By Dennis Wylie Jr., product manager, and Kristopher Dornan, marketing manager, Rockwell Automation
It can feel as though you can do anything with your smart machines thanks to the near infinite potential of data, connectivity and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies. But one thing still can hold them back: their computing assets.
Whether it’s a PC or server, these assets come with key logistical considerations in an end user’s facility: Where will it be located? Will it have a wired or wireless connection to the machine? How will it be secured? And in trying to address these considerations, you can find yourself limited in how you can design and deploy your smart machines.
But now you can set your machines free by cutting the cord — or the wireless connection — between them and their computing assets.
Edge computing combines a machine’s control and computing hardware into one platform, either with a controller that has a built-in computer or with a computing module that sits on the same rack as the controller.
With this two-in-one approach, you can put all your machine’s digital content — such as custom code, the controller’s human-machine interface (HMI) application and any third-party software programs — right where the controller resides, rather than in another location.
This creates inherent benefits for end users, including space savings and access to data right at its source. But it also creates new opportunities for you to build entirely new solutions for production applications.
A Blank Canvas for Innovation
Combining your machines’ control and computing components in one place can help you reimagine your machines and how they solve customer challenges.
Just consider a few examples of how edge computing can help you create smarter, more secure and more autonomous machines.