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Why automation needs digital twins

Karsten Kreusch. Game Changer
ctrlX WORKS

Whether in relation to components, machinery or complete production processes, these days digital twins play an important role in product lifecycles. As digital replicas of products or processes, they depict their properties, status and behavior and hence connect the real world with a virtual one. As such, they ensure reliable processes throughout the development stage, commissioning and operations and can be used for optimization purposes and to improve quality and increase efficiency. The potential that digital twins possess can also be leveraged for ctrlX AUTOMATION.

Digital twins usually depict various different aspects, e.g. they often combine simulation models with data. Firstly, they can be used to provide a virtual mock-up of products, machinery or plants for simulation purposes. Secondly, they can be used to clearly visualize real-life procedures and processes and hence better understand them as well as test and optimize them virtually and automatically – without having to intervene in reality.

Digital twins can not only improve development and production processes thanks to prognoses but can also improve understanding, contribute to transparency and enhance the performance of the real-life operations of systems or plants. Digital twins make product development simpler, more reliable and more efficient. In addition to the optimization of product features by means of simulation processes, the interplay between hardware and software can, for example, also be tested virtually early on and any errors can be identified and rectified prior to commissioning with zero risks involved. Engineering or production processes can therefore be made more efficient – benefiting not only component and machine manufacturers but end users too.

The so-called asset administration shell (AAS) is becoming the standard for the implementation of digital twins in Industry 4.0 systems and has been standardized in IEC63278. Accordingly, each I4.0 component is represented by an AAS, which forms an information shell for an asset or a hierarchy of assets. It describes all contained sub-models, which depict aspects such as sensor data or positioning mode, as well as available functions. In production, the AAS is used to ensure interoperability and IT security in manufacturing and IT systems by means of a set of standardized interfaces, such as OPC UA, TSN, DetNet, REST, JSON and XML, etc. Bosch Rexroth also aligns itself with this industry standard for the implementation of digital twins, thus continuing the pursuit of its strategy of openness.

Replicating and testing Bosch Rexroth products virtually

ctrlX AUTOMATION provides users with various different ways of using digital twins. Firstly, all sorts of different virtual replicas of Bosch Rexroth’s automation products can be created. Secondly, corresponding partner apps from the ctrlX World can be used for various digital twin applications.

One or more virtual controls can be created on a PC with the software and engineering toolbox ctrlX WORKS and operated via a web-based interface. ctrlX COREvirtual is the virtual version of the real-life control and is based on identical software. The virtual replica can be used to conduct tests and carry out commissioning without any control hardware – with full functionality. The simulation model is, for example, used to test PLC and motion programs. It is also used for communications tests between a control and the I/O level of a system.

Digital twins can also be used to virtually commission, parameterize and optimize products from Bosch Rexroth’s drive and motor range, including as part of considerations concerning mechatronic systems or complete machines. This also applies for the most compact drive system on the market, ctrlX DRIVE. Drive models are available to users for different application scenarios and various simulation systems available on the market, for example for MATLAB/Simulink, Modelica-based systems and ISG Virtuos.

Scalable simulation solutions for different use cases

In addition to the digital twins of ctrlX AUTOMATION products, the openness and expandability of the system offer a wealth of further possibilities. As such, IoT functionalities can, for example, be implemented for acquiring data and thus for generating digital twins of complete production processes. Users can use Bosch Rexroth’s IoT apps or those of partners from the ctrlX World for this. They can even develop their own apps with the Software Development Kit.

Bosch Rexroth offers scalable simulation solutions to suit any requirements through which simulations can be carried out for peripherals, kinematics, dynamics and physics in various topologies. The solutions thus enable an extremely broad range of applications, from kinematic simulation with 3D geometries right through to the connection of high-level simulation systems.

Digital twins are much more than visual reproductions of reality and accompany products as digital shadows all the way through to operations and service. Digital twins are, for example, ideal in mechanical and plant engineering for the real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance of machinery and plants. Digital information can be seamlessly orchestrated in real time.

The possible applications are therefore practically endless. Bosch Rexroth customers therefore have numerous options for easily optimizing processes, improving the quality of their products and achieving safety through transparency – right from the development stage all the way through to ongoing operations.

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Step into a more productive factory

Web Editorial Team | Editor

Six practical steps to greater productivity for manufacturers.

Bosch Rexroth

Finding ways to increase productivity has always been an important part of manufacturing. But against the current backdrop of demand volatility, inflation, a shortage of skilled workers and the requirement for smaller batch sizes, increasing productivity is now essential to a business’s competitiveness. Discover our six practical steps to greater productivity and find out about a new initiative that’s helping to boost productivity in factories.

Connecting machines by building an edge platform

Edge devices are important in the factory of the future because the connection of machines to the internet or the cloud dramatically increases the range of functions and the performance of machines.

The solution: An edge device can take over the activities around the machine. It receives orders from the MES, for example, and controls the machine via an integrated PLC, or it can be linked to the existing control system. By linking the MES and ERP system, edge devices can also enable the commissioning of maintenance and procurement of spare parts.

The result: Productivity is increased by 10 percent. Because edge devices enable data to be captured and processed closer to the source, rather than sending it to servers, the data can be gathered and analyzed on the factory floor in real time. This has enormous benefits in terms of predictive maintenance, improving product quality and increasing throughput.

Implementing a digital twin

A digital twin is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object. There are various types, and the biggest difference between these is in the area of application. This ranges from a basic component to assets to a complete system or unit. Process twins reveal how systems work together to create an entire production facility.

