The world's most capable, rugged and secure
industrial control system...
Introducing Bedrock OSA® Remote
- Intrinsically-secure PLC and RTU control
- 10 or 20 channels of universal I/O
- Free IEC 61131-3 engineering software
- -40ºC to +80ºC temperature range
- Rugged, all-metal case 5.4 in x 8.9 in x 2.3 in
Weathering the storm
September 19, 2019
While the debate about the causes and treatments of climate change rages on, few people doubt that weather patterns are changing at alarming rates. Last year’s hurricane losses were double the average and 2017 was the costliest hurricane season ever. For 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that there will be up to 15 named hurricanes in the Atlantic this year, and as of Sept 18, there have already been 10.
And although NOAA has classified 2019 as a “near normal” year, the impact of Dorian on the Bahamas exemplifies why it continues to recommend vigilance and preparation. A process automation system can play a role in preventing, mitigating and recovering from the consequences of a hurricane, in the following ways:
- Safety instrumented systems (SIS) can shut hazardous processes down in a safe sequence to minimize damage and disruption.
- Extended temperature operating ranges can minimize the impact of heat generated by fires
- Waterproof modules can prevent losses to water damage, and may even secure operation in some instances
- Encasing controls in metal enclosures can help withstand the impact of trauma from, for example, falling debris
- Resistance to lightning can keep systems operating even after a direct hit
- Intelligent backup power supplies can keep vital processes running during power blackouts
Despite what can be done to prevent and mitigate disruption, no one will ever be 100 percent disaster-proof, so a sound disaster recovery plan is essential. “For the most efficient virtual disaster recovery, an organization should copy virtual machine (VM) workloads off-site on a regular basis. Replication can essentially make a real-time copy of VMs in a separate location, thus strengthening the disaster recovery,” according to “The Essential Guide to Business Continuity and Disaster recovery plans.”
Today, the convergence of virtualization and edge computing holds the promise of making disaster recovery more manageable than ever. As Jeff Ready, CEO at Scale Computing puts it, writing in Manufacturing.net: “Edge computing systems should integrate with cloud environments to create a hybrid edge-cloud infrastructure. Applications, data, logs and the like generated at the edge can and should be linked back to the cloud, whether private or public. Likewise, resources that exist primarily in the cloud should be tied back to the edge to ensure production continues even if cloud availability is interrupted for a time.”
Accomplishing the integration that Ready calls for, industrial automation, requires edge controllers with more bandwidth than has historically been needed for automation of basic processes. Fortunately, leaps in price performance, as predicted by Gordon Moore, and the emergence of open standards, have made the necessary advanced technology affordable, provided of course that those systems are intrinsically secured.
Moore power to you
The capacity required to drive the next generation of edge computing will also be necessary to support the hardening and ruggedization that can prevent and mitigate the impact of disasters.
See related article “Building on Bedrock, Your Foul-Weather Friend” for a summary of measures that Bedrock Automation has taken to ensure that its solutions deliver the maximum protection from environmental threats.