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[#HM2016] Adjusting production processes in real time

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Industry 4.0 requires comprehensive data collection in order to control highly automated process sequences in complex production environments. One example is the cultivation of living cells. But digitalizing and networking biotech production equipment is a huge challenge: relevant standards have yet to be established, and biology has a dynamic all its own. Using fully automated equipment for producing stem cells, Fraunhofer researchers have managed to adjust the process control to cell growth – delivering an adaptive system that is suitable for use in a number of sectors.

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Industry 4.0

The term industry 4.0 is generally associated with the manufacturing of cars, machinery or industrial goods. But, as the partners (see box) in the StemCellFactory collaborative project show, the comprehensive networking of machines and products is also making headway in biotechnology. This is a particular challenge, because this field deals not with solid components but with living objects that – unlike screws or gears – change and multiply. Networked process control needs to take this into account and be able to adjust the process accordingly in real time.

The StemCellFactory project partners have set up a fully automated production line for culturing stem cells, which can develop into any kind of cell found in the body; experts call them induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT will be presenting the production line at the Hannover Messe Preview on January 27 and at the Hannover Messe (Hall 17, Booth C18 and Hall 2, Booth C16) from April 25 to 29. Medical expertise was provided by experts from the university clinics in Bonn and Aachen, among others. iPS cells such as these are necessary in the development of medications used in personalized medicine. They are obtained from adult body cells such as human skin or blood cells. First, a doctor takes cells from a patient. Next, these cells are reprogrammed to become iPS cells by adding certain substances. This causes the cells to revert to an embryonic state, from which they can theoretically differentiate into any cell type – even heart or nerve cells, which, owing to the risk to the patient, cannot be obtained by means of a biopsy. The pharmaceutical industry uses these cells for medical tests: since they contain the patient’s own genetic information, the cells are very useful for determining which medications will be effective.

Fully automated, modular production platform

To date, iPS cells are grown by lab specialists in a painstaking, time-consuming process. The number and quality of iPS cells that can be cultured depend entirely on how experienced the lab technician is. This is why the project aimed to develop fully automated, modular equipment that achieves both a high throughput and a consistently high quality of stem cells. The IPT experts were given the task of developing both the equipment and its control mechanisms. They faced a number of challenges, the first being how to network the various biotech devices – liquid handling robot, a microscope, an incubator, and the automatic magazine for storing cells and containers – in a way that permitted the use of process-control technology in the first place. “Despite the industry’s efforts to establish uniform interfaces for lab automation equipment, there is as yet no international standard for networking the devices used,” says IPT developer Michael Kulik. “That means plug and play is not an option, so we first had to develop a standard of our own before we could integrate everything.”

This approach achieved a very high degree of networking in order to allow the process-control technology and the lab equipment to exchange information. That in turn was the prerequisite for the equipment to adjust extremely flexibly to the biological processes at work. Cell growth is the decisive factor. As the cells grow in the cell culture vessels, they divide again and again. To ensure conditions don’t get too cramped for the cells, from time to time the pipette feeder robot has to distribute them among a larger number of fresh, empty cell culture vessels.

To this end, the microscope developed at the IPT regularly examines the growth density inside the cell culture vessels. Once a critical density is reached, the microscope sends out an instruction to rehouse the cells. “This is an example of the product, in this case the growing stem cells, determining how the overall process unfolds,” says Kulik. In other words: production has the capability to adjust itself to the present situation.

A user interface makes it easy to control each device included in the equipment. If the user needs to alter or add to the equipment’s process steps, there are pre-programmed blocks of instructions that they can simply drag into or out of the control menu. Staff can choose whether to operate the equipment in fully automated or manual mode.

The technology developed as part of the StemCellFactory project can also be applied in other situations, for instance in tissue engineering and the production of tissue models. It would also be possible to use it to manufacture gears, screws, engines, etc. in a fully automated way. The software is scalable, making it suitable for small and large production facilities alike. Since the programming is extremely flexible, the process-control technology can be transferred to any other production setup in need of adaptive control on the basis of current measurement data. During the Hannover Messe, visitors will be treated to a live demonstration of how the StemCellFactory is controlled remotely, specifically from Bonn.

