Industry 4.0

How do I justify an IIoT investment?

Guest contributor: Will Healy III, Balluff

Many engineers and managers I meet with when presenting at conferences on Smart Manufacturing ask some version of the question: “How can we justify the extra cost of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?” or “How do I convince management that we need an Industry 4.0 project?” This is absolutely a fair and tough question that needs to be answered; without buy-in from management and proper budget allocation, you can’t move forward. While an investment in IIoT can deliver major payoffs, the best justification really depends on your boss.

I have seen three strong arguments that can be adapted to a variety of management styles and motivations.

1) Showing a ROI through Reducing Downtime

“Show me the money!” I think everyone has a manager with this expectation. It may seem like a daunting task to calculate or capture this information, but by using a team, knowing your KPIs and applying anecdotal feedback, you can get a good initial picture of the ROI that an IIoT project will bring to the organization. Many people have shared with me that their initial project’s ROI has “funded the next project.” There is a really great article from MetalForming Magazine that discusses how exactly to do this with the tables and forms they used at ODM Tool & Manufacturing.

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2) Corporate Goals for Productivity and Utilization

We can be successful getting support for a project when we link corporate goals to project goals. Smart Industry publishes a research project each year that investigates trends in the manufacturing space in regards to digital transformation initiatives. This report cites that the three top benefits manufacturers are seeing are: improving worker productivity (3rd 2016), reducing costs (1st 2016) and optimizing asset utilization (2nd 2016). These goals are driving investments and showing actual results for manufacturers both large and small. However, the report also revealed that more than half of manufacturers cite workforce skills-gap issues as their largest roadblock and this is, I believe, why we saw improving worker productivity move to the top spot. We must bring efficiency and effectiveness to the people we have.

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3) Your Competitors are Investing in IIoT!

If you have a boss that worries about falling behind, this can be a motivating argument. Control Engineering recently published a study of manufacturers and how they are investing in IIoT technologies. The largest investments are coming with sensors, connectivity and data analytics. But what is most shocking is that on average IIoT budgets are $328,160, with 18% budgeting more than a half-million dollars. If you want to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the global market, an investment in IIoT is a requirement to remain competitive.

If you are looking for support and partnership on your IIoT projects, we are experienced at utilizing IO-Link, smart sensors and RFID to enable Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing projects.

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

Time is money: snappy automation of testing machines

Guest contributor: Andreas Sokoll, Bosch Rexroth

Usefully combining automation and IT is not only typical of Industry 4.0. In the engineering of measuring and testing machines, open interfaces also unleash great potential for efficiency. With the aid of National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphic programming environment and Open Core Engineering, they can now be modelled and automated in an integrated manner without creating a separate PLC code. The effect: a significantly quicker time to market!

Why complicate things if they can be actually be done simply

The idea of precisely modeling customer-specific measuring and testing machines without having to acquire and coordinate an additional PLC programmer is very attractive to many manufacturers. That’s because, until now, they had to program I/O queries and axis motions separately and transfer them into a joint machine program throughout all the development phases. An irksome and time-consuming task, which introduces additional sources of errors. However, this cost and quality-related factor can be minimized if the development environment communicates directly with the control core.

Modeling measuring and testing machines without additional PLC programming: in National Instruments’ LabVIEW programming environment, manufacturers can execute the motion sequences as well as measuring and testing tasks. The Open Core Interface acts as an open interface between the control system and the PC.

Parameterizing instead of programming

National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphic programming environment, which is widely used in the measuring and testing machines field, satisfies this requirement by supporting Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Interface. Development engineers therefore get direct access to the control functions via their usual interface. Device drivers and functions can consequently be quickly and simply selected as graphic modules (Virtual Instruments) and then only need to be parameterized. This also speeds up commissioning. This is because, in addition to the measuring and testing applications, the full machine workflow can now be mapped in LabVIEW, and consequently in a joint project. There’s no need for the PLC code to be written in parallel and continually coordinated.

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Reduced engineering workload: Since LabVIEW supports Bosch Rexroth’s Open Core Interface, machine developers no longer have to work in two environments. The axis motions can also now be produced directly in LabVIEW.

