How to future proof with universal automation

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When we talk about modernization and the 4th industrial revolution it might be a little daunting for some industrial companies because it could sound like they need to replace all their automation systems. And then there’s the concern that the new technology will be obsolete in a few years anyway. It’s bit like replacing your entire record collection with cassettes in the 80s, followed by CDs in the 90s, MP3s in the 2000s, and now streaming. What will be next?

For industrial automation we’ve designed our technology so you don’t need to abandon your proven systems in the name of progress. The latest IIoT solutions allow you to integrate our new systems with your older ones without the need to replace everything. Better yet, when technology advances down the track, you can take advantage without abandoning your current set-up. We call this ‘future proofing’.

Future proofing is better for the hip pocket and the planet

There are lots of cases of this already happening throughout our modern world because much of the existing infrastructure has been there for decades, if not centuries. For example, with the advent of electricity, phone lines, and the internet, we didn’t simply rebuild everything from scratch with each wave of new technology. That would be costly, impractical, and unsustainable. Instead, we relied on a wrap and replace approach, installing adaptors like modems for the internet so we could continue to use the old analog cables from telephone wires for the signal, or a set top box when digital television (when it first came in).

Why you don’t need to replace your entire automation system

There are a few reasons why it’s possible to use this approach with our new universal automation platform, EcoStruxure Automation Expert.

  • Hardware and software are decoupled

Imagine if you had to get a new phone each time you wanted to update the software. It sounds like a no-brainer but currently in industrial automation, when the customer wants to update their control systems, both their hardware and software must be replaced. EcoStruxure Automation Expert, our next generation automation system decouples hardware from software, so that when a plant needs to modernize, they can keep their software and application programs and just update their hardware.

  • Wrap and re-use/replace approach

With a wrap and replace/reuse approach an adaptor of sorts is attached to legacy equipment and application programs, so that they can be incorporated in new technology platforms. As you can imagine, this is more cost effective, less time consuming, and more sustainable for everyone involved. Conserving our resources is something we must consider at every level of operation.

The right IIoT solution ensures existing industrial equipment can be integrated with the latest technologies more quickly and easily than before. Futureproofing means the same can be done for with future upgrades. This is important because technology is evolving faster than ever. Companies need to be able to take advantage of these new advances to be more competitive in the market by improving efficiency, agility, and sustainability.

Invest in an automation system that grows with your business

Investment in capital equipment should perform at state-of-the-art levels of efficiency and agility both now and well into the future. Our partners from Master Systèmes like the EcoStruxure Automation Expert solution because it enables them to offer their customers the best solutions based on currently available technologies thanks to its scalability and upgradability.

Cosmetic ingredient manufacturer Sophim were experiencing strong growth and to meet their production needs had to update their automation system. The design of the existing automation system meant it could no longer be expanded and therefore did not allow for growth, so they needed to modernize the plant simply and quickly with a scalable solution. Using EcoStruxure Automation Expert as the automation platform meant it could connect to and integrate with the existing equipment architectures, allowing Sophim to increase current production, while still having the capacity to grow in the future.

Modernization doesn’t necessarily mean replacing all your automation systems. Our ‘future proofing’ approach means you can take advantage of advancements in automation technologies without the need to abandon your current systems. That’s good news for both your financial performance and the planet. Learn more

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