A few weeks ago, I attended the Motor and Drive conference in Orlando. Besides the respite from winter in the North, it was a good opportunity to hear from professionals about the latest technologies and efforts to improve motor and drive technology.
I shared with them my thoughts about how networking is no longer an option for motor and drive people. In the past, networking was a nice addition to a drive. It was an option. Some customers took it, but most didn’t.
But now the motor and drive landscape is completely different.
Motor and Drive connectivity has gone from a nice option to a functionality taken for granted. Your customers now expect your motor or drive to show up able to communicate with whatever programmable controller they have, with the ability to send energy data to the Enterprise and alarm data to a Cloud device. Your customers want your drive to “phone home” if there’s a problem or process upset. They want to monitor your drive from their desks, the lunch room and the living room couch.
The hard truth is you need a wide array of connectivity options just to be in the game. Quite frankly, in 2018 it’s a mistake to not support a wide array of connectivity options. In fact, Ethernet capability is a prerequisite for participation in many new automation projects.
Motor and Drive customer requirements are now vastly different than they were just a few years ago. More manufacturers today are capturing more and more process data. They’re sending that data to the Enterprise or the Cloud where advanced analytics systems can process it. They’re archiving more data for regulatory and compliance reasons. They’re building dashboards with up to the second process status. They’re sensorizing everything – adding vibration sensors to pumps, motors and other actuators.
If your Motors or Drives aren’t offering the right connectivity options – you can’t compete.
It’s plain and simple.
But I admit, if you’re a Motor and Drive professional, it’s tough to know what to support. There are an array of technologies, all with proponents telling you what they have is exactly what you need. There is EtherNet/IP, PROFINET IO, OPC UA, Modbus TCP, EtherCAT and lots more.
Some of these are tied to a large control vendor. Some are for motion applications. Some are for moving information. I’ll admit, it’s a mess.
To help find your way through this morass I recently wrote a paper called “Drive Connectivity is NOT an Option” to explain all these technologies and recommend how you can get connected. The paper is a quick introduction to the most important technologies for Motor and Drive professionals. It provides a quick overview of the technology, why you should support it and what the advantages and disadvantages of each technology are.
Best of all, it’s completely technology agnostic. My job is to help you get connected, not to promote any specific technology.
If you’re a drive professional or just someone with a similar product that needs connectivity, you can get that paper by filling out the contact us form and requesting the “Drive Connectivity” paper. I’ll get that paper to you within 24-hours.