System integration, edge computing tips for automation

System integrators are using edge computing platforms to create simple, scalable, repeatable and protected automation and control architectures. Jan. 25 webcast, archived for a year, offers tips and other information.

By Mark T. Hoske January 23, 2023
A Jan. 25, 10 a.m. central time webcast, “Tips on achieving scalable, repeatable, and protected automation solutions” provides advice on how to implement edge-computing-based automation across multiple locations, with benefits for system integrators and their customers. Image courtesy: CFE Media and Technology


Learning Objectives

  • Edge computing has advantages for automation.
  • Large, multi-site, critical automation application uses edge computing
  • Edge computing for automation brings advantages to system integrators, their customers.

Edge computing, automation, system integration insights

  • Edge computing enables system integrators to implement multiple automation software applications reliably and securely for multi-site customers.
  • A Jan. 25 webcast, sponsored for a year, offers detailed information about a mission-critical case study using edge computing for the automation and control architecture.

Learn about edge computing, with advice on how to implement edge-computing-based automation across multiple locations in a Jan. 25, 10 a.m. central time webcast, “Tips on achieving scalable, repeatable, and protected automation solutions.” Attendees qualify for a certificate of completion. Though the webcast is archived for a year, those attending live will get to ask experts questions about the topic. More information about and from the webcast follows.

With digitalization comes an edge-computing-based approach for automation and control architectures. As system integrators search for better ways to create simple, scalable, repeatable, and protected solutions for customers, edge computing platforms can help.

An industrial automation edge computing use case shows how a system integrator delivered a multi-site automation and control solution efficiently, securely and at a competitive cost while providing the customer with a robust and reliable system.

According to Mike Bradshaw, senior director of global channels and partner ecosystem at Stratus Technologies, and Sam Chumbley, vice president of business development, Flexware Innovation Inc., edge computing:

  • Consolidates and modernizes automation and control systems that help integrate human-machine interface and supervisory control and data acquisition (HMI/SCADA) software with other automation such as historians, manufacturing execution systems, batch software, analytics and cybersecurity.
  • Resolves challenges associated with automation and control challenges, as shown in customer case studies.
  • Can be implemented in automation solutions across multiple locations, with appropriate services after deployment.

Large, multi-site, critical automation application parameters

One application Chumbley discussed includes an edge computing server running six virtual machines, more than 10 programmable logic controllers (PLCs), more than 10 thin clients (including smartphones and tablets), badge readers, remote view-only monitoring, and a message queuing telemetry transport (MQTT) distributor for logging data to an enterprise portable for key-performance indicator information. The mission-critical application, with “nearly zero” IT support at each site, cannot have downtime; operator training is critical for reliable operations and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Bradshaw said ways to prevent unplanned downtime include reliable, ruggedized hardware for software applications, providing redundancy and cybersecurity.

Chumbley said multi-site implementations are aided with templates to apply application software identically, reducing overall cost to implement, test and commission each new site.

Edge computing automation advantages for system integrators, customers

Edge computing allows multiple types of automation software applications to be integrated on one hardware platform, prevents downtime by ensuring application reliability, enables scalable and repeatable implements, and provides a means for system integrators to continue to help customers with support services.

Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, also the moderator for this webcast,

KEYWORDS: Edge computing for automation, system integration


System integrators: Can edge computing more reliably deliver automation architectures for your mission-critical applications?

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.