HART communicators offer intelligent device management (IDM). On the other hand, IIoT usually means a system with SMART devices connected to each other and a cognitive platform. These devices send data through digital protocols to the platform for analysis. The article talks about such communicators and applications.
See, the cognitive platform uses all the data from the SMART devices both to monitor the process conditions and to learn. It can help you avoid future problems with your devices and improve your process!
Also, we now have plant information management systems (PIMS) with cloud options. That means you can store your data remotely and even have off-site specialists reviewing your devices and sending you reports about their performance.
Connecting a HART device to an IIoT platform
We have so many ways to implement HART devices in an IIoT platform today. Let’s start with a common scenario, where you have HART devices connected to the control system using analog, our good old 4-20 mA.
When you don’t have digital connections between your devices and your system, you need another way to pull your field data. In this article, we discuss the usage of a wireless solution versus a multiplexer or programmable logic controller (PLC) card.
If you have analog on your HART field devices, then consider a wireless solution. It practically clicks into your system with hardly any reworking of your structure, so it’s super easy! To do this, you’ll need to install a wireless adapter in your field device. The adapter will read the HART data and send everything to the gateway.
The gateway uses an ethernet protocol to send the data to the system. Once the data gets there, you can integrate it in an archive. Later, that data can go into a PIMS.
Before you go getting all excited about your new wireless gizmo, I’ll warn you that it costs more per point than the PLC card but less than the multiplexer. Let’s go to the next one so you can cool off and consider your alternatives.
This traditional setup can give you the same data as the wireless. On the down side, the cost of implementation and the number of hands involved make it an expensive choice.
Frankly, I’m not a fan. I had a bad experience with a multiplexer once. The control system had interference between the field devices and the plant asset management system. We had to install barriers to get into the control system, but it took us a while to find that workaround. If you know of any good points to a multiplexer worth mentioning, hit me up.
Depending on your control system, you might be able to upgrade your input card with a HART card. In my opinion, it’s not the best choice, but let me tell you why. You may find a better way, and if you do, drop it on me!
To read your diagnostics through the control system, you may have to go brand-specific on your devices and software. Many control systems on the market have external PIMS solutions that can’t access data from other brands. If you’re already a loyalist for a certain company, then you’re gold! But if you have a mixed family, you’re out in the cold. Again.
On the positive side, this can cost less, depending on your system. Of course, if you have a really old system, it may cost more to upgrade the whole thing than to go with a wireless solution or multiplexer. You’ll have to do the math on that.
HART devices provide enough data to support PIMS in IIoT solutions. You just have to find a way to access that data. Open protocols and standardized solutions are crucial to expand connectivity across various brands of devices and systems.
While some people talk about IIoT like it’s still in the future, I believe we can have IIoT systems now. Several companies have developed gateways and cloud storage for it, and our field devices already have the data we need. We just need to use it appropriately.
To know more about such products, you get in touch with our engineers!