Manufacturing environments are seeing wisdom in adopting smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices, offering faster access to critical information and problem-solving applications. This is a major subtopic of discussion within Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 circles.
People love mobile devices. Crowded public places show many individuals intently focused on glowing screens in their hands. Smartphones, tablets, and even wearable devices such as smartwatches have become ubiquitous as consumers have become accustomed to a much higher level of connectivity and access to information.
With the widespread adoption of these devices in the consumer market, the natural progression is for industrial applications to explore the possibility of adopting smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices in manufacturing environments. This is a major subtopic of discussion within Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 circles.
Manufacturers have begun to step into the realm of mobile technologies for industry, part of a larger convergence of automation technology (AT) and information technologies (IT). PC-based control technologies serve as the strongest bridge between these two schools of thought, partly due to the inherent Web server capabilities in every PC control system.
Integrated Web servers
These built-in Web servers can easily be configured to host human-machine interface (HMI) data, production statistics, or maintenance diagnostics information. Network or fieldbus diagnostics data could be easily accessed from a tablet without having to interrupt the production machine HMI or plug in with a laptop. We have seen the controller’s Web server used to enable setup personnel working on large equipment to change parameters with a tablet from various places on the machine where access to the HMI is not directly possible.
More actionable information
Using mobile devices in manufacturing provides a wealth of features and benefits for operations. An exciting feature helping to drive this trend of integration is the ability to push machine system notifications and status information from a cloud server down to the mobile or wearable device used by the operator.
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