The solution: Our digital twin solution is a virtual representation or model of physical assets in a real factory. We use harmonized and standardized information models and interfaces (APIs) to create an interoperable environment of interconnected components. It provides a solution set to model and execute production processes. In Industry 4.0 systems, each I4.0 component is represented by a standardized AAS (asset administration shell), which forms an information shell for an asset or hierarchy of assets. So, our digital twin solution offers a ready-to-use implementation of a smart manufacturing platform based on AASs. Once installed, it provides complete transparency and shows how the different components in a production process work together. This enables you to validate concepts and test processes and procedures before implementing them – resulting in fast adoption and integration of applications.

The result: Our digital twin solution makes the integration and commissioning process at least 35 percent faster. Complex simulation, analysis and monitoring of systems can be carried out in real time, and problems can be detected and dealt with before they occur. New products and processes can be tested and perfected virtually first, saving time and effort.

Digital Twin

Resource optimization through targeted energy management

Energy management plays a major role for companies that want to save money. However, it’s important to get reliable, tangible data from the process when making decisions about reducing energy usage.

The solution: One option is to implement an electrical energy management system, which gives you transparency in your energy consumption and enables you to avoid peak loads, shut down plant components or put devices into sleep mode. Reactive power has an additional cost, because unusable reactive power that exceeds the threshold is often charged to the manufacturing company.

The result: Up to a 20 percent reduction in electrical energy costs can be achieved from using our solutions. There are also environmental benefits from the associated reduction in CO₂ emissions. By implementing management systems that help you monitor and reduce energy usage across these areas, considerable cost saving can be made.

Detecting and evaluating faults in processes and plants

Downtime, particularly unplanned downtime, can result in huge revenue losses and disappointed customers, not to mention the inconvenience and man-hours required to fix the problem.

The solution: By connecting and monitoring your machinery in real-time and having the data in a format that’s clear and transparent, production processes can be continually improved, and technical errors can be diagnosed and resolved before they lead to a breakdown. Our ActiveCockpit provides real-time information and enables the exchange of information between people, machines and the production process on the shop floor.

The result: This leads to an improvement in the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) – in some cases of at least 8 percent. By identifying technical errors and malfunctions before they happen, you can minimize downtime and disruption, while also improving the quality of your products and service.

Active cockpit

Automatic order confirmation and recording of delivered components

Global networks are steadily replacing self-contained value chains, as manufacturers try to maximize efficiency throughout the entire production and distribution process by means of seamless data transparency.

The solution: RFID technology enables logistics processes to be sped-up and recording processes to be automated. The state of the art option is a camera-based system that automatically captures the DMC, QR code or barcode, so no scanners are needed. The image is then processed and digitally recorded.

The result: These solutions reduce manual work steps by up to 25 percent, saving time in production and logistics. The process becomes more transparent, with parts being tracked and processes confirmed as they happen. Data and malfunctions can be visualized, even on mobile devices. Supply chain management can be expanded, for example, to include traceability of components, material availability and inventory transparency.

Controlled supply, mixing and process monitoring of liquids

Whether you’re mixing gases or liquids, eliminating irregularities and reducing manual effort are essential to more effective and cost-efficient production.

The solution: Productivity can be maximized with an inline measuring method that determines the volume flow, and a system for measuring the current mixing ratio. Actuators and a smart control unit can be implemented. We provide software solutions and can also install a user interface, so you can view and monitor information.

The result: We’ve found that costs can be cut by up to 12 percent by reducing manual effort and saving resources with these solutions. Manual work steps are reduced and the re-ordering process can be automated. The process becomes more reliable, while more efficient use of raw materials and less waste means lower recycling costs and greater sustainability.

Productivity boosters

The Productivity Boosters

We’re working on an initiative to help boost customers’ productivity. We spoke to Juliane Hess, a member of The Productivity Boosters team, to find out about this European initiative.

Can you tell us about this initiative?

Our Productivity Boosters initiative is a brownfield, shop floor-oriented approach, which addresses the pain points of our manufacturing customers. We combine our smart products with add-ons, services, and, where suitable, partnering. It’s scalable and can be tailored to the customer’s individual needs, type of production and conditions – for example, their existing IT infrastructure.

By bundling our manufacturing and digitalization expertise – on the shop floor and the edge – along with our experienced production and IT specialists, we can harness our customers’ full productivity potential and improve their production figures. It’s this added value approach that makes our offering stand out.

What made you decide to set up this initiative?

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms are beginning to replace MES functions and related applications, including production, maintenance, quality, and inventory management, which are a mix of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT).

Process-oriented digitalization with the right data is essential in today’s factories because digital technology can collect data, identify trends and help make better business decisions. A lot of the data and information that’s collected still isn’t used productively. Professionals who are skilled in control engineering and OT-IT – two areas where there’s currently a shortage of experts – are needed. This is what the Productivity Boosters provide.

What type of business is it suitable for?

Manufacturing companies with heterogeneous production equipment and IT infrastructure or systems, that want to improve productivity and reduce costs.

We’ve already put this method into practice in several projects in Europe. Despite them being across diverse industry sectors, we see clear parallels in the solutions they need, but with different parameters and data. So, we scale the solution according to the customer.

What are the most important findings from your work?

Manufacturers want solutions to solve their production problems. So, increasingly, they’re looking for experienced manufacturing technology partners for the long-term. They want solutions rather than individual components.

We’ve also found that customers go to OEMs and integrators with their requirements for solutions and products. We’re feeding back these requirements to our development departments to improve our products.

Are you working on any partner projects in this area?

We’re working with SAP on a plug and play solution to implement intelligent device onboarding. This will enable machines to be more easily connected to IT via an edge device and interfaced with the IoT maintenance services of SAP. This solution will give customers the health score of a product, energy optimization, predictive maintenance and OEE improvement.

What advice would you give to SMEs that want to improve their productivity, but don’t have big budgets?

