- Wireless technology enables flexibility in instrumentation, such as robotics, to collaboratively optimize production
- Wireless solutions allow users to access and manage or monitor equipment remotely, which increases personal safety and comfort
- Additionally, wireless monitoring reduces required travel and is cheap and easy to install and maintain compared to tradition wired systems
There are many benefits of wireless technology in industrial applications. If we ignore any technical requirements for a moment, the benefits of wireless solutions over traditional cabling are numerous and significant. To start with, let’s imagine a smart factory offering true flexibility where Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) can go wherever needed all day. Every day, robotics work collaboratively to optimize production. This flexibility and automation are not possible without a wireless solution. Companies are increasingly asking for more flexibility and automation so they can create customized products at a quicker pace.
Using wireless technology in industrial applications brings many benefits such as flexibility, automation, and remote management or monitoring.
Wireless Technology in Industrial Applications Increases Productivity with Automated Solutions
This enables them to increase productivity and reduce the time to market to meet tight market windows. Wireless technology can provide the answer as wireless technology facilitates flexible and automated solutions. With wireless solutions, users can access and manage or monitor equipment remotely, which in turn offers lots of benefits, such as increased personal safety or comfort. There is no need for personnel to climb a long ladder, descend into the depths of a mine, or enter any other unpleasant or potentially dangerous environment to check on an equipment.
It’s possible to access the data remotely and in real time allowing companies to analyze the data and conduct predictive maintenance to prevent unexpected downtimes. Some factories, such as Hitachi, are now using AR and creating digital twins to constantly monitor equipment and collect live data so they can quickly spot problems and take the required actions before the problems impact productivity1.
Remote Access for Industrial Instrumentation
If the equipment is connected to a WAN, then there’s no need to even be near the equipment and as a result you can reduce the cost and the inconveniences of traveling. It’s also easier to use the equipment. You can Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and access an easy-to-use Human Machine Interface (HMI) to monitor or configure the equipment rather than having to use a Command Line Interface (CLI) onsite. The younger engineers, who grew up using smartphones, are more comfortable using an HMI rather than a CLI. So, this option is becoming increasingly important as the number of younger engineers in the market increases.
Cost Benefits of Wireless Technology in Industrial Applications
On top of the reduction in travel, there are also other cost benefits. Wireless solutions are cheaper to install and easier to scale or modify. Maintenance costs are also reduced. Since you don’t need to manually connect to the equipment, the connectors are less likely to be damaged from constant use. Replacing worn or damaged cables is no longer a concern, as you’re using the electromagnetic spectrum which doesn’t suffer from wear and tear as cables do.
Finally, wireless technology can be used in situations where it’s hard to use traditional cabling. For example, in the oil industry or maritime logistics where installing miles and miles of underwater cables is not possible and a more practical solution is to connect devices wirelessly to a base station or satellite.
Improve Process Efficiency with Remote Management and Monitoring of Industrial Equipment
- equipment can work all day, every day
- greater mobility and freedom of movement
- collaborative robots
- Remote Management and Monitoring
- reduces worker’s exposure to unpleasant, dangerous, or busy industrial environments
- reduces travel
- better access to data enables predictive maintenance e.g. via Digital twins
- Ease of Use
- use an HMI rather than a CLI
- BYOD to access equipment
- Reduce Costs
- cheaper to install
- easier to scale or modify
- cheaper to maintain – no need to replace worn cables, reduce wear and tear on connectors
- Long Distance Communication
- enables communication over long distances which can be difficult for cables e.g. marine transport or oil industry