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Twins with potential

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Bausch + Ströbel plans to make engineering at least 30 percent more efficient by 2020

The digital twin has long since established itself in industry, where it’s revolutionizing processes along the entire value chain. As a virtual representation of a product, production process, or performance, it enables the individual process stages to be seamlessly linked. This creates a consistent improvement in efficiency, minimizes failure rates, shortens development cycles, and opens up new business opportunities: In other words, it creates a lasting competitive edge.

The foundations of Industry 4.0
For these very reasons, IT analysis and market research institute Gartner expects half of all major industrial companies to be using digital twins by 2021, increasing their effectiveness by ten percent (link to the whole study can be found in the related link section). To leverage the full potential of the digital twin, however, real systems in the future don’t just need to be networked with each other: They also need to develop the ability to “think” and act autonomously. Development is trending in the direction of artificial intelligence, from simple mutual perception and interaction to communication and independent optimization. This also requires integrated information systems that permit a continuous exchange of information.

Developing digital twins calls for powerful software systems that can implement them along the whole value chain – for planning and designing products, machines, and plants and operating products and production systems. This allows users to act much more flexibly and efficiently and to customize their manufacturing.

A lean team of young engineers at Electra Meccanica designed, simulated, and manufactured its new electric car in only two years, thanks to the digital twin

A lean team of young engineers at Electra Meccanica designed, simulated, and manufactured its new electric car in only two years, thanks to the digital twin (@siemens)

Overview of benefits
The digital twin of the product is created as early as the definition and design stage of a planned product. This allows engineers to simulate and validate product properties depending on the respective requirements: for example, is the product stable, and is it intuitive to use? Does the car bodywork offer the lowest possible air resistance? Do the electronics operate reliably? Whether it involves mechanics, electronics, software, or system performance, the digital twin can be used to test and optimize all of these elements in advance.
The same applies to the digital twin of production. It involves every aspect, from the machines and plant controllers to entire production lines in the virtual environment. This simulation process can be used to optimize production in advance with PLC code generation and virtual commissioning. As a result, sources of error or failure can be identified and prevented before actual operation begins. This saves time and lays the groundwork for customized mass production, because even highly complex production routes can be calculated, tested, and programmed with minimal cost and effort in a very short time.

In turn, the digital twin of performance is constantly fed with operational data from products or the production plant. This allows information like status data from machines and energy consumption data from manufacturing systems to be constantly monitored. In turn, this makes it possible to perform predictive maintenance to prevent downtime and optimize energy consumption. And some companies use data-driven services to develop new business models, as shown in the example of mechanical engineering firm Heller. At the same time, data-driven knowledge about systems like MindSphere – the open, Cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens – can be fed back into the entire value chain all the way to the product system. This generates a completely closed decision-making loop for the continuous optimization process.

Virtual commissioning saves a great deal of time for the chinese electronics company Bozhon

Virtual commissioning saves a great deal of time for the chinese electronics company Bozhon (@siemens)

Comprehensive range of products and services
The Siemens Digital Enterprise Suite offers perfectly coordinated and integrated software and automation solutions to create a comprehensive approach: A central data platform is used to digitalize industry’s entire value-added process. Intelligent industrial communication networks provide for simple data exchanges within the different production modules and collect operational data on an ongoing basis.

The Defense-in-Depth strategy from Siemens ensures that companies are positioned to deal with growing industrial security requirements, and that industrial plants are effectively protected from both internal and external attacks. Standard-compliant security mechanisms – from password protection to continuous security monitoring – provide reliable and customized protection for the digital factory.

MindSphere also serves as a platform for developing new digital business models for industrial companies, and it completes the Siemens portfolio of data-driven digital services for the industrial environment. It offers state-of-the-art security functions for data acquisition in the field and for transferring and storing this data in the cloud.

Initial achievements
With the Siemens Digital Enterprise Suite, customers can begin investing today in future-proof solutions for the step-by-step implementation of Industrie 4.0. For example, special-purpose machine manufacturer Bausch + Ströbel uses digitalization as a key to consistency in its engineering. The company is expecting an increase in efficiency of at least 30 percent by 2020 thanks to the time saved during engineering alone.

Likewise, Schunk – the world market leader in clamping technology and gripping systems – is already using digitalization solutions for its electrically controlled gripping system components. This new engineering process will lead to significantly shorter project timelines, faster commissioning, and a substantial increase in efficiency when building similar plants.

Bausch + Ströbel plans to make engineering at least 30 percent more efficient by 2020

Bausch + Ströbel plans to make engineering at least 30 percent more efficient by 2020 (@siemens)

On every level
Networking machines with each other and with higher-level systems enables resources and production data to be centrally managed. This ensures cost benefits in procurement and operation, – meaning that order data is available throughout the entire company, and it’s possible to identify optimal strategies for allocating orders to the various production sites within the organization. In addition, material stock, logistics processes, and tool availability can be seen at a glance and efficiently coordinated.

Thanks to improved documentation of manufacturing processes and production parameters, the potential offered by the digital twin in the area of quality management is just as exciting. If manufacturers know exactly what component has been installed, with what features, in what products, and how it was installed, they can provide a targeted response to potential problems and optimize their processes. In its Simatic production facility in Amberg, Germany, Siemens is already using a comprehensive documentation and evaluation system and has achieved an extremely low error rate in production.

And in the process industry, too, the digital twin is ensuring greater efficiency and productivity: With the step from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations, Siemens enables companies in the process industry to build a comprehensive data model from plant engineering to operation. In this field as well, digitalization ensures a shorter time to market, greater flexibility, and increased efficiency. This gives companies the opportunity to respond successfully to the volatility and diversity of global markets and to increase their productivity as well as energy and resource efficiency.

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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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