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[#hm17] Smart luggage tags and digitally connected monitoring systems

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In manufacturing, the intelligent interconnectedness of Industry 4.0 is the way of the future, especially at the subcontracting end of the spectrum. And that, in short, is why integrated manufacturing and smart products will feature so prominently at the Industrial Supply show at this year’s HANNOVER MESSE. In Hall 6, for example, the German-based plastics specialists Arburg GmbH + Co KG and Pöppelmann GmbH & Co. KG will be showing the world what individualized mass production looks like. The two companies will run a live, interactive demonstration of a five-stage process for producing personalized, smart luggage tags. The overall process will combine a mix of injection molding, additive manufacturing, automation and digital integration. The growing trend towards integrated manufacturing is also a key focus for ContiTech. The international rubber and plastics technology company is running a showcase at this year’s HANNOVER MESSE themed ”ContiTech. Smart Solutions beyond Rubber.”

The joint demonstration by Arburg and Pöppelmann straddles two of HANNOVER MESSE’s trade shows: Digital Factory and Industrial Supply. It also symbolizes the steadily growing role of IT in the industrial supply sector. Visitors will be able to witness a pioneering Industry 4.0 manufacturing process from start to finish as smart luggage labels are manufactured right before their eyes in accordance with the principles of distributed production. The exhibit at the Arburg display at Stand K16 in Hall 6 will demonstrate the supreme flexibility and cost-effectiveness of automated, batch-size-one production. Injection molding, industrial additive manufacturing and automation will be combined to achieve customer-specific individualization of the product (luggage tag), and the process data will be recorded and tracked using the Arburg host computer system (ALS). Heinz Gaub, Managing Director Technology & Engineering at Arburg, explains the highlights of this immersive Industry 4.0 application scenario: ”Our mini factory at the Arburg stand (K16) and the associated ’Web shop’ display operated by our partner Pöppelmann (Stand B18) will illustrate the key elements of Industry 4.0: sequential manufacturing at spatially distributed locations, ’mass customization’ – by which I mean customer-specific individualization of high-volume parts through the combination of injection molding and additive manufacturing – and end-to-end traceability of each individual part using our Arburg host computer system (ALS).”

The five stations of smart tag production
Here’s how the display works. At the first station, an individual turnkey solution, consisting of an Allrounder 375V injection molding machine and a flexible, space-saving robot cell with an integrated six-axis robot, produces the luggage tags in high volumes. The robot removes each finished molded part from the machine and fits an NFC (Near Field Communication) chip, thereby enabling the tag to store and communicate information. The next step in the flexible production process can take place at both the Arburg and the Pöppelmann stands. It involves visitors using an input terminal to select their own graphic motifs for the design of their tag and to generate an electronic business card (vCard). The vCard data is then loaded onto the tag’s NFC chip at the Arburg stand. At its stand (B18), Pöppelmann will showcase the ’Web shop’ component of this Industry 4.0 business model. This involves customers (visitors) entering their individual luggage-tag requirements via an online portal. Each such ”order” generates a QR code that is either emailed directly to the customer’s smartphone or printed out on paper. At the Arburg stand, the QR code is read by a scanner, and the associated data is loaded onto the NFC chip for use in the downstream production process. Thus, in true Industry 4.0 style, the part being processed (in this case, the luggage tag) carries its own data and is able to identify itself to the individual downstream processing stations and manage the remainder of the production process.

Thorsten Koldehoff, Sales Manager, Pöppelmann KAPSTO®, explains: ”As contributors to this demo application, we are striving to give visitors a tangible feel for how individual customer requirements and preferences can flow into the overall production process, thus opening up completely new business models.”

Constant traceability of process and quality data
At the next station, the customer’s personal data (name, address, phone number, etc) and vCard in the form of a QR code are laser-marked onto the tag. All of the parts handling tasks associated with this are performed by an Integralpicker V vertical picker machine. Next, the tag is further individualized by a Freeformer 3D printer, which additively applies the graphic motif that was selected at the second station. In this way, something that starts out as a large-volume product is transformed into a fully individualized product. At the final station, visitors discover how they can use their smart luggage tags to perform data-supported actions, such as placing online orders for brochures using the integrated NFC chip. Furthermore, the visitor’s contact data can be read from the card either via QR code scanner or NFC scanner. The dataset includes the individual URL address of the tag’s website. The website in turn contains all of the tag’s process and quality data, which can be tracked at all times.

