The process industry is competitive and constantly changing. To keep up, companies are upgrading their facilities and network infrastructure. Ultimately, their goal is to build a connected facility that is more responsive to customer needs, shifts in demand, and operational conditions. These changes increase the need for data gathering, control, analytics, connectivity of machines and people, network capacity, and security. And in turn, those new demands create more complexity and require more advanced networks.
Today’s industrial wireless tools can help support these new requirements, paving the way for business benefits such as: real-time decision making, enhanced mobility, and increased uptime and productivity. Let’s examine each of these three areas below.
Real-Time Decision Making
Wireless networks give OT leaders access to vital production information across the supply chain. This enables more competitive manufacturing through:
Visibility across the facility. Wireless sensors help monitor environmental conditions. They can trigger alerts to OT if a problem is on the horizon. Then, OT can resolve the issue before it causes a long downtime period.
Remote expert collaboration. Wireless can support secure, high-definition video conferencing. This helps when the use off-site experts is needed, speeding problem resolution and lowering costs.
Mobile workforce. OT personnel are no longer tethered to their desks. Wireless enables connectivity across the plant. This means OT can get the information they need throughout the day on their tablets or handheld devices, while giving them more time in other areas of the facility.
The industrial plant environment is constantly on the move and requires advanced technology capable of adapting to a complex and dynamic setting. A wireless network solution meets these demands with:
Reliable connectivity. Wireless industrial solutions ensure communication remains uninterrupted across facilities regardless of structural changes and facility size. With a network that offers increased mobility, personnel are empowered to conduct business while on the move. This technology enables mobile operators and personnel to monitor processes across the plant floor, improving data sharing efficiency and performance, even in the most challenging locations.
Simple monitoring and tracking of assets. Industrial process environments are in a continual state of flux, which means assets are often moved and relocated. Wireless networks help better track assets throughout operations to minimize loss and save replacement costs.
Increased Uptime and Productivity
Production issues are costly, which is why uptime and productivity are critical success factors. But how can wireless contribute to improving them?
Connecting people and machines. With effective wireless technologies, operations workers are no longer confined to a control room. Instead, they can track critical data on hand-held devices and receive real-time alerts from equipment. This allows operations leaders to respond quickly to actionable information. They can immediately contact the right expert, collaborate securely, and address any issues. This accelerates decision making, decreasing downtime.
Adding redundancy. Wireless can add a layer of redundancy for the network. This helps ensure that critical data gets through and that outages do not take down an entire network. Quality of Service (QoS) features enable manufacturers to prioritize critical traffic, helping ensure that it is not delayed or dropped due to network congestion.
Set Up Your Facility for Digital Transformation Success
Want practical tips for bringing IT and OT teams together to make digital transformation a reality in your facility? In partnership with Cisco, we’re hosting a free webinar on July 12 to show you how to enable remote access and collaboration for workers located anywhere across the globe using industrial wireless solutions. Register now to save your seat. Can’t attend the live event? No problem – complete your registration and we’ll send the on-demand recording to your inbox after the event.