Our customers are end customers and SME’s driven by their economic environment that want to make use of new technologies, but without heavy and binding investment. Even the smallest improvements can make all the difference. Together with our customers, we use our analysis to define the main measures to work on – the ones that will bring about the most improvement in productivity.

That’s why we also provide small and cost-effective solutions that suit the prerequisites of the customer. Sometimes it’s advantageous to start small and still think big.

Juliane Hess

Juliane Hess

If you’d like to know more about our solutions that boost productivity, visit your local Bosch Rexroth site or speak to your local Bosch Rexroth support team.

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

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Choosing Between M18 and Flatpack Proxes

Guest Contributor: Will Healy III, Balluff

Both M18s and flatpacks are inductive or proximity sensors that are widely used in mechanical engineering and industrial automation applications. Generally, they are similar in that they produce an electromagnetic field that reacts to a metal target when it approaches the sensor head. And the coil in both sensors is roughly the same size, so they have the same sensing range – between 5 to 8 millimeters. They also both work well in harsh environments, such as welding.

There are, however, some specific differences between the M18 and flatpack sensors that are worth consideration when setting up production.

M18

One benefit of the M18 sensor is that it’s adjustable. It has threads around it that allow you to adjust it up or down one millimeter every time you turn it 360 degrees. The M18 can take up a lot of space in a fixture, however. It has a standard length of around two inches long and, when you add a connector, it can be a problem when space is an issue.

Flatpack

A flatpack, on the other hand, has a more compact style and format while offering the same sensing range. The mounting of the flatpack provides a fixed distance so it offers less adjustability of the M18, but its small size delivers flexibility in installation and allows use in much tighter fixes and positions.

The flatpack also comes with a ceramic face and a welding cable, especially suited for harsh and demanding applications. You can also get it with a special glass composite protective face, a stainless-steel face, or a steel face with special coatings on it.

Each housing has its place, based on your detection application, of course. But having them both in your portfolio can expand your ability to solve your applications with sensor specificity.

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Building Blocks of the Smart Factory Now More Economical, Accessible

Guest Contributor: Balluff

A smart factory is one of the essential components in Industry 4.0. Data visibility is a critical component to ultimately achieve real-time production visualization within a smart factory. With the advent of IIoT and big-data technologies, manufacturers are finally gaining the same real-time visibility into their enterprise performance that corporate functions like finance and sales have enjoyed for years.

The ultimate feature-rich smart factory can be defined as a flexible system that self-optimizes its performance over a network and self-adapts to learn and react to new conditions in real-time. This seems like a farfetched goal, but we already have the technology and knowhow from advances developed in different fields of computer science such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. These technologies are already successfully being used in other industries like self-driving cars or cryptocurrencies.

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Fig: Smart factory characteristics (Source: Deloitte University Press)

Until recently, the implementation or even the idea of a smart factory was elusive due to the prohibitive costs of computing and storage. Today, advancements in the fields of machine learning and AI and easy accessibility to cloud solutions for analytics, such as IBM Watson or similar companies, has made getting started in this field relatively easy.

One of the significant contributors in smart factory data visualization has been the growing number of IO-Link sensors in the market. These sensors not only produce the standard sensor data but also provide a wealth of diagnostic data and monitoring while being sold at a similar price point as non-IO-Link sensors. The data produced can be fed into these smart factory systems for condition monitoring and preventive maintenance. As they begin to produce self-monitoring data, they become the lifeblood of the smart factory.

Components

The tools that have been used in the IT industry for decades for visualizing and monitoring server load and performance can be easily integrated into the existing plant floor to get seamless data visibility and dashboards. There are two significant components of this system: Edge gateway and Applications.

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Fig: An IIoT system

Edge Gateway

The edge gateway is the middleware that connects the operation technology and Information technology. It can be a piece of software or hardware and software solutions that act as a universal protocol translator.

As shown in the figure, the edge gateway can be as simple as something that dumps the data in a database or connects to cloud providers for analytics or third-party solutions.

Applications

One of the most popular stacks is Influxdb to store the data, Telegraf as the collector, and Grafana as a frontend dashboard.

These tools are open source and give customers the opportunity to dive into the IIoT and get data visibility without prohibitive costs. These can be easily deployed into a small local PC in the network with minimal investment.

The applications discussed in the post:

Grafana

Telegraf

Influxdb

Node-red Tutorial

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

 

How Factory Owners Can Avoid Choosing the Wrong Industry 4.0 Technology

Guest Contributor, Exor

This article provides a guide for factory owners and IT managers about the principles of lean manufacturing and the criteria to apply, in order to constantly work at optimizing factory outputs, and source the most cost-effective technology while reducing waste at the same time.

This article covers:

  • ‘No islands of automation’ is now ‘no island without a cloud’
  • What are the main types of benefits offered by technology suppliers?
  • Using Lean Manufacturing as a technology filter
  • How can Industry 4.0 concepts help with Lean Manufacturing?

Many factory owners and manufacturers are faced with the challenge of transforming their factories from Industry 2.0 to Industry 4.0 smart factories in order to optimize operational efficiency and automation and to stay ahead in the competitive manufacturing space. Certain customers may require additional customization of products and faster output times, which factories also have to take into account. A large part of optimization involves leveraging and implementing new technology such as IoT architecture and Industry 4.0 systems while reducing waste. Implementing new technology in a factory can be quite an undertaking, and it is advisable for factory owners and manufacturers to avoid costly technology investments which yield no net benefit to the factory at hand.