ContiTech invests in smart systems and integrated solutions
”Digitalization is a major opportunity for us to work with our customers to generate added value on a lasting basis,” explains Hans-Jürgen Duensing, the member of the Continental Executive Board responsible for the ContiTech division. ”As suppliers to industry and hence as part of the overall value chain, we can play a key part as enablers of digitalization and shapers of the necessary industrial infrastructure. Intelligently connected systems, machinery and equipment pave the way for this. Which is why we’re working tirelessly to make our products and systems smarter and offer end-to-end solutions.”

At this year’s HANNOVER MESSE, ContiTech (Hall 6, Stand F18) will unveil its permanently installable and digitally connected monitoring system for steel cord conveyor belts. Conveyor belts are the beating heart of many industrial sectors. They are used in a multitude of applications and environments, ranging from open-pit and underground mining to transportation of goods up steep inclines and across distances spanning kilometers. In harsh operating conditions, they transport loads weighing several tons, not to mention sharp, hot, oily and greasy goods. Their fault-free operation is often crucial to the cost-effectiveness of entire production chains. Prolonged belt system outages can bring entire production systems to a complete standstill, costing their operators a fortune in lost sales. That is why plant operators are increasingly turning to preventive maintenance based on innovative electronic monitoring systems that accurately track the operating states of their conveyor belt systems at all times.

Using RFID to optimize localization of longitudinal rips
”Serious conveyor belt damage, such as longitudinal rips and splice faults, for example, can have major consequences for overall system operation and, at worst, can even lead to total system failures,” explains ContiTech application engineer Patrick Raffler. ”With the Conti MultiProtect monitoring system, operators can continuously check for these sorts of faults without having to shut the system down. This enables them to detect faults early on and initiate repairs well before the damage worsens and results in a prolonged stoppage.” The way it works is that rip inserts are implanted in the conveyor belt and continuously monitored for telltale changes in their magnetic fields. In other words, if a belt begins to rip, the insert will also be damaged, which changes its magnetic characteristics. What’s more, each rip insert has an RFID chip that enables the operator to pinpoint the exact location of the insert in the event of a cable rip.

As well as MultiProtect, ContiTech will be showcasing a further development of its ViProtect vibration analysis app for iOS and Android. With the app installed, users can now use their smartphones to analyze vibrations in vehicle cabs, engines and other industrial equipment. Excessive vibration can result in overloading of key components, leading to damage and, ultimately, prolonged and expensive repair shutdowns. Targeted tests help to analyze the vibration characteristics of industrial vehicles and machinery. The app then uses this measurement data to find solutions and suggest options for a suitable suspension system. This helps increase machinery service life and improve user comfort.

hordon kim / hordon@icnweb.co.kr

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Rockwell Automation Joins Initiative to Bring OPC UA to Field-Level Devices

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Rockwell Automation is joining an OPC Foundation initiative to extend the OPC UA protocol to field-level industrial communications.

Under the initiative, a series of working groups are being formed to bring the OPC UA protocol’s vendor-independent, end-to-end interoperability to field-level devices. The initiative plans to address use cases not currently in scope for EtherNet/IP. It could also simplify other use cases, especially in multi-vendor, controller-to-controller environments and for the vertical integration of field devices.

“Rockwell Automation has always supported the development and use of open standards,” said Paul Brooks, business development manager, Rockwell Automation. “Extending the OPC UA protocol to the field level or shop floor can help simplify system development and accelerate a company’s journey to a Connected Enterprise.”

As the primary author of the EtherNet/IP specifications, Rockwell Automation understands EtherNet/IP users may see compatibility risks in technology developed for a different ecosystem. The company intends to mitigate these risks through both its ongoing development of EtherNet/IP and its intentions for the OPC UA protocol.

Rockwell Automation’s priorities within the new OPC Foundation initiative include working to help ensure the following:

OPC UA specifications are written with the same level of rigor and completeness as the EtherNet/IP specifications.
Time-sensitive networking (TSN) is commonly applied across the OPC UA, EtherNet/IP and PROFINET protocols, so all three can coexist on a common TSN-based network.
OPC UA pub/sub technology is implemented in a way that allows existing EtherNet/IP installations to support OPC UA devices.
OPC UA hardware requirements allow the protocol to be deployed on hardware platforms that are common in today’s EtherNet/IP components.
OPC UA software requirements allow the protocol to be deployed within current EtherNet/IP-centric software tools without significant changes to user workflows.
Conformance test practices mandated for EtherNet/IP reflect the necessary requirements for OPC UA conformance testing.

“We are committed to these priorities to help make sure EtherNet/IP users have a choice of whether and when they migrate to the new OPC UA protocol,” Brooks said. “We want users to determine the pace of this migration based on the value that they receive, rather than technology choices made in the specification. We trust that others engaged in the initiative will share this common goal.”