Over 550 VIs to be parameterized

With its Open Core Interface, Bosch Rexroth has established the basis for not only the graphic LabVIEW language but also other modern high-level languages, software solutions from the simulation and model-based engineering fields, and open i4.0 standards such as OPC-UA being able to access control functions directly. The seamless integration in the respective programming environment is achieved by using a software development kit (SDK). In the case of LabVIEW, it contains more than 550 Virtual Instruments (VIs). They control the connection set up (ApiLib), access to direct motion commands (MotionLib), and access to the control system (SytemLib) or the drive and control parameters (ParameterLib) among other things. They are clearly structured in function libraries and they can be simply dragged & dropped into the project and then parameterized.

Motion PLC, drive and control functions: The LabVIEW SDK contains eight libraries with over 550 additional Virtual Instruments.

Fully fledged HMI for M2M communication

Both the “front panel” and “block diagram” programming windows that are typical of LabIEW now form a fully fledged user interface for man-machine communication. The block diagram shows the flow logic in the form of VIs and links, and all the control and display elements appear in the front panel, e.g. buttons, switches or graphical displays. So direct operation of the machine is also possible. For instance, in order to move an axis, the programmer simply activates the corresponding VI. The SDK provides numerous example projects illustrating the initial steps. The HMI templates that they contain can be quickly adapted to the respective requirements.

BlockdiagrammSimple block diagram: In this example, the logically linked Virtual Instruments read a value from the control unit.

Force measurement practical example

Force measurements are by far the most common form of test task. Including handling tasks, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of all measuring and testing tasks can in practice be carried out just by using LabVIEW. Here’s an example of the monitoring of a joining process:

A DIN 625 industrial bearing is to be pressed into a tolerance ring in a controlled manner. In order to control the linear axis motion, measure the pressing force and compare it with the tolerance range, the programmer divides the project into five steps: Connect, move (axes into position), start force control and measuring, measurement completed, and retract axis. The programming takes place purely in LabVIEW with the aid of self-explanatory VIs such as “Standstill”, “MoveVelocity”, “Continuous Motion” or “Stop”. The VIs are linked by connections in the graphical user interface and are activated and deactivated via target and transfer values such as “TRUE” and “FALSE”.

HMIQuick access to the desired operating interfaces: The SDK for LabVIEW comes with lots of example projects in which the HMI can be quickly and easily adjusted.

Complete control set from a single source

In addition to pure modeling and programming in LabVIEW, as a system manufacturer Bosch Rexroth provides even more ways of increasing engineering efficiency. In the practical example shown for instance, the press-fit procedure is carried out via an energy-efficient electromechanical cylinder (EMC) with an integrated force sensor and drive. In combination with an IndraControl XM control this produces a fast, higher-level control loop in which the mechanical and electrical components work together optimally with short cycle times of 250 µs. The test system is quick to set up so it can precisely control the force moments which arise, run at constant speeds and position the work piece in a highly dynamic, flexible and precise manner depending on the requirements. A Bosch Rexroth linear motion technology tolerance ring is used as a frictionally engaged connection element for the insertion of the bearing.

Quicker to market due to large time savings

With the aid of LabVIEW and the Open Core Interface technology, together with Bosch Rexroth’s modern automation solutions, precise movements can be carried out in measuring and testing machines even without any PLC programming – including interfaces, handshakes and synchronization. For users this results in an enormous saving of time, especially since troubleshooting can also concentrate on one instead of two programming environments. This considerable time saving enables manufacturers of measuring and testing machines to bring innovative and complex products to market much more quickly and also inexpensively than before – but without compromising on quality.

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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.

Hydraulics with IO-Link: Reduced effort, high value

Guest contributor: Theobald Herrmann, Bosch Rexroth

In almost all industries, machine users require increased flexibility for production means for small batches and continuous diagnostics of all actuators and sensors to increase availability. In addition to this, there is quickly increasing horizontal and vertical connection of machinery and systems for Industry 4.0 applications. The open standard IEC 61131-9, IO-Link, fulfills these requirements at low connection costs and energy consumption. Flexibility of hydraulics is increased by transmission of parameter changes in running operation. Provision of diagnostics information offers numerous opportunities to extend the concepts of predictive maintenance to increase availability of the systems. The manufacturer-independent IO-Link can be integrated easily and quickly in any industrial automation application.

