Microprocessor-aided technologies are taking over manufacturing worldwide, and melding formerly separate operations for greater optimization, efficiency and savings. This is the integrated, networked and digital heart of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0, and it was visible everywhere at Hannover Fair 2015 on April 13-17.
"Hannover Messe 2015 has made it unmistakably clear—Industry 4.0 has arrived, and is sweeping every sector of industry," says Jochen Köckler, member of fair organizer Deutsche Messe's managing board. "Digital integration is becoming a key aspect of modern manufacturing, and this trend is set to continue at a rapid pace."
For instance, Rittal International GmbH & Co. demonstrated how its four main divisions cooperate to help users develop their Industry 4.0 projects. First, ePlan's software-based design environment allows them to develop innovative solutions, and then Rittal provides enclosure systems and IT infrastructures, which can be customized by Kiesling's Perforex and other automated panel fabrication and wiring machines. Second, these three areas are overseen by Cideon, which integrates ePlan with SAP software.
One of Rittal's internal Industry 4.0 projects is the evolution of its Blue e+ cooling panels, which not only use a separate cooling circuit and heat pipe to save 75% on energy, but also have resistive-touch interfaces and multi-voltage inverters—so they can even take in ambient temperature data to actively readjust themselves, and maintain 0.2 °C accuracy. "A lot more intelligence and adaptivity is going into our individual components to enable predictive maintenance, smarter factories and other Industry 4.0 initiatives," says Anthony Varga, Rittal's senior vice president of North American sales. "We're a lot more than the box builders that people thought we were."
Some other Industry 4.0 and process-related solutions at Hannover Fair 2015 included:
- Harting Integrated Industry 4 You (HAII4You) machine, which combines several technologies to produce customized and engraved Han-Modular connectors live at Harting's booth.
- Expanded range of Altivar Process drives from Schneider Electric, which includes Internet-connected solutions that can communicate real-time data for energy-intensive applications in oil and gas, mining, and minerals and metals processing.
- Proline F200 two-wire, Coriolis mass flowmeters from Endress+Hauser, which can now measure flowrates for nominal widths up to DN 80. They're joined by Prowirl 200 vortex sensors that offers wet-steam measurement and steam-mass compensation, and Liquiphant FTL31/FTL33 vibronic level sensors, which have been revised to be smaller, safer and easier to use.
- TME, TE, TMU and TMR Coriolis mass flowmeters from Heinrichs Messtechnik GmbH, which is part of the Kobold Group, and feature high accuracy, cavity-free construction, very-low to very-high flows, comparable performance to single and double straight-tube construction, and several available communication protocols. They can accurately handle very thick fluids up to 30,000 cST.
- e!Cockpit integrated engineering software platform from Wago, which enables users to design solutions, configure components, program in CoDeSys 3 developent environment, visualize operating interfaces, and diagnose their systems.
- PSRmini 6-mm and 12-mm safety relays from Phoenix Contact, which have force-guided contacts and switching capacity up to 6 Amps.