Would you build a house without a blueprint? Would that blueprint have a foundation and include safety measures like windows and doors with locks?
What about a new addition you want to add to your home? You wouldn’t just throw a house together without calling an architect to help make sure the building stays structurally sound.
Every project needs a solid plan to be successful, and every home needs security and safety measures to keep its occupants safe from unwanted intruders. That same logic can relate to industrial manufacturing plants.
As time goes on and technology advances, we continue to add more and more to our plants: new lines, devices, sensors, processes, computers, servers, switches, and etc. When we added these, we didn’t necessarily consider how to design the plant Ethernet network, and it organically grew and evolved over time. Plant-wide Ethernet brought us the ability to easily collect and share data across our enterprise, making our plants more efficient and productive while increasing the quality of our products.
Challenges Come With Ethernet Networks in Manufacturing
In today’s world, data is important and is the key to staying competitive in the marketplace. The plant floor network is the foundation we use to grab and store data from all of our devices. As we added more to our plants, did we have a plan on how to expand those networks? Some of our networks have 1000+ Ethernet devices on the same network, all talking to each other, resulting in unexplained downtime.
Another concern that arises is cybersecurity as we expanded our networks. There are now 1000+ more access points to our valued assets. Most likely, we thought about it after the fact, and it’s so complicated and frightening we just hope nothing happens.
Ethernet on the plant floor brought an endless list of possibilities, but it also brought new challenges that we have to consider. Like how to keep the doors to the house locked and constantly monitor who is trying to get inside. Or, the concern that if we make our networks more secure it will slow down production. Knowing the potential challenges allows us to address them and find ways to keep our networks secure without interfering with production.
Building a Solid Network Foundation
We are being asked to collect more and more data in our plants, and without the proper foundation, the house might come crumbling down on us. Unlike the foundation or plan for building a house, it’s never too late to reestablish the foundation of a manufacturing plant. We can go back and look at what was done, plan, make adjustments, and reestablish the foundation.
When you take the time to properly plan, you set your company up for continued success and growth. EESCO can help you get there as your trusted advisor and partner. Our team of experts offers experience over a wide variety of plant applications through our vast network of partners.