Standardized wiring and electronic name plate support commissioning and increase availability

• Open standard for bi-directional point-to-point connections in parallel to field bus
• Easy connection with standard cables and M12 connectors
• No additional engineering tool necessary, possible configuration via control system.
• Data for predictive maintenance and quick device replacement
 Industry 4.0-compatible hydraulic components for vertical flow of information

Introduction: Limits of serial field bus communication

The introduction of field bus technology in the 1980s was the starting point for horizontal connection of decentralized actuators within machinery. Serial wiring lead to a considerable reduction in cabling and opened new possibilities for modularization in mechanical engineering. Field buses as well as most current real-time Ethernet protocols are manufacturer-specific, proprietary systems. The protocols have been developed by control system manufacturers and focus on communication between own electric control systems and selected peripherals. For actuators, sensors and other third-party equipment, either their manufacturers or system integrators are required to provide suitable interfaces in hardware and software for the respective field bus. This is very complex as device profiles and software have to be created in the respective PLC for every individual field bus and control system of each manufacturer.

Possibilities for hydraulic connection

Integration of hydraulics in modern automation systems can be realized in different ways. Numerous existing machine concepts apply on-board electronics for control of hydraulic valves. Exchange of digital information is restricted and only possible if the respective device is connected to a superior control system via individual wiring. This state-of-the-art in technology increasingly no longer meets the requirements of end users.

The alternative are valves with integrated field bus connection. These, however, require extensive wiring as well as integration into the control system and the respective field bus protocol by means of dedicated software. Both requires considerable effort that is too high particularly for price-sensitive applications.

Thanks to IO-Link, machine manufacturer and system integrators are enabled to integrate for example proportional hydraulic series valves and sensors into digital communication structures with very little engineering effort. With its simple communication structure, IO-Link has low hardware requirements. Additionally, the standardized M12 connection technology enables simple and cost-efficient connection of hydraulic valves in the field. This way, previously “deaf-mute” components with analog control are transformed in communicating and flexible actuators and sensors.

IO-Link: Manufacturer-independent and compatible with all field bus protocols

The manufacturer-independent IO-Link according to IEC 61131-9 standardizes connection technology for actuators, sensors and other equipment and provides a digital communication protocol for data exchange between control systems and devices regardless of the field bus. Field bus technology is not replaced but extended. Parallel communication enables machine manufacturers use of IO-Link with all protocols and integration of IO-Link-compatible devices into various concepts without additional effort.

IO-Link is currently already supported by around 130 device manufacturers and companies in the field of technology. Around 40 manufacturers offer IO-Link Masters and the standard is supported by nine manufacturers of control systems with central Masters and respective engineering tools. IO-Link devices are in the product range of almost sixty manufacturers of sensors, actuators and other peripherals. Rexroth, for example, now also offers hydraulic proportional valves and pressure sensors with respective technology. Function and performance of these proportional valves are identical to series valves. However, they also offer all options for bi-directional communication via IO-Link. This way, the hydraulics can be integrated seamlessly into connected structures. Parameters can be changed and operating states changed by the control system during running operation.

IO-Link system set-up

A full IO-Link system consists of one centralized or decentralized IO-Link Master, one or more IO-Link devices as well as unshielded 3 or 5-conductor standard cables with M12 connectors. Project planning and parameterization of the IO-Link Master can be realized in the control system hardware or an optional engineering tool. The point-to-point connections between IO devices and the automation system are established by the Master. It serves as the interface to the superior control system.

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IO-Link Masters are offered by around 50 manufacturers for connection of one IO device per port. The selection includes options for the IP20 control cabinet as well as decentralized modules with protection class IP65/67 for installation at machinery. Particularly in large-scale systems, cabling is considerably reduced.

