Since 1997, R.M. Hoffman has leveraged the Internet as a business tool. What impact will IoT have on us and our customers?
By Tom Hoffman, President/ceo, R.m. Hoffman Company
During prior months, like you I’ve been bombarded with content from trusted technical sources about the new kind of Internet called IoT, the Internet of Things. Initially I didn’t give it much thought. Then, in Machine Design magazine I spotted the infographic on the right:
Do you see Factory Automation at 9:00 on the ring entitled Internet of Things? What is that? I pondered. My firm does a lot of business in factory automation. It seemed prudent to learn. The fact that Machine Design’s editors published it was a message in itself. Here is some of what I learned:
- The Internet delivers continuous connectivity using Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) for communications among and between computing devices. No IP address? You are not on the Internet. Each thing has an IP address.
- Things are always communication nodes (every tablet, smartphone or desktop PC includes a node). Nodes may be designed to communicate in a wide variety of wired and wireless ways, including Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, RFID and several more protocols. Each thing is thus a micro transceiver.
The Whole Ball of Wax
In this regard, IoT offers several benefits:
- Machine – machine data communications at speeds that support deterministic performance. Together with real-time fieldbus technology (for example, industrial Ethernet), IoT makes incredibly obvious use of TCP/IP for sensor data
- “Big data” support. Companies using sophisticated software for preventive and scheduled maintenance will now enjoy much more data from things. In factory automation and motion control, that means sensor data from a lot more nodes. This will help predict failures well in advance. Yes, IoT can save lots of money by avoiding unexpected factory automation downtime
- Internet-enabled data acquisition and control. Our Nest example on steroids. More money saved!
Hoffman sells a wide range of motion components that our customers use in automation and robotics. Our value-added engineering services produce problem-solving electromechanical motion assemblies that include encoders or are engineered to mount sensors installed by our customers. This is where IoT enters the picture: machine-to-machine communications of data produced by encoders and sensors in mechanical motion control products and assemblies.
In other words, each sensor may have an IP address; each sensor may include a micro transceiver; and each sensor’s defined job now has greater value. Hoffman is ready to work with customers as IoT comes through the door.
Let me put you on to some links I found that can help bootstrap your knowledge. I encourage you to learn more because IoT is coming and the benefits are positive:
- Connecting the Unconnected in the IoT
- The Internet of Things: Our Inevitable Future or a Pipe Dream?
- RFID Makes Internet of Things Come to Life
- What's the Difference Between the Internet of Things and the Internet for Things?
- The Next Tech Step: Blending Manufacturing with Big Data and IoT
- The industrial Internet: The next wave in manufacturing technology
- No More Excuses: Transformative IoT is Staring You in the Face
- GE Launches Digital Division, Focusing on IoT
As it happens, we’ll present more insight into the impact and utility of IoT for motion control. We encourage you to stay tuned for interesting case study episodes of Hoffman’s value-added motion solutions developed to solve specific problems. In the meantime, please review our wide range of successful projects. You’ll be able to get in touch quickly to begin our Discovery process with no obligation. CLICK HERE.
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