Key Advantages of Industrial Computer Networking

By: Grant King, IndustrySearch Writer
10 March, 2016

Imagine for a moment that your business is a rugby team.

Without industrial computer networking the outside backs practice new moves with one coach, the inside backs practice new moves with a second coach, and the forwards create new moves of their own with a third. They all then come together a minute before kickoff and no one has a clue what anyone else is doing. They all have skills.  They all have plans. But neither the skills nor the plans are connected. Therefore they can’t compete.

The same can be said for your business if the executive level, sales and marketing level, and manufacturing level aren’t working together via a coordinated, integrated computer system. You end up with essentially independent islands of endeavour all beavering away industriously in their own meritorious ways and then wondering why the business as a whole still isn’t exactly performing.

Play as a team

And that means getting your network architecture working with the same data and game plan from your executive level to your factory floor. It means one integrated computer network with the same software talking in the same language about the same things. It means one skill set, not the two or three you may currently have with multiple networks operating in different ways; each requiring its own specialist IT.

All work and no play

Multiple computer networks also means a lot more work. Incompatible data has to be aggregated, moved and reanalysed over and over across systems. Not only is this far more labour intensive than it needs to be, the information fed from network to network can be a bit like a game of Chinese Whispers. Such mixed messages can only hamper efficiency, productivity and, ultimately, competitiveness.

Unify your game plan

With real-time consistency and visibility across every department your operation can produce the right products at the right time at the right price and get them into the right hands. That’s the ultimate reality of industrial computer networking. Of course this assumes a high level of accuracy already exists in each department, but such accuracy can only enjoy optimum success in a uniform, companywide environment.

Recruit your Ethernets and fieldbuses  

The network architecture you choose will come in one of three forms: a fully industrial Ethernet; a combo of Ethernet with a minimum of fieldbuses (basically network protocols for real-time distributed control); or Ethernet and whatever number of fieldbuses it takes to do the job. And if none of that made the slightest bit of sense, don’t worry. Your techno people will be able to work out the best system for your needs.