For decentralized IO-Link Masters, the user organization of IO-Link has defined M12 plug-in connectors with three or five conductors. The 5-pole version “Class B” port is used for devices with increased current consumption like hydraulic valves. The 3-pole version “Class A” port provides an energy supply of up to 200 mA which is sufficient for most sensors. In contrast to analog controls, unshielded cables are sufficient for fault-free communication over a cable length of up to 20 meters. IO-Link standardizes connection technology for all actuators and sensors and eliminates numerous sources of errors during the installation of systems. Otherwise complicated and expensive cable dimensioning with individual wiring and shielding is no longer required. In addition, the logistic effort is reduced thanks to application of uniform M12 cables for sensors and actuators.

Rapid commissioning per software

Every IO-Link device features an electronic device description, referred to as IO Device Description (IODD). It provides standardized important information:

• Device data
• Text description
• Identification, process and diagnosis data
• Communication properties
• Device parameters with value range and default value.
• Image of the device
• Logo of the manufacturer

The IODD set-up is identical for all devices of all manufacturers. The IODD enables automatic recognition of the device by the IO-Link Master for immediate parameterization. Also automatically, device descriptions are included in the system documentation.

For project integration of the IO-Link Master in overall automation, commissioning personnel use the engineering tools of the respective PLC manufacturer. The IO-Link Master is selected from the device portfolio and added to overall automation. Depending on the control system manufacturer, all blocks for communication are available in a library for free.

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Via IO-Link to Industry 4.0

IO-Link enables access to device data either directly from the control system or remotely via networks from any location. Particularly important for future-oriented concepts: Already today, IO-Link offers type and instance data of Industry 4.0 devices according to the definition of the German “Plattform Industrie 4.0” initiative.

This way, also hydraulic actuators meet all conditions for future requirements of Industry 4.0 applications. Additionally, this approach is well-suited for subsequent connection of existing machinery and systems with low effort. Users replace installed proportional valves and sensors by interchangeable options with IO-Link connection for direct communication with actuators and sensors.

Diagnosis functions for increased availability

The diagnosis functions of IO-Link devices enable new maintenance concepts and considerably reduce repair times. Now possible call-up of device information in parallel to the process forms the basis for condition-oriented and predictive maintenance concepts. In this respect, proportional valves report whether they are functional as well as errors like under or overvoltage. In addition, the valve and sensor status is displayed for transparent error analysis. An integrated operating hour indicator enables calculation of the residual life-cycle for maintenance and decision-making on further use of the valve.

In case of faults, IO-Link accelerates diagnosis thanks to remote access for maintenance specialists to identify the type and location of any errors. Precise localization without personal presence at the system alone considerably reduces reaction times. If necessary, the maintenance technician opens the IODD file of the respective device in the control system. Other than before, components do not need to be disassembled to decipher hardly readable labels and manufacturers and types no longer need to be looked for in system documentations. Thanks to the electronic name plate, all this information can now be accessed with just one mouse click to initiate the respective order without delay.

IO-Link follows the plug & play principle. Replaced devices are recognized by the IO-Link Master according to their IODD file and the respective parameters are automatically transferred without any actions in the software. This way, even less experienced technicians are enabled to replace components without problems to considerably reduce system downtimes.

Summary

The open IO-Link standard establishes continuous communication with sensors and actuators irrespective of the used field bus. Now, even hydraulic proportional valves can be intelligently, easily and cost-effectively integrated in bi-directional digital communication. This simplifies commissioning in hardware and software and enables flexible adjustment of hydraulic valves for varying production processes. Increased requirements for flexible machinery and systems are now complied with. Extended diagnosis information enables condition-oriented and predictive maintenance concepts and standstill and maintenance times are reduced. This increases the availability of machinery. In addition, IO-Link enables future-proof integration of hydraulic valves into connected structures as Industry 4.0 components with all their related features.

Why hydraulics and IO-Link? Click here

Learn more about Rexroth and IO-Link

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.

