Intelligent Electronic Devices in Industrial Networks: Definition, Purpose & Uses

Instructor: Erik Rodriguez

Erik has experience working in Cybersecurity and has a Master's of Science in Information Systems.

In this lesson, we will review what smart devices are and how they are used in an industrial setting. Additionally, we will briefly discuss the impact these devices have had on society.

Smart Devices are so Useful!

''Alexa, play my study playlist,'' you say to your smart speaker. After a short confirmation, music begins to permeate your room as you prepare to study for a big exam. To create a calming environment in your room, you set your smart bulbs to give off a bluish hue. Just like you may use smart devices to facilitate your daily tasks, so do processing plants in various industries. These industrial smart devices play specialized roles in the production process and help alleviate some of the workload that human personnel have to carry.

Smart Devices Defined

A smart device is an electronic device that has the ability to connect to a network, such as the Internet, and is able to understand commands and interact with users. Common examples of consumer smart devices you may be familiar with include smartwatches, smartphones, and smart speakers. As industrial processes become increasingly more connected, smart devices have started to be utilized in industrial networks. Common industrial smart devices include an array of smart sensors, cameras, and many more. As mentioned earlier, the aim is to automate processes throughout the production line, especially those which can be time-consuming or difficult for humans to do.

Example Use Cases

Fleet Management

GPS locators are a popular smart device used in industries that require managing a fleet of vehicles. GPS locators installed in company trucks, for example, allow management to keep track of the vehicle's whereabouts. This is especially helpful for larger organizations where many vehicles can be out in the field at one time. Additionally, some GPS sensors also track metrics such as speed and distance traveled. As a result, these devices create a sense of accountability among the vehicles' drivers and can even encourage safer driving habits.

GPS locators are used in vehicles like trucks to track location, speed, and distance traveled

Preventative Maintenance

Sensors can be used in equipment and heavy machinery to keep tabs on their overall health. Modern sensors have the ability to measure an array of metrics such as battery voltage, engine speed, temperatures, water and air pressure, and voltage. Depending on how they are used, sensors can measure these metrics and alert personnel when levels begin to fall below or rise above acceptable levels. This allows personnel to resolve any issues to prevent damage to the equipment or other processes along the production line.

Smart sensors can measure when a holding tank is reaching capacity

Quality Assurance

To ensure quality, many production plants in the food and beverage industry utilize smart cameras to detect subpar end products. For example, production plants that handle fruit can use smart cameras to scan for product that does not meet quality standards. Once singled out, a robotic arm will remove the product from the production line before it leaves to get packaged for shipping. To accomplish this, these smart cameras work in conjunction with artificial intelligence which has been trained by humans to tell subpar product from acceptable product.

Smart cameras can detect when food in the production line does not meet quality standards

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