‘No islands of automation’ is now ‘no island without a cloud’

During the previous decade, many factory owners moved to automation due to the benefits and gains such as higher accuracy, higher productivity, job scheduling ability and availability that increased mechanization offered. They often heard the phrase and the principle of “no islands of automation” that meant they were to avoid automated sub-systems that were not integrated into the overall factory processes and automation and thus provided no benefit to the larger systems in the factory. The aim was to have complete, integrated production and assembly lines that manufactured products seamlessly and without lag time. Automation in and of itself had a significant effect on the factory floor and factory owners experienced an increase in productivity and a decrease in downtime and lag time.

Now those same factory owners are hearing, “no island without a cloud”, since there is a push from IoT companies to promote cloud-based connectivity and solutions and store all the data the factory at hand is generating, in the cloud. The industrial sector is approaching standard cloud-based solutions with caution since there are concerns about the security of data, cost, bandwidth and latency. Even though the cloud does confer benefits to the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Newer, emerging approaches are looking at using open standards such as OPC UA to control any machine in real-time and implementing machine to machine communication to reduce data storage requirements. The data is then collected and sent to a fog computer or processed at the edge closer to where the machines actually are located, to reduce the concerns with the standard cloud options such as cost and security.

What are the main types of benefits offered by technology suppliers?

Some of the key functionality related to Industry 4.0 technology that suppliers can provide and factory owners should take into consideration are:

1) Data-Driven Plant Performance Optimization

Data-driven plant performance optimization refers to collecting and using data generated by the factory machinery, sensors, HMIs, PLCs, staff and SCADA systems in order to enhance plant operations and processes. The data cycle for plant optimization involves recording and monitoring data, uploading data, analysis of the uploaded data and the reporting of this data using IoT gateways and IoT architecture in the Industry 4.0 context. This optimization should strive to maintain Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), which is a measure of how effective the plant and its industrial equipment are. A process that receives a 100% OEE score means that it has a high-quality output that is as efficient as possible with no machine downtime.

2) Data-Driven Inventory Optimization

Data-Driven Inventory Optimization refers to the process of using real-time data to manage inventory. For example, consider a construction industry scenario where units of supply are labelled with RFID tags and an IoT system can count them. As soon as the supply units drop below a certain level, the sensors trigger an alarm and more supply units are purchased. Consequently, downtime is avoided and the project is more likely to be completed in the scheduled time frame.

3) Data-Driven Quality Control

Due to the ability of IoT systems to collect and manage big data, the IT provider should provide software that is able to develop quality-control models and profiles based on the data. Therefore, each product can be compared in real-time to these profiles (which were based on thousands or hundreds of thousands of data samples) and either rejected or accepted.

4) A Machine as a Service Business Model

This model allows factory owners to turn their machines into stand-alone income generating streams, in addition to the revenue the machine generates from being part of the internal factory processes and production line. So in this model, a specific machine in the factory can be outsourced to a customer or another company that needs it for a set amount of time, and this customer can, through the IoT platform, receive real-time data about the products or services for which they are using that particular machine. A technology supplier should be able to provide HMIs or other systems that enable this multifunctionality. So the factory should be able to receive data about the internal processes the machine is part of and the company hiring the machine should also be able to receive data about the machine and its outputs relevant to their needs.

5) Human Data Interface

The Human Data Interface refers to the platform used for humans to engage with the data, this could be via calls to a database, an HMI, or even a smartphone. The technology provider at hand should provide an interface that allows personnel to engage with the data and draw insights from it.

6) Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance refers to the use of data generated by a certain machine, in order to predict the chances of failure of that specific machine before the actual failure takes place. The maintenance of the machine then takes place proactively rather than reactively. This reduces downtime significantly.

7) Remote Service

Remote service refers to the ability to remotely monitor or repair machinery. This allows repair and maintenance to take place from anywhere and saves the factory owner the cost of transporting machinery to a repair site to be fixed.

8) Virtual Training and Validation

Virtual training refers to training that is provided in a virtual capacity through the use of AI glasses. So, personnel can access this training and learn more about the factory processes in an online environment. Validation refers to the ability of the IoT system to check that the training received was actually beneficial to the staff and the factory. This is done by using sensors to compare the finished products of the factory before and after the completion of training, in order to see if there is a positive difference. Validation also involves using AI glasses to see if the staff member is actually implementing the training received on the shop floor.

Using Lean Manufacturing as a technology filter

Lean manufacturing is based on the concept of eliminating waste from factory processes while ensuring that the customer or client receives the maximum value. Lean manufacturing looks at optimizing the delivery of products in horizontal value streams that ultimately connect to customers. It is about evaluating what is adding value to the customer versus what is adding waste or is not beneficial to the factory.

It is systematic and there are five main principles involved in lean manufacturing:

  • The first principle involves identifying what value actually means to the customer, which will help the factory estimate how much the customer will be willing to pay for their products and services. If waste is removed, then the customer’s price can be met at the best profit margins for the company.
  • The second principle involves mapping the value stream, which means looking at the flow of input materials required to produce the product in its entirety. Emphasis is of course placed on reducing waste.
  • The third principle looks at removing operational barriers and interruptions to this flow.
  • The fourth principle looks at using a pull system where nothing is bought until there is a demand for it. The pull system is based on effective communication and flexibility.
  • The fifth principle looks at continuously improving and striving for perfection in the process.

Lean manufacturing principles can be beneficial for factory owners since they can be used as a technology filter or criteria in order to ensure that any technology implemented in the factory contributes to the reduction of waste and horizontal value streams. The technology in other words should contribute to the reduction of waste, the reduction in standing inventory, increased factory outputs, decreased production costs, and increased labour productivity.

How can Industry 4.0 concepts help with Lean Manufacturing?

