Virtual machines and the plant floor

Virtual machines are computers running on software designed to imitate physical hardware.

05/15/2015


Virtual Machines are computers running on software designed to imitate physical hardware. Courtesy: Corso SystemsTechnology is constantly changing and computers are more powerful than ever. People can access just about anything in the world on phones, soon even wrists. Virtual machine consolidate multiple physical computers into one and swap data between computers with no downtime.

In the manufacturing world computer hardware has overcome the requirements of most software packages. This means when a company needs to buy a new computer, instead of running it to the max like 3 or 4 years ago, it needs only 10 to 20% of the hardware's capacity.

Companies like Microsoft have developed a way to utilize the unused resources using virtual machines. Virtual Machines are computers running on software designed to imitate physical hardware. In the same way a PC can run multiple programs at one time, with virtual machines, multiple computers can run on one PC at the same time.

Virtual machines can:

  • Utilize more hardware's resources
  • Consolidate multiple physical computers into one
  • Swap between computers with no downtime
  • Decrease IT overhead

When a company needs to set up a new machine, they call IT, requisition the hardware, and let them spend a day or two installing all of the software needed. With a virtual machine, a company can get a new computer up and running by simply copying a file and opening it.

Virtual machines are useful when:

  • Having an old computer for only one piece of equipment.
  • Needing multiple versions of software that don't play well together.
  • Needing to test a new software version without breaking the system.

Leveraging virtual machines to coordinate different PLCs throughout the plant, different HMI systems, or some specialty software for calibrating instruments. Different customers have different systems and they sometimes need to be supported at a moment's notice. Staying up to date with the latest releases is critical, and dealing with different versions of software without breaking existing installations can be a nightmare. Virtual machines eliminate these problems.

Alex Marcy is the president of Corso Systems. This article originally appeared on the Corso Systems blog. Corso Systems is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Joy Chang, digital project manager, CFE Media, jchang@cfemedia.com.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
SCCR, 2018 Maintenance study, and VFDs in a washdown environment.
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
December 2017
Product of the Year winners, Pattern recognition, Engineering analytics, Revitalize older pump installations
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Industrial Analytics
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
IIoT: Operations & IT
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me