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Assembly tool tracking for Industry 4.0

22 March 2015

National instruments (NI) has joined with Bosch, Cisco, and Tech Mahindra to create the first Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) testbed, known internationally as the 'Track and Trace' project.

Assembly of wing sections at Airbus' Nantes facility

The project supports various industries — from manufacturing to aerospace and beyond — by managing devices, controlling quality, and ensuring safety and accuracy. The project also fosters a digitally connected technology experience, making reality the concept that just about anything from man to machine can be connected.

Bosch approached NI to support building connected smart tools that guaranteed accuracy for Industry 4.0. NI subsequently used its integrated hardware and software platform to connect tools and help them communicate with each other.

Built on an open standard, the IIC testbed technology can be used universally to find valuable information in the data collected from connected tools, including identifying and fixing discrepancies, or to ensure worker safety by providing resource maintenance.

The Track and Trace project also makes it possible to automate a number of routine tasks, such as the replacement of wear parts on power tools after a specified number of rotations or hours of operation. 

NI joined the IIC in August 2014, and has since collaborated on a variety of technology testbeds.

Over the two-year Track and Trace project, four Industrial Internet Consortium members will be lending their expertise to the testbed. Bosch is supplying the necessary software; Cisco is taking care of the precision location identification feature; National Instruments will interconnect the power tools; and TechMahindra is responsible for the application programming.

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