5 Ways Flexible Manufacturing has Never Been Easier

Guest Contributor: Tom Rosenberg, Balluff

Flexible manufacturing has never been easier or more cost effective to implement, even down to lot-size-one, now that IO-Link has become an accepted standard. Fixed control and buried information is no longer acceptable. Driven by the needs of IIoT and Industry 4.0, IO-Link provides the additional data that unlocks the flexibility in modern automation equipment, and it’s here now!  As evidence, here are the top five examples of IO-Link enabled flexibility:

#5. Quick Change Tooling: The technology of inductive coupling connects standard IO-Link devices through an airgap. Change parts and End of Arm (EOA) tooling can quickly and reliably be changed and verified while maintaining connection with sensors and pneumatic valves. This is really cool technology…power through the air!

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#4. On-the-fly Sensors Programming: Many sensor applications require new settings when the target changes, and the targets seem to always change. IO-Link enables this at minimal cost and very little time investment. It’s just built in.

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#3. Flexible Indicator Lights: Detailed communication with the operators no long requires a traditional HMI. In our flexible world, information such as variable process data, timing indication, machine status, run states and change over verification can be displayed at the point of use. This represents endless creativity possibilities.

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#2. Low cost RFID: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been around for a while. But with the cost point of IO-Link, the applications have been rapidly climbing. From traditional manufacturing pallets to change-part tracking, the ease and cost effectiveness of RFID is at a record level. If you have ever thought about RFID, now is the time.

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#1. Move Away from Discrete to Continuously Variable Sensors: Moving from discrete, on-off sensors to continuously variable sensors (like analog but better) opens up tremendous flexibility. This eliminates multiple discrete sensors or re-positioning of sensors. One sensor can handle multiple types and sizes of products with no cost penalty. IO-Link makes this more economical than traditional analog with much more information available. This could be the best technology shift since the move to Ethernet based I/O networks.

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So #1 was the move to Continuously Variable sensors using IO-Link. But the term, “Continuously Variable” doesn’t just roll off the tongue. We have discrete and analog sensors, but what should we call these sensors? Let me know your thoughts!

To learn more about RFID and IO-Link technology, visit www.balluff.com.

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.

New Design for Hydraulic Power Units

Guest contributor:  Andreas Günder, Bosch Rexoth

Optimum power, less installation space: Thanks to new intellectual and design approaches, compact hydraulic power units increase the economic efficiency of machine tools.

Powerful force in a very confined space

In the production world, hydraulics are firmly established. Machine tool manufacturers appreciate hydraulics for their high power density, toughness and modular design. In the lower performance range up to 4 kW, however, there are also some challenges. Since the installation space is often limited, designers and technical purchasers are constantly looking for increasingly compact solutions.

Installation space is valuable

The demand for compact hydraulic drives is not only due to the structurally limited flexibility regarding extensions, modernization measures and refittings but also due to the requirements regarding acquisition costs and assembly times or structural extensions of the working space with given machine dimensions. In addition to the level of integration of the functions, energy efficiency often plays an important role as well. Last but not least, many manufacturers are following the miniaturization trend. If workpieces become increasingly smaller, the moved mass of the machine tool has to be decreased accordingly.

“Installation space eaters” hydraulic power units

To reduce the installation space, solution manufacturers can start mainly with the following components: hydraulic power unit and control cabinet. When considering this split, it becomes evident that compact power units which are also easy to integrate require completely new design approaches to eliminate all features which waste unnecessary space in the performance spectrum up to 4 kW and to ensure that the units are still compatible with many different machine designs.

Highly integrated design approaches

The features of such innovative design concepts according to the EU Eco-Design Directive 2009/125/EC for example include a tank which is optimized for efficient degassing and reduces the oil volume by up to 80 percent. A much more decisive factor for gaining space is, however, that all functions can actually be integrated in one small power unit – from an economic variable-speed drive for demand-based power output to sensor technology with filling level, temperature, pressure and filter contamination sensors to a completely wired frequency converter.

