI began cooperating with Industrie 4.0-Intelligent Factory Laboratory under Tongji University to co-build an NI Industrial Internet Laboratory. In addition, Cyberinsight, as an NI partner in prognostics and health management (PHM), can make use of the NI platform system to customize and develop an end-to-end IIoT product for customers. Applying the industrial intelligent algorithm engine enables platform and data analysis services to help Chinese industrial customers realize the real-time asset health management and predictive maintenance for industrial equipment.

According to Peng, NI is seeking more companies in China engaged in Big Data analysis and data mining to provide IIoT hardware and software across industries. The technical direction of IIoT has progressed beyond theoretical concepts. IIoT platforms have been implemented in China and abroad, especially for machine state monitoring and controls, to which Big Data analytics brings unprecedented value.

Stone Shi is executive editor-in-chief, Control Engineering China, Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering,

CFE Media KEYWORDS: IIoT, Big Data

Industrial Internet of Things implementations are accelerated with an integrated hardware and software platform. IEEE Time Sensitive Networking and other cooperative industry efforts enable IIoT architectures. IIoT is moving beyond theory into machine monitoring, controls, and Big Data analytics.


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Online extra: National Instruments provides products to help with an IIoT architecture

Details of specific NI products that help with IIoT implementations follow in this article’s online version. NI embedded industrial controller is based on the NI CompactRIO and SOM (module system). Machine vision products offer an intelligent camera and image-capture card. Motion control products are based on the driver, electromechanical and interface module NI 951x. NI offers industrial touch screen and displays. NI IIoT data acquisition and control platforms are based on LabView. The NI InsightCM is cloud-based data management software. IIoT Lab members are producing TSN-based NI CompactRIO controller and multi-slot Ethernet cases (cDAQ-9185 and cDAQ-9189), which can support TSN standards.