Cloud makes distributed automation possible

Share this post:

Phoenix ContactInquiring minds in the manufacturing industry want to know: how is it possible to use a process control network for distributed automation?

Manufacturing companies work with a networking standard called PROFINET. It’s a fieldbus system based on TCP/IP technology. In other words, it’s a network used for process control in industrial automation that optimizes manufacturing. It enables direct access to data from automation systems at the control and production level.

Because PROFINET uses Ethernet for end-to-end data transfer, it can only connect devices within a closed network. My company, Phoenix Contact, a global market leader and innovator in the field of electrical engineering, wanted to open the PROFINET network and communicate with standard controllers over the internet, which would enable distributed automation.

Taking PROFINET to the cloudPhoenix Contact distributed automation

As the name suggests, Phoenix Contact’s PROFICLOUD solution extends PROFINET to the cloud. This simplifies communications among industrial machines and makes distributed automation a possibility. It doesn’t matter where the network devices are located.

It’s also possible for an organization to customize the PROFICLOUD solution with integrated data services. These might include weather, local time, tariffs or complex calculations.

Deployed on IBM Cloud virtual servers

To enable distributed automation and other functionality for PROFINET, Phoenix Contact sought a cloud services provider that had a strong presence in Europe because of local data requirements. It also needed to have connection points worldwide.

Phoenix Contact already had a long-term relationship with IBM, which demonstrated the advantages of the IBM Cloud environment over other platforms. With IBM Cloud, as Phoenix Contact’s customers grow, our company can scale up and get needed support from the IBM team at no additional cost.

Predictive maintenance

One of Phoenix Contact’s waterworks customers uses PROFICLOUD to control and monitor decentralized pump stations. The customer programmed a device to incorporate weather data and to get information about river water levels in its country through an open database from the government.

Now the organization knows that in two days it will rain and the river level will rise. It can do a predictive check of the pumps to be sure they’re working. If they aren’t, it can send out the maintenance crew.

More control over automation

PROFICLOUD helps Phoenix Contact customers optimize and control their processes through distributed automation. One could think of PROFICLOUD as breathing new life into old machines. Just imagine a big building with a lot of machines and a lot of lights blinking.

One machine normally works without any people monitoring it, but one day there’s an error. No matter where the operator is in the building, he can immediately receive notification of the error on his smartwatch.

PROFICLOUD makes machines smarter by incorporating the possibilities and advantages that the internet offers.

Learn how IBM clients are poised for success using the IBM Cloud as their foundation.

Add Comment
No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

More Industry stories

IBM Cloud Garage sets sail to São Paulo, the startup hub of Brazil

Even while powering through a global recession, Brazil has turned into a hotspot for entrepreneurialism, innovators and foreign business. Business owners will tell you that Brazil’s most talented and mature startup scene can be found in São Paulo, a major city with a growing technology presence. For enterprises in any city, even beyond the metropolis […]

Continue reading

If you care about automation, here are 5 things to explore at Think 2018

There’s never been a better time to unleash automation at your business. Whether you’re automating your bank’s account opening process or quickly configuring a new app for customer service, your ability to automate manual tasks helps your organization grow at scale. Scale means your company serves more clients more consistently. When you can apply automation […]

Continue reading

Veolia undergoes business transformation with SAP S/4HANA on IBM Cloud

Resource scarcity, shifting social dynamics and global uncertainty have led to a greater awareness of environmental impacts than ever before. Veolia, an integrated provider of water, waste and energy services, is helping its customers and the communities within which it operates solve the complex environmental challenges they face. By rethinking sustainability, we are able to […]

Continue reading