Digitalisation: Building resilience through field instrumentation

Prologue

At the end of the last year and just beginning of the year 2020, world has witnessed spread of COVID 19 across countries, which took a shape of Pandemic in no-time. It was a novel virus and the world was not prepared for it; it was left without medicine and without any real cure in sight. This resulted in forced lockdowns across countries and the social distancing became norm. This inevitably impacted businesses as they were unable to keep going there operations. Probably the worst affected was the manufacturing sector, that contributes almost 20% to Indian GDP was no exception to it. It has felt a maximum impact of lockdowns.

Now, with Unlock India, though we are trying to re-start our life and try to get back to pre-COVID era, social distancing still remains a norm and there are limitations when it comes to having specific number of people at work place. Definitely, at present, we cannot foresee entire workforce getting back to work as of now. Hence, the real questions faced by many manufacturers are how to be resilient at the time of such calamities? How to keep going critical processes with limited manpower? How to empower manufacturers for post-COVID 19 world or for any such future situation?

Manufacturers with Industry 4.0 capabilities are thought to have more means to mitigate such unforeseen circumstances. Industry 4.0 is the term used to describe the fourth industrial revolution, which means: after mechanization, mass production and the digital revolution, now digital networking of machines, products and IT networks becomes important. The IoT has already marked its entry in consumer goods sectors with household electronics and appliances and automotive electronics. However, IIoT, a subdivision of IoT, marks a separate domain for industrial manufacturing.

This article talks about initiatives of VEGA for flexible process automation that can help alleviate any such pandemic impacts for manufacturers and lead them straight to Industry 4.0.

Digital transformation through wireless devices

VEGA has been functioning tirelessly for just over six decades now and has etched its mark in setting trends in the field instrumentation. VEGA sensors, which are suitable across almost all the industries, that help measure and adjust various process parameters optimally. VEGA has been offering PLICSCOM○R    as a universal display and adjustment module, which has been Bluetooth enabled. This allows all the transmitters based on plics instrument platform to be remotely adjusted and operated via an application, more conveniently and securely. The Bluetooth function can be activated and deactivated using a hardware switch. This offers our customers choice as per their convenience and comfort level.

Bluetooth is securely encrypted at the interface level when using a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. In addition, sensor access via Bluetooth is only possible with an access code. One of the major care which was taken while designing this wireless communication concept for plics devices include its compatibility to all those VEGA devices, which are already in field dated back since 2002. This way VEGA has taken care of not making those devices obsolete and customers need not look at heavy investments when choosing for Bluetooth enabled devices.

Bluetooth communication: infallible security

Wireless communication, sometimes, arise question of security. However, apprehending this, Bluetooth communication for VEGA devices runs via a separate, second data channel, which makes it function independently of the user channel. In this way, field devices can be analyzed in parallel to the existing process control without interfering with plant security and availability.

Let the devices do the talk

With VEGA Inventory System (VIS) devices on tanks and silos can directly communicate with the supplier- via a web portal- and report the need for replenishment fully automatically and in good time. This not only save time and cost for customers making inventory management more proactive, it also helps in enhanced customer-supplier partnerships. The web based software helps supplier to assume responsibility for the customer’s stocks and makes sure that it’s sufficiently replenished. This gives customers better flexibility in his own resource planning and logistics management.

Mitigation through advanced instrumentation

Though the current pandemic situation has compelled many businesses on the path of digitalization, for VEGA it was the well though-out plan on which the action started long back. VEGA roadmap for industry

4.0 includes added value for people, applications and enterprise itself. It’s not important to measure everything but it’s utmost important to measure, what is supposed to be measured, correctly. The aim is to not leave field devices data unchecked and unused, for even a smallest change in the process parameter can help organizations to save or shade profits aplenty. The advanced features of sensors as listed here not only help organizations mitigate disturbances caused by current pandemic, but help them to become resilient for future shocks.

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