The following are partners on the StemCellFactory project:

• Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT

• University Clinic Bonn

• Uniklinik RWTH Aachen

• HiTec Zang GmbH

• LIFE & BRAIN GmbH

• Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine

Further information: www.stemcellfactory.de

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IOTSWC18 will portray an industrial future marked by IoT, IA and Blockchain

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IOTSWC 2018

The fourth edition of the IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC) –international reference event on the innovations of the industrial internet of things–, will bring together, between 16 and 18 October in the Gran Via venue of Fira de Barcelona, 341 exhibitors and 316 speakers from all over the world with the aim of showing the transforming capacity of the IoT in different industrial and business environments, and also show its alignment with artificial intelligence and the blockchain.

IOTSWC 2018

The Leading IoT Industry  Event Barcelona 16-18 October 2018 (image. IoTSWC)

Organised by Fira de Barcelona in collaboration with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), IoTSWC has registered a new growth in the number of participating companies, from 240 in 2017 to 341 in 2018, and expects 14,000 attendees from 114 countries. An evolution in line with the widespread deployment of IoT in various industries due to the potential for improvement in efficiency, automation and results.

Therefore, the director the IoTSWC, Roger Bou, is convinced that the 2018 edition will prove that this technology is here to stay, with its rapidly growing presence in industry: “We can see that no longer is IoT a technological revolution waiting just over the horizon; it is a reality that is being implemented ever more often and has an enormous potential to transform all types of businesses and our day-to-day lives”.

In fact, the Gartner consulting firm has predicted there will be 11.2 billion connected things in the world by the end of 2018 –4.159 billion in industry and specific industries alone. In other words, an upsurge of 32% in these areas with respect to 2017. On the other hand, experts also predict 2018 to be the year in which IoT makes a real impact in the market, spurring new business and service models.

New applications and testbeds

The exhibition area will bring together the leading companies in areas such as information technology, software platform developers, hardware manufacturers, security companies, telecommunications and service operators, or industrial automation firms that will show attendees their latest solutions and applications. The following, among others will be among the 341 companies attending: ABB, Cryptoquantique, Dassault Systems, Deloitte, Fiware, Google Cloud, Hitachi, Huawei, Intel, Kaspersky, Libelium, Microsoft, PTC, Relayr, Rigado, SAS, Software AG, Telefonica, Telit, Thinstream, Uptake, Verizon, Vodafone and Wipro.

Among the new applications, the connected winery developed by Vodafone and Bodegas Emilio Moro stands out which, through a Narrowband IoT platform,sensors in the field, Big Data and satellite technology allow to maximise the performance of the winery and minimise the environmental impact of wine production. In addition, the event will have an area dedicated to testbeds, where live demonstrations of innovative industrial internet applications will be carried out. In total 10 examples will be given, among them an intelligent platform to control water quality in Alaska and save beluga whales; an intelligent entrance gate that can be opened when the owner arrives or transform his/her garage into a giant mailbox for the delivery of online purchases; a 3D printing solution to analyse the client’s foot in real time and design and produce custom-made shoes within a couple of hours; and a fully connected and sensorized fire truck.

The 2018 IoTSWC will also be paying tribute to the year’s most ground-breaking and influential projects with their IoT Solutions Awards, which are open to companies and entities all over the world.

Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and more

On its side, the Conference will bring together the best global experts in IoT technology and representatives of various industrial industries to address the impact of IoT solutions in different environments. Nine core themes have been established for the 2018 edition, as touchstones for the more than 204 scheduled seminars: connected transport, product manufacturing, healthcare, energy and utilities, construction and infrastructure, open industry, enabling technologies, blockchain and artificial intelligence, with these last two having their very own forums.

