Getting network design right first time
An industrial network fit for purpose with the highest considerations to safety, resilience and operating needs is fundamental to avoid downtime on the factory floor further down the line. It’s estimated that more than a third of production related disruptions are due to industrial network failure that stems from original design. A well-designed network enables good manufacturing practice and is the foundation for Industry 4.0.
First right time design involves IT and OT
Industrial manufacturers and critical infrastructure organisations have specific and important operating and communication needs, often in harsh and critical environments . From automation control, to asset tracking, access control, scheduling, and real-time data for quality or traceability purposes, the network design needs to support this now and in the future. This is where there has to be convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational telecoms (OT) to get it right first time.
At Siemens Congleton we wanted to modernise our industrial network to accommodate additional operating needs, including asset tracking. We used our existing operating model - the same one that we used in the offices - to design the network. We learnt that it doesn’t work to lift and drop an IT network design model into the OT world. We spent a lot of time designing the OT network based on modern best practice to make sure the networks worked together.Andrew Peters, Managing Director at Siemens Congleton
Industrial domain expertise, coupled with IT expertise
Siemens and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, have a strategic partnership focused on bridging the OT and IT worlds. Based on the complementary portfolios, Siemens and Aruba are able to support customers with highly reliable, secure and insightful data networks enabling high plant and network availability. Customers benefit from integrated networks with proven interoperability from factory floors to corporate offices based on Siemens' expertise as a leading provider of industrial Ethernet network components and Aruba's as a leader in wired and wireless LAN infrastructure.
Top considerations for Wireless network design
Planning a network design thoroughly is critical to getting it right first time, and to avoid problems later down the line. We've outlined five steps to success with a Wireless project.
Firstly, engaging with colleagues who have Wireless Network Accreditation will assist when designing the network as they will talk the same language. Carrying out a Wireless site survey is a pre-requisite and standard in most IT biased applications. However, in the OT world it can be seen as an unnecessary process and expensive. Having multiple voices all singing from the same verse will certainly aid any objections.
Secondly, if the application is to be installed in an area or location that has an existing Wireless network (an IT type network) then a discussion is required on channel planning to ensure that there are clearly defined channels for IT and OT purposes without any overlap. Having these defined policies prepared, in-place and understood will only enhance the overall resilience and reliability of both the IT and OT Networks.
The idea of this phase is to ensure that the network is fully functional and has been fully tested to ensure it works and recovers as expected. It’s important to bottom out any commissioning issues with the application as this is more likely to be the root cause of any problems, as opposed to the network technology.
Unlike home WiFi systems where it’s no big deal if you have to inch slightly closer to the router, or open a door to get the coverage, these compromises can’t be made in an Industrial setting because operations won’t work if the installation isn’t precisely and exactly planned and executed. Care needs to be taken with not only the correct positioning of the hardware but also with any antenna cabling and correct alignment of any antenna.
Equally important to consider when designing a Wireless network is the network infrastructure that the Wireless network will connect onto or into.
Once the installation is completed and signed off the next steps is to check the infrastructure is fit for purpose and meets the requirements detailed in the initial scoping document. Once your application is up and running and your network is running as expected, you should think about proactive and reactive maintenance.
Foundation for Industry 4.0In the future Internet of Things (IoT), communications-capable machines will be by far the most common type of device. At the same time, the number of networked industrial robots in use every year will double. The volume of data will also see substantial growth. This development highlights the fact that digitalisation is possible only in combination with powerful data communications.
Equipped for the Internet of Things
The trend toward digitalization is still far from peaking – that’s still a long way off. The result is huge pressure on industry: Companies have to prepare for the Internet of Things if they are to succeed in global competition for the long term. Something that’s often forgotten in this context, however, is that there can be no digital transformation without an appropriate communication network in place.
For the digital factory, powerful and future-proof networks form the core of this data communication. They are what enable all assets involved in the value-added process to be seamlessly integrated. They permit a seamless exchange of data both horizontally and vertically. And they can grow along with the increasing volumes of data. As a consequence, they are an indispensable prerequisite for all companies that want to share the journey into the digital future.
Backbone of the Digital Enterprise
The vision of complete digitalization is based on nothing else than the fact that the real world is simulated in a virtual environment. To this end, data and information is continuously read from sensors, electronic devices, machines and systems and transmitted to intelligent systems which create a digital twin of the actual environment.
The virtual model permits planning, engineering, simulation and optimization of the processes, before an actual implementation even begins. In this way, processes are implemented even faster, more smoothly and effectively, and productivity is significantly increased.
Continuous exchange of information in real time
Intelligent data analysis using digitalization is an effective way to improve competitiveness, whether the goal is predictive planning and optimization of manufacturing processes, improving resource and cost efficiency in the process industry, or implementing trail-blazing strategies for the energy supply system. For example, the virtual representation of reality, known as the “digital twin,” makes it possible to design, simulate, and optimize machines and plant, long before they are implemented in reality.
Podcast: Exploring 5G and Industry 4.0
· The value of implementing 5G technologies for industry
· The problems with legacy systems
· The need to disassociate 5G from previous generations of mobile technology
· Challenges and barriers that industrial IoT deployment and adoption faces
· Digital Catapult’s 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme
Expertise instead of experimentsPowerful, reliable industrial communication networks are more than just the sum of their components. That's why no aspect of their design, planning, or implementation can be left to chance. Instead, these sophisticated challenges require a high level of skill in all relevant disciplines combined with solid industry and application expertise. It's this combination that distinguishes Siemens from the competition and makes us the ideal partner for industrial communication networks that will remain viable into the future.
Customized network technology enhances competitiveness and paves the way toward digitalizationDigitalization is opening up completely new prospects in all sectors of industry: intelligent data analysis, for example, enables manufacturing processes to be planned and optimized with foresight, the efficiency of resources and costs in the process industry to be improved, advanced concepts for power utilities to be implemented, and road and rail transport to be controlled effectively.
The industrial backbone plays an “intermediary” for an enterprise-wide data highway
Read in the exclusive white paper how the individual levels of an industrial network interact, which topological particularities they have and what you must consider when planning them.
Get in touch
When there is money available, it’s easy to default to investing in machinery because projected increases in OEE and production capacity are tangible. However, the root cause for lost productivity is all too often in network design. Our experts can help you uncover this. Leave us a message.