Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from a special report from Dialight, a Rockwell Automation Encompass™ Product Partner. Download the FREE infographic, “Industrial LED Lighting and the IIoT – The Future Looks Even Brighter" that illustrates LED industrial lighting’s levels of connectivity and how it supports the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), including examples of integrations and enhancements offered by connected industrial lighting.
The IIoT, also known as digital manufacturing or smart manufacturing, is revolutionizing productivity in manufacturing, warehousing and other industrial facilities. By connecting equipment, supply stores, product output and infrastructure onto a centralized system for comprehensive management, IIoT provides unprecedented plant-wide visibility, integration and efficiency.
While the IIoT uses automation to optimize productivity and profitability mostly through production equipment and building management systems, adding connected LED lighting into the mix now is an option designed to provide some unique benefits, such as the following:
1. Better Communication. Smart LED lighting networks use wireless technology to communicate and send commands between the management console and each fixture. These nodes also can be used to extend connectivity throughout the plant, amplifying Wi-Fi connectivity in dead zones without additional equipment.
An emerging new technology called Li-Fi, which uses the visible light spectrum to transmit data, could soon replace Wi-Fi, using the light emitted by the fixtures as the data network.
2. Enhanced Safety. Connected lighting can be networked with smoke detectors and other hazardous substance alarms to provide an integrated safety network. The system can be configured to illuminate the fastest, safest evacuation route for personnel based on areas where airborne pollutants are detected, to confirm staff move away from the area instead of inadvertently into a trouble spot.
3. Improved Security. LEDs already provide better visibility and clarity on closed-circuit HD security systems compared to conventional lighting. Incorporating an HD Wi-Fi security camera into the lighting fixture itself can provide a two-for-one security solution that increases coverage and visibility with less infrastructure to install and maintain.
4. Productivity Tools. Smart lighting networks already are equipped with motion detectors and daylight harvesting sensors that automatically turn the lights on, off and dim based on need to reduce energy usage and cost.