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[#SPS] Weidmüller and KEBA announced strengthened partnership for digitalisation and automation

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The electronics company Weidmüller and the Austrian expert for industrial automation KEBA are now collaborating to complement each other’s digitalisation and automation portfolios.

Both companies announced this partnership on the occasion of SPS 2018 in Nuremberg. The collaboration focuses on shared offers for industrial automation technology with a focus on the area of machinery and plant engineering. Both companies also want to promote the utilisation of artificial intelligence (AI) in automation.

Weidmüller and KEBA partnership

Weidmüller and KEBA partnership for automation solutions

“We are happy to have found an experienced partner in industrial automation with KEBA who will help to complement our automation expertise. Combining u-control and the KEBA Engineering Suite ideally supports our customers with the implementation of ambitious automation concepts and Industry 4.0 solutions,” explains Volker Bibelhausen, CTO of the Weidmüller Group.

Michael Matthesius, Head of the Automation Products & Solutions division at Weidmüller sees this the same way: “When two excellent companies like Weidmüller and KEBA cooperate, our customers can be sure that one plus one will equal more than two in this case.”

Gerhard Luftensteiner, CEO of KEBA AG adds: “We are convinced that our product and service offerings for industrial customers complement each other ideally. From now on, customers looking for excellent digitalisation and automation solutions for Industry 4.0 will benefit from our combined expertise.”

With the cooperation, Weidmüller with its headquarters in Detmold, Germany, and KEBA based in Linz, Austria, are striving for a coordinated representation at the customer with a focus on the area of machinery and plant engineering in their respective markets. In so doing, the partners will mutually provide relevant components of their portfolios to each other.

KEBA will mainly contribute its open software solutions and parts of its control architecture, while Weidmüller will primarily contribute its u-mation product family expanded for SPS 2018 and its innovative industrial analytics offerings to the collaboration. Both companies rely on a close collaboration to further develop the product, solution and service offerings.

KEBA, founded in 1968 in Linz, is an expert for industrial automation with a focus on series machine engineering, robotics and plastics engineering as well as banking automation, electric mobility, logistics solutions, lottery solutions and heating controls.

Weidmüller, based in Detmold, Germany, is an expert for automation, digitalisation, communication and connecting components such as software and solutions, especially for industry. Both companies are privately owned.

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New Anybus gateways open an easy and secure path to IIoT via MQTT and OPC UA

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HMS Industrial Networks has announced the release the new gateway families Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT with support for MQTT and OPC UA, enabling data connectivity between equipment on all major industrial networks and IIoT applications.

The new gateway families Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT from HMS open a straight-forward and powerful path to IIoT thanks to the new support for MQTT and OPC UA in combination with a complete coverage of industrial communication standards.

System integrators, machine builders and device manufacturers can benefit from the fact that data from virtually any industrial equipment communicating on industrial Ethernet, fieldbuses, CAN or serial protocols can be transmitted to IT systems and IoT software in an easy and secure way.

Connect anything to IIoT-applications

Regardless if the data is generated in a single device, a series of machines or entire automation systems, Communicator IIoT and X-gateway IIoT allow the data to be seamlessly integrated, monitored and analyzed from modern IIoT-systems.

Data from new as well as existing industrial equipment can be integrated allowing for improved transparency and decision-making across facilities, increased productivity as well as a more sustainable approach to manufacturing.

Anybus gateway

Anybus gateways to IIoT

As easy as IIoT can get!

Anybus Communicator IIoT specializes on providing data from devices on serial protocols and CAN, while Anybus X-gateway IIoT integrates data from fieldbuses and industrial Ethernet networks. Typical use cases for the gateways involve data integration from e.g. Modbus RTU and TCP, CAN-based protocols, PROFIBUS-DP, EtherNet/IP, PROFINET, EtherCAT, POWERLINK and CC-Link.

Existing users will feel at home since no programming is needed and the configuration logic of the existing Communicator and X-gateway stays the same in these new IIoT-versions. By using the free configuration tool Anybus Configuration Manager, ACM, users can easily configure, convert and tag the desired industrial data for efficient use in IT-systems or IIoT applications. When setting up the IT-connection, the gateways can be presented either as MQTT Client or OPC-UA server.

A secure connection to IT and IIoT

The fact that Anybus Communicator IIoT and Anybus X-gateway IIoT are standalone hardware between OT (operational technology) and IT, ensures a high level of security. After installation, only one-way data flow from OT to IT is allowed through the gateways, which means that the industrial equipment and systems that are connected to the gateways stay isolated from any potential attack from the IT side. For example, instead of being directly connected to IT, a PLC on an underlying industrial network can safely and securely connect and transmit data through the gateways, without risking to be attacked.

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