…with Data-Driven Plant Performance

Data-Driven Plant Performance as discussed above refers to the use of data in real-time to increase production. This happens simultaneously while using the data to identify areas of waste and unproductivity. Data-driven plant performance contributes significantly to all the five main lean manufacturing principles since customers receive value, the mapping of the value chains are guided by actual data received in real-time, and the data helps identify the barriers such as when there is downtime and which machine/process is causing the downtime, so this can be instantly rectified. Additionally, since there is constant delivery of data from multiple sources in the factory to the staff and personnel of the factory – they can develop pull systems due to the ease of communication and the constant analytical processing of the data. Furthermore, the continuous development of useful models based on big data and real-time data allows for continuous improvement.

…with Data-Driven Quality Control

Data-driven quality control as mentioned above looks at comparing a sample or material to a profile developed from big data rather than conducting many expensive quality-control tests on every single sample in the production line. This fits in with the concept of lean manufacturing since the number of tests is reduced but quality control is maintained.

…with Virtual Training and Validation

Virtual training and validation look at providing training in virtual environments using AI glasses and validating through the use of AI glasses that the training was beneficial, effective and actually implemented. One of the main aspects of lean manufacturing focuses on training staff about lean principles in the factory since staff are a critical component in any factory environment. Therefore, through the use of AI glasses, staff can be trained and guided on lean manufacturing principles in the factory environment they are operating in. Additionally, the AI glasses can validate that staff actually are implementing the training they received in the factory. Consequently, the lean manufacturing concepts of waste reduction and optimization of product delivery will be felt throughout the factory as a result of both virtual training and validation.

Conclusion

Industry 4.0 concepts such as connecting multiple machines, machine-to-machine communication, human-machine communication, real-time data delivery, big data processing and analytical operations really tie in with the fourth principle of lean manufacturing.

Most manufacturers not using lean manufacturing principles rely on a push system which is based on standard forecasting techniques. Production is aligned to those pre-determined set forecasts. This can be problematic since some standard forecasting techniques are inaccurate, increase waste and are not effective. The lean manufacturing pull principle of not producing anything until there is a demand relies heavily on effective communication. With the correct choice of Industry 4.0 technology, this effective communication system can be developed and thus reduce waste and optimize overall factory efficiency.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Exor distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

More efficient automation with explosion protection

Guest Contributor:  Frank Kaufmann, Bosch Rexroth

You think that drives for potentially explosive areas are complex to implement or technologically suboptimal? In this way you simplify your engineering and play in the first league on the automation side.

Are you automating in potentially explosive areas and tired of having to make compromises when choosing a drive solution? Regarding performance, intelligence, connection technology, …? In fact, it has not been easy to combine explosion protection, modern servo technology and efficient engineering. The common practice, including the declaration of conformity for the acceptance, is tedious and time-consuming. Especially if you have to design, have certified and apply a special enclosure for a non-ex motor. How much easier would it be if you could simply select a ready-to-install ATEX servo motor with declaration of conformity and the latest technology and immediately concentrate on the essential machine or plant construction? That’s exactly what you can do now.

First ATEX servo motor with single cable connection

Bosch Rexroth has developed the first ATEX-certified servo motor with single-cable connection in order to merge modern features such as high drive performance, simple integration into the machine, safety-on-board and i4.0 features into a complete solution. The new MS2E series is based on the MS2N standard series in terms of design and therefore achieves the same optimum values in terms of dynamics, precision and connectivity. It is also suitable for all ATEX applications up to device group II and device category 3 for gas (zone 2) and dust (zone 22). In practice, this means that an MS2E engine remains safe even if other safety-relevant or safety-specific components fail. If, for example, a combustible atmosphere is created due to a defective extraction unit, this cannot be ignited by the engine.

Fast and accurate design – with safety

Because time is money and errors cost time and money, the design within the IndraSize engineering tool is based on a virtually exact engine model. The result: the design of the MS2E corresponds exactly to the real operation. Do you want even more efficiency? With SafeMotion applications, you achieve the greatest possible machine safety thanks to high-resolution 20-bit single or multiturn encoders in SIL2 PLd. Additional practical options include holding brakes or shafts with feather keyway.

Compact power packs for downsizing

Without the right power density, an ATEX-certified engine is only half the fun. For this reason, Bosch Rexroth pays special attention to compact design. The extremely high torque density of the MS2E motors is up to 30 percent higher than that of the predecessor series – a new motor design with optimized electromagnetic design makes this possible. As a machine manufacturer, you benefit in two ways: You can solve your existing drive tasks with smaller motors and achieve more performance with the specified installation space. For the purpose of such downsizing, the self-cooled MS2E motors are available in five sizes with overlapping torque ranges up to a maximum of 119 Nm, each with up to five times the overload capacity and consistently low rotor inertia. What does this mean for your application? Full of dynamics and performance. A further plus point: because high-quality materials and optimized winding technology reduce internal losses, you can also work at higher speeds in continuous operation. As a result, you achieve significantly improved energy efficiency with sustainably reduced operating costs.

36523_Motoren_Gruppenbild-1200x429.jpg
The motor with single-cable connection reduces cabling, simplifies installation and accelerates time-to-market. (Photo: Bosch Rexroth)

Produce faster with fewer cables

You can use a real novelty in the Ex area if you use the characteristic single cable connection of the MS2E. The advantage: you need much less material as well as plug-in points and space in the cable duct. Fewer cables and interfaces also mean faster and more cost-effective assembly and installation. This reduces your costs and increases productivity – especially in applications with drag chains. Because they become lighter, you can drive at higher speeds.

Industry 4.0 without limits – the motor as sensor

If you also want to implement industrial 4.0 applications in potentially explosive areas cost-effectively and without additional components, you will be particularly pleased about this feature: As with the MS2N series, the MS2E can also be used as a sensor and data source. With a view to future requirements – keyword factory of the future – expand your intelligence in this way up to the engine. The individual measured values including saturation and temperature data are stored in the motor data memory and thus form the basis for various i4.0 applications. Because the IndraDrive controllers also access the data and process it in real time, you benefit from an additional increase in torque accuracy during operation, while the tolerance range is reduced to a fraction of the previously usual values.

