Rock Products

APR 2019

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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28 • ROCK products • April 2019 where cellular connectivity is very unstable or not available at all. To fully harness the power of IIoT, aggregates compa- nies need another versatile field connectivity solution. LPWANs – New IIoT Communications Solution Designed for low-power IoT sensor networks, low power wide area networks (LPWANs) refer to a family of tech- nologies able to transmit messages over kilometers while maintaining many years of battery life. Operations in the sub-GHz frequency bands and sending small amounts of data at a low rate enable extra-long range and deep penetration capability of these solutions. With low device and network costs, LPWANs can be deployed at a fraction of capital and operating expenditures of conven- tional wireless alternatives. On the flip side, these networks are not suitable for millisecond-latency, high-bandwidth data communications like voice and video streaming. In industrial contexts, LPWANs are a great complement to Industrial Ethernet and other automation-specific protocols. While wired solutions continue to be relevant for time-sen- sitive process automation and control tasks, LPWANs are a viable option for a much wider spectrum of IIoT use cases powered by battery-operated sensors. Often, IIoT remote monitoring applications – encompassing those discussed above – only require periodic transmission of small sensor data blocks every few seconds or minutes. At the same time, they impose strict requirements in cover- age, power efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness – for which LPWANs are an ideal solution. Thanks to excellent performance, few newer LPWAN solutions can even help companies combat communica- tions challenges at remote, large-scale brownfield sites by IoT-enabling legacy PLCs. Specifically, in tandem with an Ethernet switch and a data extraction gateway, the LPWAN transceiver can easily interface with a legacy PLC to derive and reliably transmit relevant field data to the back office – over long distance and across uneven terrain. The same LPWAN communication infrastructure can also be leveraged to cost-effectively connect stand-alone assets, mobile equipment and workers, and environmental sensors, thereby optimizing ROI of your IIoT initiatives. Final Notes Digitalization is a requirement for the aggregates sector to optimize operational efficiency and safety and stay at ahead of the competition. In this digital transformation journey, LPWANs offer backbone connectivity for low-power IIoT sensor networks. Nevertheless, it is important to note that not all LPWAN solutions are created equal. To ensure carri- er-grade reliability, security and long-term interoperability of their IIoT networks, companies should opt for technologies built on robust and proven industry standards (i.e. ETSI TS 103 357). At the same time, other critical networks crite- ria like scalability, mobility support, and costs should come under consideration. Reference: Stratus, "The Total Cost of Downtime in Industrial Automa- tion", retrieved Feb. 19, 2019, from https://www.stratus. com/assets/Infographic-Total-Cost-of-Downtime-Industri- al-Automation.pdf Albert Behr is founder and CEO of Behr Technologies, world- wide licensee of MIOTY – the new commercial standard in LPWAN technology for Industrial IoT. With 30 years of profes- sional experience, Behr has led both the commercialization, financing, and operational execution of some of the world's most famous technology companies. Figure 1: LPWAN feeds massive edge data to a cloud analytics platform and/or on-premise management console for predictive analytics and remote monitoring Image Courtesy: Behr Technologies Inc. Aggregate Industry

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