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Top Industry Trends: Our 5 Most Popular Articles of 2017

Banner Engineering 1/10/2018

Top Industry TrendsFrom the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to IO-Link communication, many trends in industrial automation have gained traction in the past few years and have become more than just industry buzzwords. Keep reading to catch up on some of the most popular topics of the year.

1. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is Here

IIoT is perhaps the biggest trend in factory automation today, and IIoT technologies already impact the way factories operate. This trend will continue in the coming years as more businesses make the transition from digital to IIoT.  Therefore, it is essential to understand the terms being used, recognize how IIoT technologies are already being implemented in smart factories, and prepare your business for the future.  

Featured Article: Top 3 Capabilities of Smart Factories

Smart factories are an important part of the IIoT.  The smart factory provides plant managers with remote access to wirelessly-connected machines and components by automating the communication between industrial automation equipment and systems. Read the article to learn about 3 powerful IIoT capabilities for the smart factory.

2. IO-Link Communication Continues to Gain Traction Globally

Adoption of IO-Link communication continues to grow both in the US and worldwide. One important benefit of IO-Link is that it provides users with real-time sensor-level data that was once difficult, if not impossible, to access. For many manufacturers, these devices offer untapped potential for greater visibility into their operations and more advanced, data-driven decision making.

With IO-Link, device-level data can be made accessible to operators and plant managers, providing valuable insight into machine performance, process inefficiencies, and more. Real-time remote monitoring of sensor status allows operators to address issues as they arise, and often resolve concerns before they escalate to line shutdown.  

Featured Article: 5 Advantages of IO-Link

There are many advantages of an IO-Link system including standardized and reduced wiring, increased data availability, remote configuration and monitoring, simple device replacement, and advanced diagnostics.  

Read the article to learn more about IO-Link systems and how they can benefit your business.

3. Diverse Packaging Increases Demand for Advanced Sensing Technology

The size, shape and materials used to package a product are becoming increasingly diverse--and often more difficult for traditional sensors to detect. To accommodate this diversity, packaging automation is becoming more intelligent to support a greater number of SKUs on production lines. Smarter laser measurement sensors that measure both distance and light intensity (dual mode) are becoming a valuable tool for detecting a wider range of objects with fewer devices. 

Featured Article: How to Choose a Sensor for Clear Object Detection

Clear objects can be challenging to detect because they allow light to pass through them. This article compares three types of sensor technologies frequently used for clear object detection. Learn how each technology works to detect transparent objects and how to choose the right technology for your application.  

4. Machine Safety Becomes More Intuitive

Despite the complexities of industrial safety systems, safety can be more intuitive.  The key is to find solutions that are easy to setup and use correctly and that allow operators to seamlessly interact with the devices.  Intuitive safety systems combine easy-to-use safety devices with LED indicators that can work together to make managing complex safety systems simpler and more visual. 

Furthermore, remote access to devices throughout a manufacturing facility is becoming more important for maintaining flexibility and visibility, and safety is no exception.  Remote access to the operational status of machine safety components allows plant managers to monitor and diagnose systems quickly before problems impact machine availability and productivity.  

Featured Article: 9 Common Machine Safety Devices

Mechanical hazards on machinery typically occur at points of operation, points of power transmission, and other points of machine movement. Safeguarding devices are designed to limit the risk to personnel for accident or injury at these points. This infographic illustrates 9 machine safeguarding and indication devices that work together to ensure safety.

5. LED Lighting Helps Manufacturers Save Costs and Improve Productivity 

Saving money is an important consideration for most industrial users. Even if lighting does not account for a large share of the operating budget, every bit of savings can help the bottom line. Upgrading to rugged, long-lasting LED task and area lighting has become an effective way to reduce facility and machine costs while improving the productivity, safety, and functionality of a space. The bright, uniform light from LED fixtures also helps improve ergonomics and helps ensure the accuracy of manual assemblies and visual inspections. 

Featured Article: Lux/Lumens Calculator

Providing the right amount of light for a task can have a significant impact on efficiency, productivity, and safety. The amount of light needed to properly illuminate a task or process can vary by application. 

This article explains how to determine lighting needs by looking at lux and lumens.