The following stand out among the 316 speakers: Jonathan Ballon, VP of Intel; Hajime Sugiyama, Overseas Strategic Planning at Mitsubishi Electric; Seb Chakraborty, CTO of British Gas; Alexander Botsor, innovation Project Manager of BMW; Tomi Teikko, Director of Empathic Building of Tieto; Fabian Simmer, Technology Officer at Seat; Cristopher Bailey, director of Innovation and Architecture at Matson; Francisco Torres, Production manager at Pernod Ricard; and John Denning, CTO of Universal Medical, among others.

The technological gender gap and how to overcome it will also be analysed at the congress. IoTSWC will address the leadership role of women in the IoT ecosystem in a session that will have six women leaders in industrial IoT: Jennifer Bennett, Technical Director, Office of the CTO of Google Cloud; Leila Dillon, VP of Global Marketing & NA Distribution at Big Belly; Helena Lisachuk, Director and IoT Global Leader at Deloitte; Beverly Rider, executive vice-president and commercial director of Hitachi; Eva Schönleitner, vice-president of digital societies at ABB; and Adriana Estévez, Executive Director of Transformation and Digital Innovation at Microsoft.

The content and scope of the event was defined in large part thanks to the involvement of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), a worldwide organization of over 250 companies and entities related to IoT whose aim is to collectively make strides in the industrial Internet. The executive director of IIC, Richard Soley, emphasizes the standard of the attendees and demonstrations of the live systems at the IoTSWC: “IoT Solutions World Congress remains the main industrial IoT event of the year. It gives attendees the chance to meet the leaders who have been working in the field of the IoT for some time; to listen to the experts, for specific companies and industries to share success stories, and also to provide the opportunity to see the benefits of the industrial internet in action with our focus on fully functional test benches”.

Barcelona Industry Week

The IoT Solutions World Congress forms part of Barcelona Industry Week, a brand which also encompasses two other trade shows, In(3D)ustry From Needs to Solutions, dedicated to additive manufacturing, and Healthio, specializing in health and healthcare technologies. All three events, which create synergies and provide a platform for commerce and knowledge in a wide range of industrial sectors, will take place from 16-18 October at Fira de Barcelona.

 

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Nexperia, New 175°C AEC-Q101 MOSFETs in miniature leadless packages for enable automated inspection

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Nexperia 175°C AEC-Q101 MOSFETs

Nexperia announced the industry’s first AEC-Q101-qualified MOSFETs that are both rated for use at up to 175 °C and are available in the AOI-compatible DFN2020 package (DFN = Discrete Flat No leads). More, the new devices measure just 2 mm x 2 mm, much smaller and lighter than SOT223 and SO8-packages yet with comparable electrical and thermal performance.

Nexperia 175°C AEC-Q101 MOSFETs

Nexperia 175°C AEC-Q101 MOSFETs

Many leadless packages cannot be inspected using AOI techniques, so Nexperia pioneered the development of the DFN2020 package with side-wettable flanks (SWF), enabling Automatic optical inspection (AOI) – a critical automotive industry requirement – to be employed. Packages with SWF are now a proven, accepted solution.

Comments Malte Struck, Nexperia’s product manager for small signal MOSFETs: “The DFN package with side-wettable flanks is gaining significant traction with automotive manufacturers as it saves space and can be automatically inspected. Our new 175 °C parts are being used in under-the-hood applications, especially near the engine or gearbox. The unique offering of an automotive-grade MOSFET that is both qualified to 175 °C and which incorporates side-wettable flanks makes the DFN2020 additionally suitable for a wide range of medium-power automotive applications.”

The new automotive-qualified parts extend Nexperia’s low and medium power MOSFET portfolio. Six 40 V and 60 V devices are available with the higher temperature rating and automotive approval, each with low RDS(on) of between 20 mΩ and 40 mΩ.

More information on the new DFN2020 MOSFETs (BUKxxx) including product specs and datasheets is available at https://efficiencywins.nexperia.com/efficient-products/DFN2020-Automotive-MOSFETs.html

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