Factory Automation

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To smoothly and safely operate a modern factory, a combination of different systems with various functions need to be implemented to ensure its smooth and safe operation. Industrial IoT (IIoT) not only interconnects all the production equipment, but also instantly provide production and equipment information back to the production manager to avoid potential errors and to lower chances of equipment break down. Apart from the “Main System,” many secondary (supportive) systems are also necessary, such as fire and disaster prevention, air and waste water venting, lighting and transportation, staff safety and management, etc. With each product’s and industry’s uniqueness, the systems are breaking down to Main System and Auxiliary System.

These systems include various controllers and sensors, then combine with the industrial equipment and machinery to achieve Set Point stability. For what’s behind those automated equipment, which includes DCS, PLC, PAC, DDC, etc., are interconnected Ethernet networks that enables communications and collaboration.

Main Systems are considered as follow:

  1. FMCS (Facility Monitoring Control System)
  2. DCS (Distributed Control System)
  3. Raw Material Handling System
  4. Quality/Production Measurement System
  5. Metering system
  6. ESD (Emergency Shut Down System)
  7. Fire Alarm / Monitoring
  8. Water/Waste Treatment System
  9. Gas/Storage/Pumping System
  10. Chemistry System
  11. PS (Power Supply System)/Backup PS
  12. Environmental Monitoring/Exhaust System
  13. Leak Detect Monitoring system
  14. Others


Auxiliary Systems are considered as follow:

  1. HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning)
  2. BAS (Building Automation System)
  3. AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle)
  4. Raw Material Handling / Storage
  5. Lighting/Broadcast System
  6. Human Management / Human Safety
  7. Remote Monitoring, Unman station
  8. Device / Maintenance Monitoring
  9. Access Control / IP Surveillance system


The Main/Auxiliary Systems can implement IIoT concept, through proper planning and design to ensure a right balance between cost and demand. The IIoT design concepts can be divided into the following:

  1. The main & standby power supply
  2. Main and Backup system
  3. Media Redundancy or System Redundancy
  4. Maintenance & Repair also related cost
  5. User/operator friendly and single-window monitoring
  6. Production measurement & performance


Example 01. Process Control - DCS (Distributed Control System)

DCS is used to handle large and complex production process control. Common application are Chemical Treatment Plant (Petro Chemical), Naphtha Cracker Plant (Cracker), Thermal Power Plant (Power Plant), Sewage Treatment Plant (Water Treatment Plant), which need to rely on such a large-scale control systems in order to function. Such systems typically connects from HMI / SCADA via Industrial Ethernet to many field controllers, and then from the controllers through the Field Network to link thousands or millions of sensors, field switch or mechanical arms to operate the system. Once the system functions, a fixed yield will be reached for optimum productivity out of the plant, which is called Set Point. Wither production volume is too high or too low will both highly impact production costs and system loading. During the system planning, the use of Double Tree architecture is highly recommended, which uses dual network system to link production management systems, so when a partial failure of a system occurs, it will not affect the plant’s overall functioning. Especially with high economic value or influential plants such as petrochemical plants, power plants, etc. Please refer to the diagram below for system design.

Example 02: Process Control – PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) system

PLC system, which is different from the DCS, is used to handle relatively small or low complexity of the plant process control systems, thus the managing terminals are comparably much less. Advantages are its ease of use, low system cost, wide range of. Common applications such as Building Automation systems, Emission Control System (Pollution), Ventilation System (Exhausted Air), Fuel/Gas Tank Monitoring System, Pump Monitoring System, Gate Opening/Closing System (Gate control) and so on.

Comparing to DCS, PLC system application requirements towards productivity, immediacy and system stability are much less than DCS. In the PLC systems, generally use single or double backup source host with a single ring network system design, the system is more simple to use and maintains the flexibility and ease of maintenance. ISON's network switch provides a variety of communication interfaces to fit each customer’s needs. Twisted pair Ethernet or fiber optic lines can be mix matched according to various distances. Coupled with IA Ring, IA Chain Ring redundancy function (Redundant Ring Network), the network can reach the redundancy in within a system to assist the host PLC to not be affected due to damage network caused by any defected network devices. Please refer to the diagram below for system design.

Example 03: FMCS (Facility Monitoring Control System)

FMCS production management control system is different from the DCS system and PLC system. Much less like the size and complexity of DSC, but higher backup need than the PLC systems, which requires the design of the system to be more Redundancy centric rather than processing capacity focused. Such a requirement is common in high-tech powerhouse among Semiconductor Plant or Panel Plant (TFT / LCD / LED Panel), Steel Smelter Plant (Steel / Aluminum), Automobile Plant, etc. . On the industrial network systems typically two or three systems are designed to be used in parallel. Coupled with the double-loop network (Dual Ring) systems or even triple-loop network systems to avoid downtime caused by any system abnormalities. In particular about the high efficiency, the non-stop production of high-tech factories, it is a necessary investment. ISON loop network system with the host computer or PLC industrial modular applications can offer customers high system redundancy and error free. Please refer to the diagram below for system design.

Example 04. Raw Material Handling System

While raw material supply system in a factory is not as important as the FMCS), but with the addition of such system, a factory can save a lot of labor costs and increase efficiency. When the original materials deliver to the plant, they must be go through handling, storage, or even transport to the relevant production units within the plant, if such process is handled automatically, the efficiency can be greatly improved. While if such system fails suddenly, it will still not seriously affect the operation of the plant, and simply switch to manual mode and continue to function normally. Such type of application often appear among the factory. In other words, it is important, but not essential.

Applications such as Incoming Quality Control (IQC), Raw Material Storage, Washing/Crushing Systems, Conveyor Systems (Belt System), Hoisting Systems (Crane) and so on. Among such monitoring systems, generally a more simple way to deal with the planning system is adopted. Its main objective is to link each station’s mechanical or console stations via a single ring (Single Ring) system or a combination of wireless internet (Wi-Fi or Zigbee). Depending on the distance between the station area, the use of RJ45 or fiber-optic lines can be mix matched. Finally, the relevant information can be collected on the field side HMI, and in addition, it can also be done on demand through the linked plant control system for record and data storage.

Please refer to the diagram below for system design.

Example 05. Quality Measurement / Inspection System

After a product exist the production line, it will enter into testing and quality control process. Through scientific methods and specialty equipment to help identify defective product(s), then use the collected information to help improve the product quality and production yield. Usually such a quality control system will link with customer service system for the purpose to achieve customer satisfaction. Such work is usually a stand-alone operation, less complex, less immediacy, and no issues for network or system backup. Such systems typically use bus-like network systems, connecting these inspection machines, instruments and Library. Simple unmanaged switch can be a lot of use in these areas. Please refer to the diagram below for system design.