Industrial automation is essential for organizations to stay competitive as it promises to make them far more profitable and successful at a faster rate by improving product quality and increasing manufacturing flexibility. In the next five to ten years, there will be a sharp contrast between the businesses that use industrial automation, leveraged with big data solutions and next-generation technology like IoT, and those that don’t. More profits and a larger market share will go to the Enterprises that can tap into the unlimited power of industrial automation.
Barrier to Industrial Automation: Where other languages lack?
Industrial automation involves the integration of machinery, equipment, and processes with sensors, computers, and software. The key word is integration — something many organizations have been struggling with over the last few years. Without integration, you won’t be able to gain all of the value from industrial automation. For example, if sensors can reliably predict and indicate the health of a machine, but it’s not integrated with your ERP, you won’t be able to determine how health impacts the work capacity of your machine, supply chain, or scheduling.
By the end of 2018, 90% of organizations will lack a postmodern application integration strategy and execution ability, resulting in integration disorder, greater complexity, and cost, according to Gartner.
To be able to see the benefits of industrial automation, organizations will need business, manufacturing processes and control systems to be a single, integrated, and flexible computing platform that allows them to build, deploy, and update applications so that they can achieve their business objectives — even if they change quickly.
This is the power that Java offers, and why — hands down — it’s the best language for industrial automation.
The Benefits of Java In Industrial Automation
There are many reasons Java is the best choice for industrial automation, but, at its core, it’s because Java is widely-used and flexible. For example, Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and Java bytecode allow for an application to be platform independent. Bytecode is a sequence of machine-independent instructions interpreted by the JVM running on a host computer.
Here are the benefits of using Java in industrial automation:
1. Platform Independence:
The ability to run programs on different hardware platforms without changing the source code is a huge advantage. That means it can run on any machine and the code becomes very portable.
Being platform independent also means that developers can simulate the run-time environment on a desktop computer, reducing development time while also increasing safety. Compared to languages like C, Java helps with memory management. C doesn’t have the tools like Java does, which means C programs can sometimes crash when a developer tries to access the wrong memory address.
You don’t run into these problems with Java. Since the language is statically typed, it’s not possible for a developer to permit syntactical errors or mix types.
2. Scalable Deployment Model:
Java is one of the most common languages and is an industry standard since it is the most scalable programming language that manufacturers could use.
The components for building a scalable system are widely available — some free, some commercial. There are developers creating — and sometimes open-sourcing — out-of-the-box solutions. For almost every single problem, developers can access solutions.
You can try scaling with a different language, but the techniques and resources for scaling aren’t as well indicated as they are for Java.
3. Easier Debugging:
Most programmers love creating code but hate debugging. That’s because it’s not always easy. With Java, developers have an easier time debugging programs because of the number of tools available.
So, developers don’t have to download and set up a target PLC every single time they want to test the code, making debugging much, much easier. Plus, since debugging can be done independent of hardware, it means developers only need to debug a single version of the source code.
All of this greatly reduces project costs and completion times. As a result, coding errors are significantly reduced, and maintenance is simplified.
4. Total Connectivity:
To leverage the power of next-generation technology like IoT, your organization needs total connectivity. It needs to be able to have your applications work seamlessly, reliably, and securely with other enterprise services, like those in the cloud.
Often, your connection type is chosen based on factors such as costs and device accessibility. Since Java supports a broad range of connectivity options, you can choose the best connection type for your solution.
Since most organizations have spent years squeezing out all of the costs in their manufacturing and supply chain, the only way to compete in the future is to completely reinvent the industry.
That’s exactly what industry automation promises to do. It promises to make your manufacturing and businesses process more efficient and profitable. But, the kind of automation that organizations need to achieve can only be done by implementing Java.
Being hardware independent allows organizations to run programs on different platforms. The scalable, modular deployment model allows decision makers to make better decisions. Lastly, Java is much easier to debug than any other programming language.