Two problems with one solution

With the new ATEX motor MS2E, you have a solution: you guarantee maximum safety and play in the top league on the drive side, even in potentially explosive areas – in terms of power density, functionality and engineering. Together with the flameproof encapsulated MKE motor series, you now have a stringent overall portfolio at your disposal with which you can quickly implement your ideas – with identical performance and up to Zone 1. Interested? Learn more.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

How IO-Link is Revolutionizing Overall Equipment Efficiency

Guest contributor: Greg Molinaro, Balluff

Zero downtime.  This is the mantra of the food and beverage manufacturer today.  The need to operate machinery at its fullest potential and then increase the machines’ capability is where the demands of food and beverage manufacturers is at today.  This demand is being driven by smaller purchase orders and production runs due to e-commerce ordering, package size variations and the need for manufacturers to be more competitive by being flexible.

Using the latest technology, like IO-Link, allows manufacturers to meet those demands and improve their Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) or the percentage of manufacturing time that is truly productive.  OEE has three components:

  1. Availability Loss
    1. Unplanned Stops/Downtime – Machine Failure
    2. Planned Downtime – Set up and AdjustmentsS
  2. Performance Loss
    1. Small Stops – Idling and Minor Stops
    2. Slow Cycles – Reduced Speed
  3. Quality Loss
    1. Production Rejects – Process Defects
    2. Startup Rejects – Reduced Yield

IO-Link is a smart, easy and universal way to connect devices into your controls network.

The advantage of IO-Link is that it allows you to connect to EtherNet/IP, CC-Link & CC-LinkIE Field, Profinet & Profibus and EtherCAT & TCP/IP regardless of the brand of PLC.  IO-Link also allows you to connect analog devices by eliminating traditional analog wiring and provides values in actual engineering units without scaling back at the PLC processor.

Being smart, easy and universal, IO-Link helps simplify controls architecture and provides visibility down to the sensor and device.

IO-Link communicates the following:

  • Process data (Control, cyclical communication of process status)
  • Parameter data (Configuration, messaging data with configuration information)
  • Event data (Diagnostics, Communication from device to master (diagnostics/errors )

This makes it the backbone of the Smart Factory as shown in the graphic below.

IO-Link Simplifies the Controls Architecture

IO-Link OEE1

IO-Link OEE2

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

How to keep prox sensors from latching on

For inductive proximity sensors to operate in a stable manner, without constant “chatter” or switching on/off rapidly close to the switching point, they require some degree of hysteresis.

Hysteresis, basically, is the distance between the switch-on point and the switch-off point when the target is moving away from the active surface. Typical values are stated in sensor data sheets; common values would be ≤ 15%, ≤ 10%, ≤ 5% and so on. The value is taken as a percentage of the actual switch-on distance of the individual sensor specimen. Generally, the higher the percentage of hysteresis, the more stable the sensor is and the farther away the target must move to turn off the sensor.

basic_oper_inductive_sensorBut occasionally, a sensor will remain triggered after the target has been removed. This condition is called “latching on” and it typically occurs when the sensor remains damped enough to hold the sensor in the “on” condition.

Some factors that could cause “latching on” behavior and ways to correct it are:

Having too much metal near the sensor
Using a quasi-flush, non-flush, or extended-range sensor that is too close to metal surrounding its sides will partially dampen the sensor. While it is not enough to turn the sensor on, it is enough to hold it in the on state due to hysteresis. If there is a lot of metal close to the sides of the sensor, a flush-type sensor may eliminate the latching-on problem, although it will have shorter range.

Having the mounting nuts too close to the sensor face
of a quasi-flush, non-flush, or extended-range sensor. Even though there are threads in that area, the mounting nuts can pre-damp the sensor.

Using a sensor that is not stable at higher temperatures
Some sensors are more susceptible to latching-on than others as temperature is increased. This is caused by temperature drift, which can increase the sensor’s sensitivity to metals. In these cases, the sensor may work fine at start-up or at room temperature, but as the machinery gets hot it will start latching on. The solution is to make sure that the sensor is rated for the ambient temperature in the application. Another option: look for sensors designed properly by a reputable manufacturer or choose sensors specifically designed to work at higher temperatures.

Having strong magnetic fields
This happens because the magnetic field oversaturates the coil, so that the sensor is unable to detect that the target has been removed. If this is the case, replace them with weld-field-immune or weld-field-tolerant sensors.

inductive-proximity-sensor-cutaway-with-annotation

For a more detailed description of how inductive proximity sensors detect metallic objects without contact, please take a look at this related blog post.

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized  Balluff distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Embedding axis controllers made by any manufacturer

Guest contributor: Theobald Herrmann, Bosch Rexroth

Automating hydraulic drives as easily and conveniently as electrical ones with combined monitoring and remote maintenance of all the technologies used – this increasingly important economic requirement can be fulfilled using valves with integrated axis controllers (IAC). What can they offer and how easy is it to implement manufacturer-independent integration at controller level?

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Bus systems play a key role in automation. They provide a flexible way of saving time and money when integrating hydraulic drives into higher-level control networks. However, in order to give the engineering plenty of freedom, this should ideally be independent of the controller manufacturer.

Ethernet – open communications standard

The basis for this manufacturer-independent communication is the network standard Ethernet. Thanks to the large address space and switch cascading facilities, networks can then be scaled to any size and can give an almost unlimited number of participants equal bus access. The most common Ethernet-based bus systems used in industrial automation to control hydraulic axes are SERCOSProfinet RTEthernet/IPEtherCAT, Powerlink and Varan.
All these bus systems can use multi-Ethernet interfaces to provide flexible availability – both for the engineering and for the end user.

