The industrial processing sector is rife with challenges not present in other verticals. Extremely harsh physical environments, complex machinery and tremendous energy consumption make the industry unique in its technology needs. This is where the building automation and IoT gateways can come into play.
Building automation allows industrial processing companies to largely remove the possibility of human error in several areas, including:
Industrial processors aren't short on reasons for wanting to keep unauthorized personnel out of restricted areas. Work sites are home to valuable materials, intellectual property and dangerous machinery that should only be operated by qualified employees. Automation can facilitate security features like keycard entry and allow facility managers to monitor an alarm system remotely.
The industrial processing sector uses more energy than any other, consuming approximately half the world's delivered energy on an annual basis, according to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration. A large chunk of that power is wasted on unnecessary lighting or inefficient temperature regulation. Sophisticated building automation creates rules that govern how energy is expended on site and can save a company millions.
Industrial pollution is not only unsafe for workers it can also cost companies millions of dollars in regulatory fines. Automated systems can monitor chemical output 24/7/365 to ensure levels meet industry standards. The technology sends notifications to managers if a leak or some other problem is detected and, in some cases, can self-correct.
Using programmable logic controllers (PLC)—a digital computer used to automate mechanical processes—site managers can establish rules for electric motors, hydraulic cylinders and other operations. If the system detects an irregularity with any function, it can either self-correct or alert a manager to the problem, thus eliminating the need for constant human oversight. Of course, the same extreme conditions that make industrial processing facilities difficult to manage means that networking equipment that allows for automation must be built to withstand harsh environments.