Industrial Automation

Various Network Levels in Industrial Automation

Network layers

Describe Various Network Levels in Industrial Automation

Network Levels of Industrial Automation is classified into five levels

  • Level IV – Business Planning, Logistics, and Enterprise-Level Operations
  • Level III – Planning and Operations
  • Level II – Supervisory Control
  • Level I – Manipulation and Control
  • Level 0 – Sensors and Signals

This Industrial Automation Network Levels are classified as

  • Level A: Information Level
  • Level B: Control Level
  • Level C: Field Level

Level A: Information Level

  • Level IV Business Planning, Logistics, and Enterprise-Level Operations.

Level B: Control Level

  • Level III – Planning and Operations
  • Level II – Supervisory Control

Level C: Field Level

  • Level I – Manipulation and Control
  • Level 0 – Sensors and Signals

These are described as 

Level IV – Business Planning, Logistics, and Enterprise-Level Operations

Level IV – Business Planning, Logistics, and Enterprise-Level Operations
  • This level comprises multiple departments such as HR, Finance, Logistics, production, purchase, sales, & inventory control.
  • If the manufacturing process is not linked with the Manufacturing Execution System, the desired outputs are generated very slowly in the manual execution system.
  • Employers need to wait for other department decisions to proceed to the next stage which leads to a decrease in production rate hence minimizing plant efficiency, so to avoid this Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is used. 
  • This Enterprise Resource Planning is a kind of automation process that operates on computer technology to automate various processes related to the office in a comfortable way.
  • Here the data flow is transparent and achieved automatically among departments to reduce time, increasing plant efficiency.
  • The process travels from local control to enterprise process management via a supervisory system.  
  • This chain system makes the entire manufacturing process run smoothly through the automation cycle.
  • Thus, it is essential to know and be familiar with each and every industrial automation strategy level present.

Level III – Planning and Operations

Level III – Planning and Operations
  • This level is defined as a computer management system to monitor and control multiple SCADA systems.
  • This level enables process plant planning and operations.
  • In case the      processing unit consists of multiple processes, & control systems, it is essential to control the entire operation from start to end through Manufacturing Execution System (MES).
  • An operator can schedule all plant activities to monitor and control the manufacturing process station.
  • Manufacturing Execution System (MES) enables equipment, & data information from various vendors right from start to end for planning daily charts.

Level II – Supervisory Control

  • This supervisory control enables the operator to monitor and control in a control room with more number of PLCs through networking and communication between all PLCs. 
  • Usually, this Supervisory Control integrates each and every plant controller into one single platform to supervise and control the whole process control easily.
  • This level consists of a Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition system or SCADA to observe, & inspect the whole system for alarm visibility, report generation, run batches, & control the operator’s action.
  • We must be familiar with various communication topologies used in PLC systems to integrate the whole network through SCADA, this SCADA runs only on desktop or Industrial PC.
Supervisory Control

Level I – Manipulation and Control

  • This level is known as the controlling stage, in this level the controlling of all control systems within the process occurs.
  • This level includes Programming Logic Controllers and Proportional, Integral & Derivative Controllers. 
  • The sensor signal from the lower layer or level 0 is collected to control an output device like the motor or final control element.
  • To control this logic is required to be created in a controller to accept an input signal from the sensor input to control related output devices.
  • This level transmits data or signals to a higher level through communication.
  • The Programming Logic Controllers’ memory has a stored program to manipulate the inputs and outputs.
  • Apart from Programming Logic Controllers, this Proportional, Integral & Derivative controller is also employed in this layer to minimize the financial requirement. Since this PID is a small controller for output modulation based on input & PID calculations.
  • A PID      controller consists of an in-built programmed device that cannot be changed by others but can be changed or modified by the manufacturer only.
  • But Programming Logic Controllers provides the user to configure the logic as per process requirements. 

Level 0 – Sensors and Signals

Sensors and Signals
  • This layer is also known as the field layer.
  • It is the lowest, & the first layer in Industrial Automation.
  • Usually, every working staff must have an idea of hardware input and hardware output controlling for higher or advanced levels of programming.
  • It is also essential to have an idea of the sensor, & motor work, unless knowing these it is difficult to control at higher levels.
  • The devices presented in this layer convey data with respect to the next level.
  • The data may be analog, digital, or in communication form.
  • This      level includes field instruments such as sensors, transducers, actuators, instruments, motors, valves, actuators, switches, and other equipment. 
  • The primary purpose of industrial automation is to monitor and regulate all I/O’s for efficient process operation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the different types of industrial networks?

  • Industrial network architectures consist of 
    • Sensor Networks, 
    • Control Networks, 
    • Safety Buses, &
    • Field bus Networks. 

What are the three main types of automation systems?

  • Automation Systems are categorized into:
    • Fixed automation.
    • Programmable automation.
    • Flexible automation.

What are Industrial Automation Networks?

  • Industrial Communication networks in Industrial Automation include 
    • Ethernet, 
    • DeviceNet, 
    • Modbus,
    • ControlNet 

What are the four popular types of networks?

  • Personal Area Network PAN 
  • Local Area Network LAN 
  • Metropolitan Area Network MAN
  • Wide Area Network WAN

What are the top five sub-network classes?

  • Class A: First Octet Value 0-126
  • Class B: First Octet Value 128-191
  • Class C: First Octet Value 192-233
  • Class D: First Octet Value 224-239
  • Class E: First Octet Value 240-255

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