September 6, 2018
by Hans Michael Krause
The Internet of Things is transforming manufacturing operations on the factory floor – and we’ve developed a solution to accelerate its adoption. The benefits of internet enablement in manufacturing industries are well known. The Internet of Things (IoT) can bring production equipment online so that, once isolated machinery, can now be interrogated, monitored and managed remotely or from a central control point on-site.
However, many industrial plants haven’t caught up with the digital age yet. What’s needed is a simple and streamlined approach to the introduction of this new technology – and that’s just what the IoT Gateway from Rexroth aims to provide.
The IoT Gateway works with OPC UA, the open Industry 4.0 standard. It sits between devices such as sensors and process controllers on the one hand and processing applications on the other. It’s a building block that enables machine builders to add knowledge and connect equipment that can then be sold to their manufacturing customers.
The technology is already being applied or tested in several sectors, including automotive, furniture and consumer manufacturing. One of our customers in the packaging industry, Bosch Packaging Technology, has been using the IoT Gateway to monitor equipment performance and make small remote adjustments to improve productivity, quality and efficiency.
A team of experts scoped the project, embedded the sensors, installed the IoT Gateway, configured the network, tested connections and commissioned the solution.
The IoT Gateway itself, comprising the host hardware, bus housing and peripherals, gathers the sensor and controller data, filters it as required and forwards it to a central control point for analysis of parameters including torque, safety clearances, acceleration data, humidity and temperature. The system then compares performance against target production values and recommends a course of action as required: for instance, the callout of an engineer for service or repair. This analysis is conducted not just for live data but over time, so trends can be identified to make continuous improvements.
Our plan is to provide connectivity to machinery in all areas of factory automation, and we have a worldwide infrastructure of experts, services and support that can work with equipment manufacturers everywhere to make IoT enablement a reality.
“Now machine builders will be able to offer something new to their customers that’s powerful, productive and smart,” says Hans Michael Krause, our Director of Market and Product Management PLC and IoT Systems.