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Compact and ready for Industry 4.0

For the future viability of this approach with regard to Industry 4.0, a data interface is essential as well. Only with permanent condition monitoring can the operating conditions be optimized comfortably and relevant faults be detected early on. With this equipment, the user only has to connect the electric power, the data interface and the hydraulic supply during installation and the hydraulic power unit is ready for operation

New cooling with heatpipe

So-called heatpipes are considered to be a space-saving innovation regarding the cooling of hydraulic power units. Their high-performance passive thermal conduction allows for a further reduction of the frame size. The heatpipes absorb the thermal energy of frequency converter, motor and hydraulic oil and efficiently transfer it to a central heat sink such as e. g. cooling water…
This ensures an intelligently optimized thermal management within the hydraulic power unit and optimally utilizes the cooling power of the cooling water. There is no need for a separate hydraulic circuit for oil cooling. This reduces installation space, noise emissions, energy consumption and possibilities for leakage.

Heatpipe – Functional principle

Basically, a heatpipe consists of air-tightly sealed copper pipes with underpressure. Inside, there is a medium which transfers thermal energy. In the temperature range of hydraulic power units, the medium may be e.g. distilled water. The boiling temperature of the water is significantly reduced by the low pressure within the heatpipe, which means that a boiling or condensation process can already take place at low temperatures.

Functionality: If you dip the heatpipe for example in hot hydraulic oil, the thermal energy at the lower immersed part of the heatpipe is transferred to the water. The water exceeds the boiling point, evaporates and absorbs a large amount of thermal energy with low temperature difference (latent heat). The water steam rises to the upper part of the heat pipe which is cooled by e. g. a cooling element. Here, the water steam condensates and gives off the thermal energy to the cooling water. Thanks to the latent heatabsorption and dissipation, the thermal conductivity of heatpipes can be up to 1000 times higher than the thermal conductivity of copper pipes. Due to the high elasticity of the copper pipes, the heat pipe can be easily shaped. In this way, ideal heat paths can be formed inside the hydraulic power unit and the installation space can be considerably optimized. Similar application ranges with equal optimization potential can be found in computer technology. Here, the thermal energy in laptops caused by heat sources such as the CPU are transferred to the central cooling elements using heatpipes.

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Plug & Play: no control cabinet

The frequency converter has a high potential for gaining installation space as well. If it has already been equipped with Multi-Ethernet interface for Sercos, Profinet and other standards by the manufacturer, machine and plant manufacturers are able to reduce the control cabinet requirement for the hydraulic unit by up to 100 percent. As a precondition, however, the sensor technology and the motor in the power unit have to be wired to the frequency converter in such a way that the frequency converter can control the hydraulic pressure autonomously. This means that the control cabinet can not only be designed with smaller dimensions. Sometimes it can even be completely omitted together with the corresponding installation effort and related sources of error.

Conclusion

Fully integrated small power units based on a completely innovative design approach for the performance range up to 4 kW provide machine and plant manufacturers with the advantages of hydraulic drives with very little space requirements. As an alternative to purely electrical solutions, the required energy can be converted into a linear movement in a precise and costeffective manner directly at the working area using a simple hydraulic cylinder. If sensor technology, frequency converter and data interface are integrated as well, users not only benefit from comprehensive condition monitoring but also from a significantly reduced control cabinet footprint or even from a design without control cabinet.
More information fully integrated power units: www.boschrexroth.com/cytropac

Operating principle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSPemS94G2I

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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.

Predictive Maintenance for Zen State of Manufacturing

Guest contributor: Shishir Rege, Balluff

In a previous entry, Mission Industry 4.0 @ Balluff, I explained that the industry4-0two primary objectives for Balluff’s work in the area of Industry 4.0 are to help customers achieve high production efficiencies in their  automation and achieve  ‘batch size one’ production.

There are several levers that can be adjusted to achieve high levels of manufacturing efficiencies in the realm of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). These levers may include selecting quality of production equipment, lean production processes, connectivity and interoperability of devices, and so on. Production efficiency in the short term can be measured by how fast row materials can be processed into the final product – or how fast we deliver goods from the time the order comes in. The later portion depends more on the entire value-chain of the organization. Let’s focus today’s discussion on manufacturing – inside the plant itself.  The long-term definition of production efficiency in the context of manufacturing incorporates the effectiveness of the production system or the automation at hand. What that means is the long-term production efficiency involves the health of the system and its components in harmony with the other levers mentioned above.

