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Faster time-to-market with a digital twin

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Faster time-to-market with a digital twin

New machines for the innovation-driven electronics industry have to be developed and put into operation very quickly. Chinese company Bozhon has joined forces with Siemens to do just that.

Streaming the latest episode of your favorite TV series on the train is no longer a vision of the future, it’s a daily reality. The latest apparel, books, or even food: Today nearly everything can be purchased with a tap of your finger on your smartphone. Consumers expect new products to be delivered at once, to be of the highest quality, and include the most recent technology. That goes for smartphones, too: users expect them to constantly have the very latest technology, and frequently buy a new replacement model after just a short period of time.

A secretive industry with short production cycles
If companies in the high-tech and electronics industry want to meet the strong competitive pressures, they have to keep their innovation and production cycles as short as possible in order to bring out new products faster than their competitors. It is also important to keep the competition from learning about your operations, because every detail about the machines used allows conclusions to be drawn about production. The short product and innovation cycles in the electronics industry also place a tremendous amount of time pressure on machine manufacturers. They are expected to deliver high-precision machines for manufacturing the new models – and they have to do so as quickly as possible while maintaining absolute secrecy. Fast engineering is required, as are fault-free machines. One company that can hold its own in this difficult market and is highly familiar with challenges faced by its customers is Chinese machine manufacturer Bozhon Precision Industry Technology Co.Ltd. Bozhon worked with Siemens on one of its many current projects that included the development of a digital twin.

The project Bozhon and Siemens had in mind sounded a little unusual at first: In the lead-up to the Hannover Messe, in Germany Siemens created a digital twin for a machine that was being manufactured concurrently in China. It involved an assembly cell with robot arms, and it was used at the trade show to demonstrate how the front and back of a cell phone housing are joined together.

Faster time-to-market with a digital twin

Faster time-to-market with a digital twin (@siemens)

Virtual commissioning saves a great deal of time
Bozhon’s objective: to achieve up to 30% in time savings by improving engineering efficiency accelerate the development, delivery, and commissioning of new machines at the customer site. To simulate the desired end product, a virtual 3D model of the planned machine was created, including an interface with the open, cloud-based IoT operating system MindSphere. This enabled data to be recorded and analyzed during subsequent operations and in this way to facilitate actions such as predictive maintenance and power optimization.

The digital twin was a fully detailed representation of the actual prospective machine that would allow its sequences of movement to be simulated. The outcome: the entire value chain was comprehensively represented, tested, and optimized in digital form, from product design through planning and designing the machine itself, all the way to the production process and performance. For Bozhon the development of a digital twin was the right course to pursue, as Karl Chen, CMO of Bozhon, explains: “The development of a digital twin enabled us to meet the demand for simulations. We expect digital twins to include more functions in the future and therefore further enhance companies’ long-term competitiveness.”

While the developers were working step-by-step to simulate the machine using the digital twin while also completing a virtual commissioning process, the real machine was being manufactured at the same time in China. Fast development and commissioning of machines creates a crucial advantage for machine manufacturers in their race against the competition – and the digital twin puts them a step ahead.

 

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ZEISS unveils a new platform for fast and gentle 3D super-resolution microscopy

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ZEISS is introducing ZEISS Elyra 7 with Lattice SIM, a new flexible platform for fast and gentle 3D super-resolution. Lattice SIM expands the possibilities of structured illumination microscopy (SIM): illuminating the sample with a lattice pattern rather than grid lines gives higher contrast and allows a more robust image reconstruction.

Scientists can use 2x higher sampling efficiency to lower the illumination dosage to observe fast cellular processes in super-resolution. High image quality is maintained even at high frame rates.

Fast and gentle super-resolution imaging with Lattice SIM

Lattice SIM enables fast imaging of 3D volumes with up to 120 nm laterally. Thanks to greater light efficiency, the new Lattice SIM technology provides scientists with gentle super-resolution imaging of living specimens with 255 frames per second.

Using less light to illuminate the specimen means scientists can image longer with less bleaching of the sample. The novel Lattice SIM technology allows new mechanistic details to be uncovered and the finest sub-cellular structures in large fields of view to be quantified.

Optimized localization microscopy with SMLM

ZEISS Elyra 7 can be expanded with single molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) for techniques such as PALM, dSTORM, and PAINT. ZEISS Elyra 7’s SMLM module delivers molecular resolution in large 3D volumes and powerful post-processing algorithms for quantification.

