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Hire an IT guy?

When I commented recently to a packaging machinery OEM that building packaging equipment was beginning to look more like an exercise in Information Technology than metal bending, he agreed wholeheartedly.

Here’s his take on it:

“IT and industrial controls as implemented in a manufacturing setting are practically the same thing. Yet if you tell an IT guy that he has to program or network industrial machines, it’ll scare the [heck] out of him. But in fact, he’s been doing it for years. He just didn’t know it. Connecting two machines together is the same as connecting two computers together in an office network. You provide an IP address in both cases and that’s it. They run at the same baud rate. They use the same cables. If there is a difference, it’s in accountability. In an office setting, if the network’s down, everyone complains, but they’re used to it. It’s practically normal. But in an industrial setting, the network can’t be down or you can’t produce.”

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