An growing variety of products produced in ever smaller batches makes it increasingly challenging for SMEs to operate production cells economically. The advancements in digitalization, virtualization and connectivity that will enable them to succeed are major focal points for B&R in the development of new technologies. The advantages of this are enormous.
- End-to-end solutions with high market potential
- Fully scalable hardware solutions
- Extensive data processing on the edge
- Connectivity from the sensor to the cloud
The Industrial IoT presents new challenges for existing network architectures. The need to pre-process data acquired from machinery makes edge architectures the solution of choice. A holistic approach must also satisfy the demand for real-time communication and provide the necessary data processing functionality.
The functionality of the entire concept depends on the degree to which the connected machines and devices are able to provide information about their own availability and utilization. In order for the machines to be capable of this, it is necessary that the components which are used in the machines can record and communicate the status data.
Virtualization allows descriptive models to be constructed in order to simulate the behavior of the motion control system or control loops. This allows future challenges to be identified early. For optimum networking, machines must be equipped with semantic interfaces. These allow them to provide process data in high resolution for advanced analytics or to be integrated into functionally interlinked systems.
The merging of automation disciplines – sensing, computing, communication and control – places heightened demands on processing power. Increasingly complex software now accounts for the lion's share of engineering work in any given project. A simple way to create smart software solutions, rather than writing all the code manually, is to assemble a model out of function blocks. In doing so, all of the mechatronic demands can be taken into account from the very beginning.
A library of over 500 function blocks and growing helps drastically reduce the time and cost of implementing machine processes in the control software. Special components developed for the Industrial IoT can be integrated seamlessly into existing automation solutions. With a few quick settings, for example, they can be used to visualize OEE parameters on the machine.
Predictive maintenance allows users to constantly monitor a machine's health and use the collected condition data to calculate upcoming service intervals. This approach prevents unplanned downtime and substantially increases availability. B&R's particular expertise lies in the collection of high-quality data and in the technology needed to share it with other participants in the process.
By acquiring data for all media – from electrical energy to natural gas and heating oil and even compressed air – it is possible to automatically and comprehensively record all energy consumption. The ability to calculate and view consumption and costs makes it considerably easier to implement energy management systems as defined in ISO 50001. Evaluation and visualization of historical data allows energy consumption to be analyzed at various levels of detail in order to accurately identify cause-and-effect relationships.