Hardware : Data & Analytics : Industrial Communication
Balluff is a medium-sized company. Family-run for four generations, it was founded in Neuhausen on the Filder near Stuttgart and has grown into a world-oriented, leading global player. It is a sensor and automation specialist with tradition and customer relationships established over years, which acts simultaneously as an important partner in innovations and as a pacesetter for its customers. With smart solutions from Balluff you lay the foundation for the factory of the future. Balluff helps you implement intelligent production – smart manufacturing – step by step, and accompanies you professionally into this digital world.The basis for the factory of the future is smart communication, which transmits data from machines and the production line and makes it available wherever you need it, including at central locations for further processing. The resulting information can be used to monitor sensor, machine, and system performance and identify approaching failures before they arrive, at all production levels and even across plants via the cloud. This enables increased flexibility, high efficiency and improved productivity.
The Power of Predictive Maintenance
“Getting to the level of predictive maintenance is an evolutionary process for manufacturers, regardless of their specialty,” notes Will Healy III, global business strategy manager at Balluff Inc. “Right now, there is great interest in retrofitting equipment with sensors to perform condition monitoring as a means to implement predictive maintenance. The next step is using equipment with integrated smart sensors and artificial intelligence. These technologies also enable prescriptive maintenance, which uses machine learning to help companies specifically adjust their operating conditions for desired production outcomes.”
One of the first robotic predictive maintenance applications of the IIoT occurred several years ago in the auto industry when General Motors teamed up with Cisco and FANUC America Corp. to launch a zero downtime program. Called ZDT, the predictive analytics service identifies potential failures so engineers and plant managers can schedule maintenance and repairs. This prevents unexpected breakdowns during production, thereby saving manufacturers time and money. According to Tuohy, the ZDT program has proven to be quite successful over the last several years. He says that about 30,000 robots worldwide are connected to the system.
Error-Free Assembly of Medical Components
A SUV and a medical device used in a lab aren’t very similar in their looks, but when it comes to manufacturing them, they have a lot in common. For both, factory automation is used to increase production volume while also making sure that production steps are completed precisely. Read on to learn about some ways that sensors are used in life science manufacturing.
Sensor Fusion: The Swiss Army Knife of Digitalization
With the proper communication protocols and network architecture in place, smart sensor technology and the data it provides can be the bulwark on which digital transformation is built.
If industrial control systems are the brains of a plant, then sensors are its eyes and ears. Simply put, without sensors there would be nothing for SCADA, DCS, or PLCs to respond to. That’s why increasingly intelligent or ‘smart’ sensors packing more onboard processing power, the ability to monitor new variables, and digital communication capabilities are playing such an important role in helping plant operators and enterprise level planners alike to see better and respond to problems with more finesse.