What can IAC valves achieve with multi-Ethernet interfaces?

Multi-Ethernet interfaces are a key component of control valves with integrated digital axis controllers (IAC). The integrated switch (bus in and bus out)
makes it easy to comprehensively integrate your hydraulic drives into a uniform control concept. Using standardized M12 technology also enables you
to efficiently integrate a variety of sensors. The software-based control functions are particularly interesting to users. They enable the motion control
of a hydraulic drive to be handled in the same way as an electric one, ultimately depicting the operation and control of both types of drives in exactly the same way.

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Specific hydraulic axis control functions

Viewed precisely, an IAC (Integrated Axis Controller) is a digital controller equipped with control and regulation algorithms that is integrated into the valve together with all the necessary sensor interfaces for controlling position, pressure, force and flow. The extended function range includes alternating control (position, force) and status feedback for position control. This means that hydraulic motion sequences can be quickly implemented without the need for any programming. Another advantage is that control algorithms and parameters can be integrated into the valve and then selected by the higher-level controller as appropriate for the specific application. In this way, possibly supplemented by electric drives, they can be used as a cost-effective way of implementing tailored machine concepts and individual application requirements.

Commissioning, monitoring and engineering

Using standardized M12 technology reduces the cabling effort required and permits faster commissioning. Additional time and cost are saved by the wizard integrated into the software that guides the user through the few steps needed before final commissioning and also calculates all the necessary control parameters. Important for the plant’s availability are monitoring functions which, among other things, detect tracking errors and monitor the limits of travel.
In addition to these, some manufacturers also provide software tools to help motion control system users with commissioning and parameterization, and diagnostic functions such as multi-channel oscilloscopes and data loggers, so that the number of interfaces can be kept as low as possible – making the system faster and easier to configure.

Integrated machine safety (safe stop)

For the engineering IAC valves facilitate a modular construction system that can flexibly enhance system concepts. And not least, these include internally implemented DGUV-certificated safety functions. This gives you an economical and future-proof way to lay the foundations for safe stop, for instance by shutting down a channel as specified in EN 13849-1, and thus fulfill the requirements of the Machinery Directive even for large-scale plants.

22916_v2_300-768x702.jpg

Case study 1: High precision control tasks

The role that IAC valves play in the accuracy of machine tools is made very clear by the example of a new rotary transfer machine with 54 electrical and hydraulic CNC axes. For this new development the manufacturer not only made use of a powerful CNC system solution with real-time communication via SERCOS, but also incorporated a module in controller format with software that was already capable of taking into account all the special features of fluid technology and was thus able to separate the drive level from the control level. This enables the machine to be constructed more compactly and with lower heat input. Thanks to the stable temperature, the vibration-damped sleeves of the circular array of processing axes can achieve a repeatable precision in the hydraulic servo axes of less than +/- 1 μm, corresponding to 5 μm on the workpiece. The travel speed is up to 30m/min.

Case study 2: A retrofitted core shooting machine

In addition to new designs, IAC valves with multi-Ethernet interfaces also offer considerable potential when it comes to modernizing legacy machines. For example, the well thought-out retrofit of a 50 year old core shooter coupled with new hydraulic components resulted in significantly improved efficiency. A total of eight IAC valves regulate the hydraulic cylinders on the basis of the set positions given by a CNC controller. Their possibilities and high level of precise repeatability made it possible to reduce the figures for setup time (system changeover) and waste (nibs). Altogether, despite operating three shifts, the machine’s availability increased by more than 10%, corresponding to 500 hours. Using a secure logic controller meant that safety was also brought up to date.

Conclusion

IAC valves with multi-Ethernet interfaces and integrated axis controllers enable mechanical engineering companies to easily utilize the productivity potential offered by hydraulic and hybrid drives.

Combining them with engineering tools, including industry-specific and application-specific control structures makes it possible to cost-effectively
implement tailored machine concepts and modernizations, with the result that the manufactured results can be optimized faster and more easily.

More informationwww.boschrexroth.com/iac

Moviehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVBOYCP31P0

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.pngCMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.

Economical and intelligent: Handling solutions re-conceived

Guest contributor: Andreas Gryglewski, Bosch Rexroth

The market for handling and robotic solutions is highly price-driven, yet still leaves room for disruptive ideas. Bosch Rexroth provides proof of this with an advanced solution package for Cartesian kinematics. It combines an economical industrial controller with state-of-the-art web technology and assured instruction via a standard tablet. The result: minimum investment costs and maximum efficiency – before and during operation.

Manufacturers of handling solutions for loading and unloading face fierce competition. The volume market demands cost-optimized, rugged and user-friendly solutions that optimally fulfill all requirements in terms of accuracy and cycle times. In addition, users expect quick commissioning with as little programming, instruction and training expenditures as possible. A high degree of productivity and flexibility is also required for the operational phase in order to reduce downtime and so that format or process changes can be more quickly implemented.

All of these requirements are addressed by Bosch Rexroth with a particularly economical solution package for Cartesian kinematics that combines a high-performance motion controller with state-of-the-art web technologies and innovative value-added features. The automation experts make the solution package even more economical with an especially clever idea: users can perform the setup and assured teaching-in on any standard commercially available tablet.

Industrial control, web technology, consumer tablets

In its solution package for Cartesian kinematics, Bosch Rexroth combines a powerful motion controller with modern web technologies and innovative value-added features.

