PECM Issue 43 2020 | Page 90

Peer-to-Peer, Distributed Control Its Importance In Modern Plant Automation T he concept of distributed con- trol has been around for sever- al decades, but the term has often been coopted to describe systems in which many PLCs or process con- trollers have been used in a serv- er/client configuration. However, such typically heirachial connec- tions do not provide the flexibility and versatility of devices connect- ed in a peer-to-peer environment where parallel processing between devices enables unrestricted con- nectivity and almost unlimited ex- pandability. Peer-to-peer connectivity is much more complex than server/client topologies and requires a sophis- ticated operating system to ensure the deterministic behaveour es- sential in reliable control systems. However, as microprocessors have become more powerful and less ex- pensive, the idea has become both feasible and viable. As we enter a new era of plant auto- mation, smart devices and sensors require the ability to talk to oth- er intelligent entities, human and inanimate, to carry out their jobs more efficiently, and this is where the conventional PLC, server/cli- ent topology introduces a road block. Unless the required com- munications connection has been pre-programmed into the PLC, the poor lowly slave device is trapped and cannot tell the master what’s going on! The unique Bardac drive.web dis- tributed control technology pro- vides a peer-to-peer environment in which any device can communi- cate directly with any other device. Data transmission between devices is therefore both unimpeded and inherently faster. Even though the individual devices run asyn- chronously, the operating system ensures both stable system wide program thread control and pre- cise realtime data using smart time stamping. All drives, programma- ble controllers, i/o controllers, etc., are both Internet accessible and in- corporate a full featured program- mable control capability, so as your system gets bigger, each extra com- ponent adds more parallel process- ing capacity and you never run out of steam! ENTERPRISE LEVEL secure VPN connection. The important thing about the drive. web distributed control concept is that any device in the entire enterprise can talk to any other device (subject to the appropriate security access). Two other interesting drive.web products are the speedy control- ler and the savvy tools. MACHINE LEVEL At the basic machine level all com- ponents are connected by an Eth- ernet LAN, and the whole system can be accessed either via the LAN or any of the device USB ports. savvyPanel HMI configurations reside in the devices for easy iOS or Android mobile access. The speedy is a minute proces- sor (less than half the size of your thumb) that easily embeds into most third party drives to provide both onboard programmable control functions and the peer- to-peer, distributed control ca- pability, thereby eliminating the potentially isolated nature of the drive.web technology. The savvy platform independent tools provide seamless, system wide programming and control. PLANT LEVEL Local engineering, production and SCADA access can easily be inte- faced to the machine system and complete, safe access provided to remote enterprise locations via a drive.web’s versatility, ease of use and inclusive nature will ensure its ready acceptance into the In- dustrial Internet of Things arena. email drive.web automation Bardac Corporation. ☎️ USA 410 604 3400 ☎️ UK 01924 475 479