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Getting machines and systems ready for Industry 4.0

07 April 2017

Eaton has published a whitepaper entitled: ‘Preparing machines and systems for connection to the Internet of Things (IoT).’

The paper describes the basic points of Industry 4.0 architecture, such as horizontal and vertical integration, cyber physical systems and smart devices in simple terms. 

The benefits and challenges for machine builders and systems integrators are discussed, while practical recommendations are provided to materialise the advantages of the new digital age. For instance, how control systems could be realised in a modular and decentralised way, rather than the historical centralised control system approach. This enables function blocks to be re-used, which facilitates and shortens engineering cycles. 

The white paper also explains how components can be deployed as smart devices and enabled to autonomously control function blocks within a machine based on the environmental data available. By using protocols such as OPC-UA, machines can be easily equipped with new standardised communication features. As a result, machine builders will be able to make their systems IoT-ready, enabling end users to integrate them into their digital factories of the future.

“The Industry 4.0 concept does far more than just increase productivity and efficiency, integrating Cyber Physical Systems into the Internet of Things opens up even greater possibilities,” said Chris Pack, Field Product Manager, Eaton. “Collected data could be supplied to the machine builder to allow monitoring of the machine’s operation and introduce predictive maintenance measures, increasing the machine’s availability. The manufacturer can also see how the machines are being used and recommend optimisations or further improvements.” 

Real-world examples are provided that show how easily these concepts can be integrated together. For instance, the white paper reveals how, by using Eaton’s intelligent wiring system SmartWire-DT together with the PKE electronic motor-protective circuit breaker or the DE1 variable speed starter, it’s possible to easily retrieve process data and provide it to an external resource for mobile visualisation or deep-dive analysis.

In the white paper three IoT examples are provided, including one project that highlights how even hydraulic power units can become part of a digital solution. With its years of experience in both the electrical and hydraulic industry, Eaton can not only provide the components but also demonstrate how the combination of these products into smart devices is vital, particularly in Industry 4.0 scenarios; and has the potential to save a huge amount of energy.

Eaton has set itself the objective to provide the mechanical engineering sector with solutions that can be integrated easily to make machines IoT-ready. The power management company is developing components, systems and services for this to enable all OEMs to implement the basic principles of Industry 4.0 in their products, regardless of whether they are small, compact machines or complex, large scale systems.

The whitepaper is free to download here.


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