The disruptive solution approach for Cartesian handling from Bosch Rexroth is particularly suitable for machinery manufacturers and end users who want to implement flexibly and reliably adaptable pick-and-place tasks in a short time and at a low cost. Examples include the loading and unloading of injection-molded parts, the sorting of workpieces, or a wide range of intralogistics applications. Bosch Rexroth combines its proven industrial controller with a webserver and a bracket for a typical standard tablet, by means of which the user can visualize the connected handling solution and – graphically-supported – program, teach-in and adjust it as needed. The solution package is comprised of other basic components such as compact servo motors and drives for the kinematics movement, as well as a safety controller for connecting to the tablet bracket for safe teaching-in. From a single source, Bosch Rexroth also optionally offers the mechanical equipment, includinglinear axes with a belt or ball-screw drive and grabbers.

The utmost in connectivity and IT security

In its new handling solution, Bosch Rexroth placed special emphasis on the two key properties of i4.0 –connectivity and IT security. While the optional IoT Gateway ensures the horizontal and vertical networking, the security router with a newly developed IoT firewall, which is also optional, guarantees secure communication between the tablet and controller. Consequently, unauthorized persons can neither log into the controller nor can a virus attack the controller or spread throughout a company’s IT network.

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Thanks to the newly developed solution packages, handling systems from Bosch Rexroth can be more quickly commissioned, easily programmed, and taught most economically using standard tablets.

Easy commissioning without parameterization

One of the numerous unique features is the operating concept for the handling solution: Immediately after a servo motor is connected with a drive, the latter reads out the stored parameter set from the feedback memory and thus already has all the characteristic data of the mechanical equipment. The result: a considerable time savings and prevention of errors during commissioning, because the user no longer has to manually enter up to 70 parameters. When Rexroth mechanical equipment is ordered in the future, the parameters will be stored in the feedback memory of the motor while still in the plant. If the user puts his own mechanical equipment into operation; the associated parameter file can also be stored in the feedback memory and is efficiently read into the drive upon connecting.

Safe teaching-in using a standard tablet

The disruptive character of the new handling solution becomes clear during setup, which can be performed wirelessly with almost any consumer tablet. It is expeditiously fastened in a bracket especially developed by Bosch Rexroth for teaching-in, which can be adjusted to the respective size and securely encloses the mobile device. On the top left is a combination emergency stop and enabling button that makes reliable and comfortable teaching-in possible for the user. While the left hand holds the tablet and can press the red button, the right hand is free for other operational tasks. The visualization and operation of the handling system is web-based and applies the HTML5 standard, hence is independent of the tablet OS. An optional security router with an integrated firewall provides for IT security.

Programming without programming knowledge

Bosch Rexroth also made the process programming, which precedes the teaching-in sequence, as uncomplicated as possible. Because it uses the graphical programming language Google Blockly, as is the case with the tablet, no programming skills in conventional terms are required. In order to move an axis from point A to point B, for example, only the start and end positions need to be specified, and a line to connect them with each other. The grabbers are also opened or closed by means of graphical elements. Thanks to variables, logical expressions and loops, it is possible to easily specify and clearly represent various processes, also complex ones if necessary.

Features for increasing productivity and quality

Positively contributing to the performance of an especially economical operating phase of the new handling solution are its versatile functions and expansion options. These ultimately also afford the user a high degree of flexibility for changes in process or format. For example, the Active vibration damping function, which provides greater product quality in combination with a sensor, or initiates the exact countermovements in the open-loop process in the linear module in order to prevent undesirable vibrations or to move sensitive products. Thus, for instance, the utmost in accuracy can be achieved when loading and unloading using the grabber sparing the mechanical equipment for a longer service life.

Preventive maintenance and IoT integration

Preventive maintenance can also be cost-efficiently realized in combined usage with the optional IoT Gateway. In order to collect data for analysis and evaluation of the service life, the motor decoder can also be used as an intelligent sensor. If the motor revolutions are converted into linear movements, the timing for lubrication intervals or the replacement of components can be derived, for example. Communication standards such as OPC UA can provide for easy integration into customer-specific IoT systems as needed.

Economical in every way

The solution package is especially suited for pick-and-place tasks that must be quickly and flexibly adaptable – such as for the loading and unloading of injection-molded parts, the sorting of workpieces, or for various intralogistics applications.

 

With the new solution package, Bosch Rexroth introduces a fresh impetus into the competitive market for Cartesian handling. Automation expertise, modern web and IoT technologies, and productivity-enhancing features are combined in a rugged and practical solution concept that takes into account current and future market requirements, and which generates disruptive energy. Consequently, machinery manufacturers and end users find quick and very economical way to implement a reliable, efficient and flexible handling solution that can be commissioned, taught, and adapted to current requirements without any significant knowledge of programming and parameterization.

Innovative approaches of the new handling system:

  • A comprehensive economic package comprising industrial controller, servo motor, drives, security zone module and teaching-in bracket for consumer tablets
  • Maximum security through a router with firewall (optional)
  • Minimal total cost of ownership thanks to:
    • Commissioning without the need for parameterization: Drives automatically read stored mechanical parameters when connected with a motor
    • Device-independent visualization and operation (HTML5)
    • Safe teaching-in bracket for consumer tablets
    • Simplified process flow design without programming knowledge, thanks to Google Blockly
  • Added value functions for productivity and quality – for example vibration absorption
  • Prepared for data tracking for preventive maintenance
  • Easy integration into IoT systems through open interfaces such as OPC UA

cropped-cmafh-logo-with-tagline-caps.png

CMA/Flodyne/Hydradyne is an authorized Bosch Rexroth distributor in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Northern Indiana.

In addition to distribution, we design and fabricate complete engineered systems, including hydraulic power units, electrical control panels, pneumatic panels & aluminum framing. Our advanced components and system solutions are found in a wide variety of industrial applications such as wind energy, solar energy, process control and more.