Is it always convenient to adopt open source technology?
|| The spread of open source technology and of electronic cards, easy to configure and assemble, has implemented the scope of application of electronic prototypes making them accessible to makers and hobbyists. The reasons for this success are to be found in the competitive price of individual components and in the availability of information found online especially in forums held by makers.
Though in most cases the choice of hardware solutions in the field of open source hobby/educational proves successful not always this is what happens in industry. Very often the success of a project based on the use of open source hardware solutions depends on the business scenario in which you want to operate. Depending on the level of automation the company has achieved, it may experience different outcomes.
- Companies with scarcely automated systems
These structures, usually not newly built, do not have in them fieldbus infrastructure or traditional communications such as wired Ethernet. The absence of such technologies and equipment for production control leads to the implementation of sensors in the plant in order to acquire the data needed for production. In these cases the use of data acquisition cards may be the most convenient solution and the use of open source hardware is especially suitable. In fact, by combining prototype solutions with next generation wireless devices, such as Bluetooth Low Energy components, there is a considerable saving of costs of infrastructure and investment.
- Enterprises with automated systems on average
These structures have within them devices of numerical controls and heterogeneous purchased at different times. The presence of different automation equipment such as PLCs of different brands and technologies, making it difficult both homogeneous data acquisition and integration of their functional programs. Moreover, since the machines have been purchased at different times, it may happen that the company lacks the professionals with maintenance skills on such equipment. In these cases, the adoption of open source hardware can provide an opportunity to introduce at the factory infrastructure more homogeneous and flexible integration time with the field.
- Companies with highly automated installations
These enterprises already own infrastructure of the field of communication homogeneous in all areas of production. Moreover, since they are often young or newly built companies they have within them the professionals needed to perform maintenance and intervention on the machines, PLCs, SCADA systems and / or OPC servers. In these cases you prefer to use and upgrade existing technologies rather than introduce new ones as the machines are already configured to support protocols such as Modbus field, ISO / TCO or Profibus, ensuring access to OPC servers and to encourage integration with databases open automation systems.