An Article by Phillip McMullen, Parsec Smart Devices Lead
For years we’d witness important projects get stopped due to poor infrastructure, both from automation and connectivity perspectives. The cost of building up the infrastructure to a level adequate for the execution of data-centric and mission-critical projects was simply too high. Rollouts for important projects (even after promising launches) failed. But we learned a few things throughout these failures. And we recognized the opportunity to address three important topics:
- Getting data from various sources without the need for costly automation
- Achieving connectivity without conventional local area networks
- Making configuration, set up and the data transit as simple as possible (both on-premises and in the cloud)
These imperatives prompted us to develop the TrakSYS Smart Data Collection System. And that has proven to be a game-changer. The Smart Devices that make up our system are universal; they can gather many types of data (e.g., digital, analog, serial) using the same hardware—no need to stock various types of Smart Data Collectors. And these data sources may be, well, just about anything you can imagine. Using the universal Data Collector, you can readily collect information from thermocouples, pressure transducers, encoders, flow meters, vibration sensors, scales, photo eyes, cameras, and many other sources.
What the heck does “infrastructure friendly” mean?
Our approach is all about simplicity—very little infrastructure is required for automation and network connectivity, and that means the cost is reduced and adoption of solutions can be sped up, particularly with those solutions that rely on the availability of real-time data to manage operations.
That simplicity minimizes set up and configuration requirements. It eliminates the need for high-level expertise. And our mindset has always been to make our Smart Devices compatible with most standard, off-the-shelf sensors and data sources. The connections are clear and intuitive. The connection to TrakSYS is native and organic, which means there are no costs and obstacles to set up communication protocols and drivers.
In short, infrastructure friendly means that you get set up and ready to run in minutes.
Similarly, we wanted to make sure TrakSYS Smart Devices can leverage what’s already in place. Not only can you overcome challenges due to lack of automation and connectivity, but you can also drive more value through the utilization of existing sensory devices to speed up adoption and beneficial use.
And considering the fact that in most factories, the infrastructure isn’t uniformly available across all areas and systems, we wanted to make sure our Smart Devices cover the gaps within those types of infrastructure to capture the critical data throughout the operations.
How smart is that?