Network Technology Summit Review – Laying the Groundwork for Efficient Networks

Did you attend our recent Network Technology Summit? If you didn’t have the opportunity to join us, or if you did and could use a refresher, we’re creating a two-part blog series to recap what we and our manufacturing partners covered!  This comprehensive session reviewed best practices for business systems improvements, equipment upgrades, cost reduction and increased profitability for manufacturing facilities. Having a robust, secure plant floor network is becoming vital for manufacturers. Our summit focused on the best services and products to improve yours.

French Gerleman offers Clean Consistent Power solutions by APC by Schneider ElectricClean Consistent Power | APC by Schneider Electric

Downtime in manufacturing can be quite costly, but when that downtime is caused by power interruptions, it’s also quite preventable. APC by Schneider Electric addressed this issue during their presentation on how to provide clean, consistent power with Uninterrupted Power Systems (UPS). UPS units are essential to keeping uptime and preventing damages in manufacturing and electrical equipment.

Switching to a Smart UPS can result in 47% savings in eight years. UPS systems typically work at a room, row or rack level, and APC offers several options to fit your needs:

  • DIN Rail UPS – Ideal backup power source for cabinet applications requiring Mission Critical Load Support. Applications include water/wastewater, mining/metals/minerals, biotech, food and beverage, AG, oil and gas.
  • SecureUPS Solutions – Ideal for outdoor field cabinet (NEMA 4) applications such as transportation, oil and gas pipelines, water/wastewater pump stations, utility substations
  • Galaxy VS – Compact design with 97% electrical efficiency, simplifies multiple UPS offers into one platform
  • Smart-UPSTM with APC SmartConnect – Cloud based monitoring feature that provides automatic notifications, firmware updates, and advanced support services

Network Best Practices | Applied Technologies

The typical plant network has multiple processors, a single subnet and limited redundancy. Applied Technologies dug into why plant network segmentation is a best practice, and how the plant process defines the network. This starts with defining the plant process areas, the sub-process areas within the line by identifying the PLC(s) within the process area, the drives, IO, HMI connected to the PLC, and the risks/timing of the process.

To implement network best practices, Applied Technologies, coupled with French Gerleman, offers the following network services:

  • Network assessment
  • Network security posture survey
  • Machine level/plant level design
  • Network configuration mock-up
  • Server setup, virtualization and configuration
  • Network troubleshooting
  • Managed services
  • Simplified design, quicker deployment, reduced risk

French Gerleman & Applied Technologies can assist with network virtualizationVirtualization | Applied Technologies

Virtualization is the next step forward in plant infrastructure. Applied Technologies highlighted how virtualization creates a virtual version of a device or resource, such as a server, storage device, network or even an operating system. This is important because each server has numerous single points of failure, such as APPS, OS, CPU, RAM, DISK and PWR. Having servers without virtualization can be costly and inefficient, and PCs and HMIs are prone to failure and can take significant time to recover.

Using virtualization can reduce the number of servers with multiple risk points each to three, with zero risk points. By running APPS and HMIs virtually and servers in data centers, recovery time is seconds, not days! This results in fewer refresh cycles, a significant return on investment and a smaller technology footprint. Virtualization can be scaled as your business needs change and allows you to allocate storage and memory as needed and mitigate or eliminate downtime.

Test & Inspection Troubleshooting Process | AFL

What if you could get accurate results for every single fiber optic test and inspection you have?  The fiber optic test and inspection equipment market has seen a lot of innovation for over 25 years, and now AFL has launched a revolutionary approach to the Test & Inspection Product Overview procedure. Typically, this procedure has four main steps, for which AFL offers a full range of products, that can increase your accuracy and improve your process.

French Gerleman offers Test & Inspection Troubleshooting products from AFL

Step 1: Traffic ID & Continuity

Use an Optical Fiber Identifier should be used before disconnecting any fiber, and visual and Wave ID coding to determine Polarity and continuity from ‘End to End.’

  • OFI-BI and OFI-BIPM Optical Fiber Identifiers
  • Visual Fault Identifiers (VFI/VFL)
  • MFIS Multi-fiber Identification System
  • Loss Test Sets -OLTS

Step 2: Inspect & Cleaning

All optical surfaces that are intended to be mated will need to be inspected. Cleaning prior to inspection has led to debris smearing, therefore inspection is a pre-requisite. AFL provides cleaning kits which are field portable, convenient, and available with inspection and loss testing products.

Step 3: Acceptance Testing

Acceptance of fiber network testing prior to commissioning is completed based on Insertion Loss, Optical Return Loss, & Length for the system to perform based on specifications. AFL supplies Loss Test Sets to identify fiber links that can support growth of bandwidth and speeds at the time of commissioning.

Step 4: Trouble & Maintenance

Maintaining a trouble-free network starts from Planning, Testing, Engineering and Maintenance divisions engaged with current network data through a real-time cloud-based database management system. AFL has various products and services to ensure the best results:

  • FS200 FlexScan
  • FLEXSCAN®Quad OTDR Overview
  • TRM® Test Results Manager

If you’d like to learn more about the Network Technology Summit or any of the products recommended in it, please reach out to your French Gerleman Account Manager or contact us today. Also keep an eye out for the second part of our Network Technology Summit recap, which focuses on connected enterprise.

AFL APC Applied Technologies Schneider Electric