The Zen state of manufacturing – nothing important will come up on Google for this as I made this phrase up.  It is the perfect state of the entire manufacturing plant that continues production without hiccups all days, all shifts, every day. Does it mean zero-maintenance? Absolutely not, regular maintenance is necessary. It is one of those ‘non-value added but necessary’ steps in the lean philosophy.  Everyone knows the benefits of maintenance, so what’s new?

Well, all manufacturing facilities have a good, in some cases very strictly followed maintenance schedule, but these plants still face unplanned downtimes ranging from minutes to hours. Of course I don’t need to dwell on the cost associated with unplanned downtime. In most cases, there are minor reasons for the downtime such as a bad sensor connection, or cloudy lens on the vision sensor, etc. What if these components could alert you well in advance so that you could fix it before they go down? This is where Predictive Maintenance (PdM) comes in. In a nutshell, PdM uses actual equipment-performance data to determine the condition of the equipment so that the maintenance can be scheduled, based on the state of the equipment. This approach promises cost savings over “time-based” preventive maintenance.

PowerSuppliesIt is not about choosing predictive maintenance over preventive maintenance. I doubt you could achieve the Zen state with just one or the other. Preventive and predictive maintenance are both important – like diet and exercise. While preventive maintenance focuses on eliminating common scenarios that could have dramatic impact on the production for long time, predictive maintenance focuses on prolonging the life of the system by reducing costs associated with unnecessary maintenance.  For example, it is common practice in manufacturing plants to routinely change power supplies every 10 years, even though the rated life of a power supply under prescribed conditions is 15 years. That means as a preventive measure the plants are throwing away 30% life left on the power supply. In other words, they are throwing away 30% of the money they spent on purchasing these power supplies. If the power supplies can talk, they could probably save you that money indicating that “Hey, I still have 30% life left, I can go until next time you stop the machine for changing oil/grease in that robot!”

In summary, to achieve the zen state of manufacturing, it is important to understand the virtues of predictive maintenance and condition monitoring of your equipment. To learn more visit www.balluff.us.

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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.

The Digital Improvement Process in Three Steps

Guest contributor: Marcel Koehler, Bosch Rexroth

Industry 4.0 solutions enable production employees to digitally replicate and implement a continuous improvement process, in order to increase output, improve product quality and reduce costs. But how do I implement a first use-case? How do I ensure the necessary plant transparency? And how do I configure the monitoring and evaluation system? Quite easily – in three steps, with easy to set up tools and tailored support by experienced experts.

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The focus is on people.

There are fundamental principles that were in place long before digitalization. Robert Bosch once said: “People should always strive to improve the existing conditions. No one should merely be content with what they have achieved; instead they should always aspire to do what they do even better.” Today, as in the past, the path to continuous improvement of production processes starts with people. Improving quality, reducing costs or boosting output requires at least one person to design, monitor and readjust the continuous improvement process. This person defines the essential information, keeps track of it, evaluates it, intervenes when necessary and draws conclusions, in order to adapt the process. With the arrival of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT), however, we now have new tools at our disposal. Tools such as IoT Gateway, which collects a variety of data without interfering with the machine logic, as well as the analysis and evaluation solutions associated with it, including the Production Performance Manager, which visualizes and evaluates the data, initiates the required actions to be taken, and simplifies the review and adaptation of the improvement process.

 

Step 1: Workshop in the company

But how do I use these tools? And how do I implement a first exemplary use-case, in order to gradually introduce it? New knowledge is transferred particularly effectively from person to person, just as in Robert Bosch’s time. In line with this principle, an experienced expert comes to the company and demonstrates the typical procedure step by step as part of the Production Performance Starter Kit from Bosch Software Innovations. In the one-day workshop, he explains the digital tools as well as typical use-cases and views the production plant together with the customer. The result of the joint workshop is at least one concrete use-case, including the solution design. The desired benefits will be examined once again and potential hurdles identified. According to the same formula, the customer can later find, develop and implement additional use-cases.

infografik_ENG_16_9_img_w1184_h666The IoT Gateway collects data from various data sources and natively transfers it to the analysis and evaluation software (Production Performance Manager).

