Table of contents:
- The intelligence is in the drive
- Communication is very important
- Picture gallery
- Integrated into IT
- Digital twin in the cloud
Video: Intelligent, Communicative And Decentralized
Always right at the scene, intelligent and above all communicative - we are not talking about the ideal sales employee. It's more about the drive in the factory of the future. Even if leading providers agree on these three requirements, the respective concepts differ. So what exactly can the Industry 4.0 drive do?
"Industry 4.0 drives are intelligent, open in communication and programming, and above all simple in engineering," summarizes Dr. Heiner Lang, Head of BU Automation and Electrification at Bosch Rexroth.
"To answer this question, a clear idea of what the factory of the future will look like is first necessary," says Dr. Heiner Lang out. The head of the Automation & Electrification business unit at Bosch Rexroth has identified three fundamental trends: Production facilities will no longer be static, but will be mobile within the factory. Rigid lines are replaced by modules that can be quickly reconfigured to new lines. And thirdly, intelligent drives will communicate directly with IT systems in the future.
"Looking at a drive without its periphery and the overall process neither solves problems nor creates added value," says Dr. Omar Sadi, Managing Director, Nord Drivesystems Group, convinced.
Before the question of how modern drives meet the requirements of the smart factory environment, Dr. Omar Sadi, Managing Director at Nord Drivesystems, on another important point from his point of view, namely the need to rely on system solutions in drive technology, i.e. individually coordinated units made up of motor, gearbox and drive electronics. "Looking at a drive without its periphery and the overall process neither solves problems nor creates added value," Sadi is convinced.
The intelligence is in the drive
But the drive for the digital factory must be able to do more. Omar Sadi even considers intelligence to be the basic prerequisite for being able to fully digitize production: “The intelligence is located in a separate PLC in the drives at the site. This enables them to network in groups and take on control tasks independently. Self-sufficient production islands and modular plant designs that initiate process controls and can fix certain faults independently are made possible in this way”.
Dr. also believes that the drives can quickly adapt to new tasks. Heiner Lang is important. Cabinet-free drives from Rexroth already show this: "With integrated multi-axis control and innovative single-cable solutions, you reduce the cabling effort by up to ninety percent." In addition, control cabinets previously required can be partially or completely eliminated, and machine modules from manufacturers and users can be flexibly combined with one another again and again.
Communication is very important
"The fact that frequency inverters can drive a motor has almost become a minor matter these days - similar to the telephone function in a smartphone": Niels Wessel, Product Manager Process Drives, Schneider Electric.
"Today, Industry 4.0-capable drives must first and foremost be communicative, and at all levels - without barriers between the drive and higher-level processes," says Niels Wessel, Product Manager Process Drives at Schneider Electric. In this context, Wessel points out the importance of the frequency converter: "The fact that frequency converters can drive a motor has almost become a minor matter these days - similar to the telephone function in a smartphone". The frequency converters from the Altivar Process series from Schneider Electric already fulfilled all necessary requirements of modern Industry 4.0 environments in terms of programming capability and real-time requirements: Among other things, they are equipped with an integrated, platform-independent web server for monitoring and parameterization,Schneider Electric uses an integrated Ethernet interface for the exchange of information.
Siemens, on the other hand, equips its motors with sensor and connectivity modules in order to record the operating data in the form of a condition monitoring system and to securely connect it to the Siemens cloud Mindsphere. Communication skills are also very important at Rexroth. Rexroth drives already support the most common Ethernet-based fieldbus systems.
Integrated into IT
"With the ever closer merging of automation and IT world, classic PLC programming alone is no longer enough", Heiner Lang wants to add another important requirement to modern drives. "Cloud services or applications on servers, PCs and smart devices must be able to access drives directly." Here, Rexroth bridges the gap between the two worlds with Open Core Interface for Drives, because developers can access drive functions in their usual high-level language environments without writing a PLC program. Wessel also advises: "Drives should be easy to integrate into IT environments to ensure a smooth interaction between manufacturing (OT) and information technology (IT)".
Digital twin in the cloud
"With the" digital twin "of the drive system, order information, product data, documentation, service instructions, spare parts information and much more can be displayed in an app for the customer," explains Dr. Christian Mundo, Head of Digital Office, Siemens AG.
Siemens not only uses the cloud to collect the operating data of the drive, but also to save the digital twin of the drive system in Mindsphere. This means that ordering information, product data, documentation, service instructions, spare parts information and much more are presented to the customer in an app. "The centerpiece is the intelligent analysis of operating data using our know-how," explains Dr. Christian Mundo, Head of Digital Office at Siemens. Big data analytics and predictive simulation of operating behavior allow new maintenance and service offers for the customer.
With the drive, increasing performance and availability and creating new services in a digitized factory environment are the goals of all providers. The basis for this seems to have been created.