Researchers choose freely among labels when imaging with resolutions down to 20 nm laterally. SMLM provides access to molecular mechanisms in both fixed and living specimens. Researchers can count molecules and come to understand, molecule-by-molecule, how individual proteins are arranged within a structural context.

Fast optical sectioning with the new Apotome mode

ZEISS Elyra 7 is highly flexible: users profit from the wealth of options of a research grade, live cell microscope from ZEISS. They can expand their ZEISS Elyra 7 with various contrasting techniques and combine them with optical sectioning. The new Apotome mode allows fast optical sectioning of 3D samples. ZEISS Elyra 7 also works seamlessly with ZEISS SEMs in a correlative workflow.

New perspectives for life sciences research

Life sciences research often requires you to measure, quantify, and understand the finest details and sub-cellular structures of the sample. Scientists may be working with tissue, bacteria, organoids, neurons, living or fixed cells and many different labels.

ZEISS Elyra 7 takes them beyond the diffraction limit of conventional microscopy to image samples with super-resolution. Researchers now examine the fastest processes in living samples – in large fields of view, in 3D, over long time periods, and with multiple colors.

 

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LoRa-enabled IoT solutions connect industrial equipment to cloud

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Semtech (www.semtech.com) announced that EasyReach Solutions, an Indian startup specializing in smart IoT solutions for industrial applications, has incorporated Semtech’s LoRa® devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology) into its industrial and smart vehicle monitoring products.

“Semtech’s LoRa Technology allows us to remotely monitor our equipment and vehicles in ways never before thought possible,” said Amol Vedak, Founder and Director at EasyReach. “LoRa provides us the means to more intelligently manage our industrial resources, and the proven, flexible capabilities of the sensors allow the solution to scale to our needs.”

EasyReach’s LoRa-enabled sensors have been developed to include electrical current testing, temperature reading and GPS capabilities. All sensors are compatible with the LoRaWAN™ protocol and have been verified for GPS tracking ability over eight kilometers line of sight. EasyReach’s LoRa-based applications for smart industry include sensors for steam traps, concrete mixers, forklifts, diesel tankers, back hoes, water meters, and trucks. EasyReach has over 600 deployments to date, saving customers money through more efficient industrial management after implementation.

“The benefits of integrating Semtech’s LoRa Technology in industrial asset management solutions go beyond simply providing location information, as supply chain and industrial management companies are looking to more efficiently monitor their equipment health and predict maintenance,” said Vivek Mohan, Director of IoT, Wireless and Sensing Products at Semtech. “LoRa Technology is the ideal choice for low power asset management as the technology enables solutions that are scalable, proven and easy to implement into existing infrastructure and equipment.”

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TSN; A Milestone for Industry

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The proven communications standard Ethernet has been optimized through the addition of quality-of-service mechanisms. Various new IEEE standards will enable Ethernet to reliably transmit several protocols (including real-time-capable ones) in parallel within predefined maximum time limits. Industrial users and car manufacturer are already getting ready to employ it.

The steel arms move perfectly in step with one another and wave their grippers at the viewer. Not even the minutest delay is noticeable when the two industrial robots perform their graceful machine ballet. This perfect coordination is due to a technology that is currently ushering in a new era of industrial communication: Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN).

For the past 40 years or so, Ethernet has been the undisputed leader when it comes to the transmission of digital data through cables. Siemens has been there from the very beginning and even launched the first Industrial Ethernet network on the market: SINEC H1. As a result, Ethernet was not only used in offices but also, in particular, in industrial manufacturing. However, the standard had a problem from the very start – it could not guarantee that the data packets transmitted by the sender would arrive at the recipient within a certain amount of time. This is an unacceptable situation for industrial controllers – after all, sensor measurements and control signals musn’t take too long to arrive at their destination if a machine is to operate reliably. They need real-time communication within milliseconds – a task for which Ethernet was not originally conceived.

An important development: In the future, everything will build on Ethernet with TSN and can be operated in parallel as required.

An important development: In the future, everything will build on Ethernet with TSN and can be operated in parallel as required. (@siemens)

That’s why users who want real-time communication via Ethernet need to employ technological extensions such as the widespread Profinet standard. In machines, for example, this standard connects sensors, actuators, and drives to the central controller by adding real-time data transfer capabilities to Ethernet, enabling applications up to and including the precise control of servo drives. “However, to do that you generally need special hardware components inside the connected devices,” explains Matthias Gärtner, Head of System Management at the Simatic Controller unit of Siemens. “Moreover, the various real-time Industrial Ethernet solutions cannot be run in parallel on the same Ethernet network.”