Example of a first production performance use-case

A practical example from a concrete workshop: the condition-based monitoring and maintenance of a heat exchanger. If the heat exchanger becomes clogged due to deposits, approximately 1,500 parts become defective and the plant is forced to shut down for two hours for maintenance. An early warning system should be installed, in order to prevent production rejects and unplanned downtimes. A direct measurement of the flow rate in this plant is not possible, however, which is why temperature sensors are installed before and after the heat exchanger. The IoT Gateway, which is also installed in the line, collects the sensor data and transmits it to the Production Performance Manager, where the temperature difference is determined and compared with threshold values in order to indicate contamination. All measured values are visualized centrally for the employees responsible. When the pipes begin to clog, the system transmits a warning signal or assigns a maintenance ticket to the appropriate qualified personnel.

Step 2: Implement yourself with remote support

In the second step of the Production Performance Starter Kit, a senior consultant from Bosch Software Innovations installs the Production Performance Manager via remote access to the customer’s hardware. In doing so, at least one machine is integrated as a prototype, in order to prepare the user for scaling the solution later on. The demo license is valid for three months and up to ten machines are supported. In addition, four days of remote support are included for the Production Performance Manager. Depending on the technical infrastructure, the shopfloor integration can be done in one of three ways: via individual integrators to be programmed, via PPMP-compatible controllers or system-independent integration via the IoT Gateway from Bosch Rexroth, a universal connector that communicates natively in the open source protocol PPMP in addition to other protocols. Via the web-based user interface, the user manages the sensors, defines preprocessing of the collected data if necessary, and configures forwarding to the target system, in this case to the Production Performance Manager.

Industry 4.0 Showcase with IoT Gateway and Production Performance Manager.

Step 3: On-site user training

After configuring the infrastructure, one last step remains, in which the employees learn to successfully apply the software. This takes place as part of a detailed user training course with an experienced trainer who comes to the location for one day. After this training, participants are able to gain quick access to machine data via visualization, set up simple automated analyses and evaluations, and define intelligent, data-driven actions based on the results. Following the idea of continuous improvement, they are, as the key stakeholders of their digital improvement process, also qualified to review the actions for effectiveness and efficiency. Thanks to the transparency this provides, the user now has a valuable Industry 4.0 tool for their daily work.

elemente_eng_16_9_img_w1184_h666.jpgElements of the joint starter kit from Bosch Software Innovations and Bosch Rexroth

Gradual scaling after only three months

Photo_PI_014_17_IoT_Gateway_HM-1200x844

After only three months, employees arrive at the decisive point, from which they scale the prepared solution and repetitively connect additional machines and entire lines. As costs steadily decrease, the benefit increases disproportionately in the long run as the transparency gained gradually extends across all bottlenecks. In this manner, the production management of Bosch’s Pecinci plant (Serbia) succeeded in sustainably improving the stability of a complex coating process for wiper arms. The IoT Gateway collects sensor and controller data, such as humidity or paint consumption, and forwards the data to the Production Performance Manager. The software analyzes this data and compares it with defined threshold values, in order to optimize the plant availability of the coating plant, which consists of ten individual stations. A track & trace function, which allows conclusions to be drawn from the finished product about quality-relevant sub-processes, is planned as a follow-up project to the continuous improvement of product quality.

Do not be afraid of software! Try it out now and get started.

With the Production Performance Starter Kit, the hurdles to implementing digital processes for continuous improvement are greatly reduced. Any fears associated with the digital toolkit are completely unfounded. The IoT Gateway and the Production Performance Manager do not require any programming knowledge for daily application. Together with the methodical knowledge and practical support of our experts, companies acquire the knowledge necessary to implement their first use-case, scale the solution and tackle additional improvement projects in only three months. Robert Bosch surely would have relished the idea!

Learn more about the Production Performance Starter Kit in the webcast.

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