What are the benefits of modular industrial systems?

Jon Lawson

Plants have increasingly scrapped keyboards and mice on the shop floor in favour of a more responsive human machine interface (HMI) approach. Against this backdrop, Ian Brett at industrial automation provider Novotek UK and Ireland, explains the benefits of integrating an industrial display into a modular systems architecture.  

Manufacturers are moving towards an integrated digital operating environment with the industrial internet of things (IIoT) placed firmly at the centre of this industrial transformation. Many plants have incrementally upgraded over the years in a bid to embrace digitalisation and gain a competitive edge.

In industrial settings, this can typically be achieved by full plant visualisation, where all processes in a plant are connected and digitised. This allows managers to optimise plant manufacturing and maintenance based on real-time performance data, which is essential to boost productivity. 

For example, within the packaging industry, a connected modular systems architecture offers multiple advantages for plant managers and operators including powerful data analysis, improved quality and targeting areas for efficiency improvement.

A modular system is fabricated, assembled and tested off-site prior to being installed in a new or existing plant. This system would typically include an industrial display, industrial PC and systems controllers.

Modular systems can reduce the time taken to wire and install all the components in a plant, meaning that the initial start-up time is minimised. A shorter project timeline can also reduce overall implementation costs. As technology continues to evolve, future hardware improvements can be managed without the need to replace the entire system at a costly hit to businesses. With a modular system it’s easier to diagnose and fix a problem, meaning operators are burdened with less unplanned downtime.

How do you make the best use of space?

As plants consolidate and grow to become more efficient, space is an important consideration. A modular design makes the most of the space that’s available on the shop floor. It is possible to stack modular units, where a traditional plant layout may not support this versatility.

For ultimate efficiency savings, embracing a responsive industrial display can be a cost-effective option. The Emerson RXI industrial monitor, as distributed by Novotek, is a multitouch, responsive screen that can be used with personal protective equipment. Designed for visualisation with vivid clear images, the RXi offers full SCADA representation and quick response times.

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