TSN will enable all data – including real-time information – to be transmitted through a single network in effect simultaneously.

This problem will soon be a thing of the past, because the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is responsible for standardizing various systems, has extended Ethernet by adding the urgently needed mechanisms for real-time communication. These include time-controlled transmission, synchronization, and bandwidth reservation. In this way, the IEEE is improving the quality of service by means of TSN. This will enable Ethernet to supply the same time information to all of the connected devices that support these extended standards. As a result, the entire network will be precisely synchronized. In addition, reservation protocols ensure that the data packets are transmitted from the sender to the destination via all the intervening switches according to a predefined timetable. The TSN standards also take into account the topology of the network in question – i.e. whether the network is arranged in the form of a star, a ring, or a line and the number of switches between the sender and the recipient. Moreover, the standards also include seamless redundancy processes.

Attractive for the entire industry: In addition to real time-capable communication within machines, communication between machines can now also happen in real time, improving throughput in the entire plant system.

Attractive for the entire industry: In addition to real time-capable communication within machines, communication between machines can now also happen in real time, improving throughput in the entire plant system. (@siemens)

A Single Network for All Data
“It’s a historic moment for Ethernet,” says Gärtner. “In the future, it will be possible to use standard hardware components for Profinet and other real-time industrial communication protocols that are based on TSN. This will enable all data – including real-time information – to be transmitted through a single network in effect simultaneously.” Users will automatically benefit from the steadily increasing bandwidth of standard Ethernet, which will be needed more and more as a result of the increasing IP connectivity of the automation systems. It will also make communication more robust because the switching resources in the TSN switches are firmly reserved for the requested real-time communication needs so that information can no longer be lost due to buffer overflows, for example.

In addition to a rising demand for real-time-capable communication in machines via Profinet, there is also a growing demand for deterministic (i.e. predetermined) data exchange between different machines. Examples include cooperative robots that simultaneously work on the same work piece and so need to precisely coordinate their movements with one another. The OPC UA standard with the PubSub (Publish/Subscribe) extension has now established itself in this area. It can also employ Ethernet with TSN as its transmission medium. “I expect Ethernet with TSN to be introduced into the entire industrial manufacturing process,” says Gärtner. “But that’s not all. Car manufacturer also want to use the new standard to transmit the large amounts of data from reversing cameras within vehicles, for example, or to make autonomous driving possible, which won’t be achievable without onboard networks that incorporate quality-of-service mechanisms.” The time for this has now come. The first TSN components are now being launched on the market and Siemens will use actual TSN products to demonstrate deterministic machine-to-machine communication over OPC UA PubSub at Hannover Messe 2018. These products will be purchasable at the end of the year, when Ethernet with TSN will have finally arrived in the modern world of digitalization and “Industrie 4.0”.

more info at http://www.siemens.com/tsn

 

 

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Interview about TSN: “Ideally Prepared for the Future”

 

Siemens is one of the driving forces behind the development of Ethernet with TSN. Sven Gottwald, Head of System and Vertical Management for Industrial Communication and Identification, explains how the application of the new standard benefits users.

Why is Ethernet with TSN such an important development?

Because it means that we no longer need different Industrial Ethernet solutions for deterministic communication in industry. In the future, they will all run on the widely used Ethernet with TSN and can do so in parallel without restrictions. This includes Profinet, OPC UA PubSub, and all other TCP/IP-based protocols. This convergence is a huge benefit for industrial users, because it enables all types of data to be transmitted through a single physical network in which time-sensitive information always has precedence so that it reliably arrives on time. That’s precisely what companies need in order to fully exploit the potential of digitalization and “Industrie 4.0”.

How does Ethernet with TSN regulate the “timetable” for the data?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is responsible for the standardization, provides two options for this: It’s either done by a central unit or the connected devices negotiate it among themselves. As a member of the “Labs Network Industrie 4.0” (LNI4.0) testbed, Siemens prefers the second option because the use of a central unit requires extensive reconfiguration every time a change occurs in the network. However, if the system configures itself, it’s easy to integrate new devices. That’s why we talk of “Plug & Work”-capable networks, which greatly benefit our customers.

What is Siemens doing with regard to Ethernet with TSN?

The entire automation industry is working hard on this topic of course. However, Siemens is certainly one of the leading companies in this area. We are actively involved in all of the major standardization bodies, such as the IEEE, the IEC, the OPC-F, and the PI. We also supply the editor for some of the TSN IEEE standards.

The first TSN products will start shipping before the year is out. That’s why our customers are ideally prepared for the digital future with Siemens.

 

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