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Industrial Automation Unites the Best of OT and IT

For manufacturing and infrastructure industries with an automation focus, the increasing use of data to drive analytical insights has forced a convergence of traditional operational technology (OT) with information technology (IT), creating a need for more united implementations. In response, commercial advancements in hardware, software, and networking have been adopted into industrial platforms at an increasing rate.

These trends have been driven by available technology and sophisticated end users who want the same flexibility and convenience offered by consumer applications. However, the path to merging OT with IT has had a few bumps and potholes.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) relies on well-coordinated products and performance in the OT and IT realms. For the progressively overlapping roles of OT and IT to be most effective, it is necessary to merge the strengths of OT and IT disciplines. It’s useful to examines what those strengths are, and how a hybrid OT/IT solution approach can become greater than the sum of its parts.


OT and IT seek to expand constraints

A reality is work performed in OT and IT environments are subjected to unique constraints. One key challenge is traditional hardware and software solutions used by OT and IT evolved from different starting points. They are used by distinct groups of people whose objectives and skill sets were not the same. OT and IT specialists often find themselves out of their element when exposed to common tools used by the other group.

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Artificial Intelligence at the Edge Improves Manufacturing Productivity

Ever since IBM rolled out the world’s first mainframe computer in the 1950s, engineers and manufacturers in information technology (IT) have been pushing the boundaries of possibility through microelectronics and software. However, modern computer capabilities did not surface in the industrial operations technology (OT) space until recently, as machine builders began to realize the benefits IT can provide for efficiency and productivity.

A decade ago, digitalization and advanced analytics in OT environments gave adopters a leg up on their competitors. But today, manufacturers cannot keep up unless they lean on IT advances. These advances address challenges for plants, such as difficulty employing knowledgeable personnel, unexpected equipment failures and lack of operational insights for increasing efficiency.

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Five Reasons to Use Modular Design Enclosures

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When choosing a cabinet to house controls or other equipment, users have two fundamental choices: a unibody (unitary) design, which is formed by folding and welding sheet metal into a suitable shape; and a modular design, where the basic structure is created by an internal frame with an external skin attached to it. While there might not be a major difference on the surface, differences may favor modular enclosures for plant-floor operations. Five benefits are highlighted.

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Three Ways Remote Technology Is Transforming Maintenance

Remote technology is a growing industry. According to the New York Times, 43 percent of Americans reported in 2016 that they worked remotely for at least part of their workweek. AfterCollege also reported that 68 percent of college graduates surveyed in 2015 said that remote work is one of the most attractive perks that a company could offer. But remote work is not just for people; the concept is changing how maintenance operates, as well. Remote technology can keep workers safer while also saving companies money.

Here are three ways that remote technology is changing the landscape of maintenance operations.

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