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Offering customers the latest technologies is one way we try to make a name for ourselves, and improve their operations. We've normally been pretty traditional with our sensor technology, but suppliers are pushing imaging solutions more aggressively since cost is becoming less of an issue.
Several of the engineers implementing device-level networks and Ethernet in our machines want more machine-to-machine communication capabilities to supposedly help our customers. Some of our managers are concerned that M2M traffic could quickly grow beyond our customers’ ability to monitor and control it, and so M2M might actually hinder machine...
Along with the growing use of smartphones and other mobile devices used for remote HMI monitoring functions, we note that many operators and technicians are more comfortable with the touchscreens on a smartphone than on a conventional HMI.
We've used basic PLCs and I/O for machine control for a long time. Our machines have to do more than before, and we need more connectivity options and a more COTS, standards-based approach to hardware and programming.