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Contrinex Cubic C23 700 Series inductives speed up robots and indexing table

Automated assembly systems are increasingly used for high volume assembly operations because of their ability to remove labour and also eliminate the potential of assembly errors. Rugged inductive sensors from Contrinex, available from PLUS Automation,  help provide fault-free assembly and minimise downtime by reliable detecting the presence and position of equipment or components, ensuring that parts are correctly aligned and ready for the next operation. In addition to providing accurate, reliably and fast switching the sensors also provide an IO-Link interface which offers the advantages of digital communication without the need for special cabling.

Customer Application

Automated systems are used to improve the efficiency and reliability of assembly operations and often enable the elimination of assembly faults. Whilst the repetitive assembly tasks are ideally suited to be done by robots, a common bottleneck in production is that these robots can be too slow at picking and placing the assembled parts and therefore in this application a rotary indexing table is used to move the assemblies between the robots.

The rotary indexing table speeds up the transfer of PCBs between assembly robots and also on and off conveyors, increasing the production throughput and reducing the number of assembly robots required – Sensors are used to automate these processes and these sensors must be able to operate continuously at high speed, performing tasks including: presence detection to initiate the cassette-change cycle in a stack feeder; position control for a rotary indexing table; pick-and-place gripper control; and presence monitoring on a conveyor system.

Solution

Stack-feeders deliver base plates, electrical printed circuit boards and other planar components to the assembly lines. In each stack-feeder, a vertical cassette holds as many as 50 individual parts and a single inductive sensor monitors the status of each cassette. Once the final part is discharged from the stack, the cassette moves to its end position, triggering the sensor and initiating the cassette-change cycle.

Contrinex C23 embeddable inductive sensors, featuring a one-piece stainless-steel housing, are both robust and highly reliable. A 7mm sensing distance allows ample operating clearance, minimising the risk of mechanical collision. Their implementation into the assembly equipment is made easier by the choice of industry-standard PNP or NPN outputs with either a PUR cable or an M8 pigtail connector. Additionally, IO-Link, a standardised point-to-point serial connection protocol for sensors and actuators, is provided at no additional cost, offering the advantages of digital communication without the need for special cabling, making them ideal for Industry 4 applications.

Designed for demanding applications, Contrinex’s rugged C23 inductive sensors offer best-in-class switching frequency of 180Hz and exceptional robustness including impact and abrasion resistance, making them a versatile, cost-effective and highly reliable solution. These uniquely robust sensors are typically demonstrated by Contrinex as being able to repeatedly being used to hammer in nails. Even when their front face is dented, the sensor continues to operate correctly.

Conveyors deliver a continuous stream of parts to the rotary indexing table, which transports them in sequence to each assembly station. As the table rotates, sensors located at precise intervals around its periphery detect its exact angular position, bringing it to a halt once parts are correctly positioned for the next operation.

At each assembly station, automated pick-and-place equipment adds components to the assembly. Dedicated transport mechanisms – including vacuum lifters, electromagnetic clamps and mechanical grippers – insert items swiftly and accurately in their designated positions. Embeddable inductive sensors play a key role in confirming the secure closure of custom-designed grippers before fragile, high-value parts are lifted.

Manufactured in V4A/ AISI 316L stainless steel and rated to IP68/ IP69K, these small inductive sensors can be fully embedded into a steel surface such as part of the rotary table or an assembly jig or bench, further reducing the potential for mechanical damage.
On completion of the final assembly stage, finished PCBs are discharged to a linear conveyor system. They travel to subsequent processing stages, including testing and packing. C23 Full stainless steel sensors mounted directly above these conveyors, detect each unit as it passes below. This check not only confirms the presence of the assembled item at the expected height above the conveyor but also measures throughput by activating a counting circuit in the customer’s control system.

Continuous operation is the norm in automated assembly plants. However, minor adjustments or tool changes may be required from time to time. In non-safety-critical areas, access hatches allow maintenance technicians to carry out these tasks without needing to interrupt production across an entire plant. Multiple sensors, mounted at intervals around the periphery of a hatch, ensure that appropriate warning signals are activated whenever the opening is not fully secured.

Highest Resolution Midwave Camera

ImageIR® 10300 – Over 2.9 Mpixels

With the ImageIR® 10300, users from industry and science for the first time can use a radiometric infrared camera whose cooled photon detector permits images in the format (1,920 × 1,536) IR pixels.

  • Full HD resolution of about 3 Megapixels
  • Pixel pitch of 10 µm
  • Thermal resolution better than 0.03 K
  • Measurement accuracy ± 1 °C or ± 1 %
  • High-speed recording with previously unknown image quality

With its detector format of (1,920×1,536) IR pixels the ImageIR® 10300 sets new standards in geometric resolution worldwide and creates thermograms with an unprecedented image detail and sharpness. For the first time an infrared camera for civil use with a cooled photon detector permits full HD images. In combination with the small pitch dimension of 10µm, this ensures that measurement, inspection and surveillance tasks can be solved even more efficiently than before. Everywhere such very fine structures need to be analysed on large-surface measurement objects, for example, users save time, effort and thus costs.

Despite the detector format of about 3 Megapixels, the transfer of full frame images achieves a rate up to 100Hz. Thanks to the 10GigE interface of the ImageIR® 10300 users can store large amounts of measurement data on a computer in the shortest amount of time. The interface is a part of the modular design of the entire high-end camera series ImageIR®. Individual adjustments like retrofitting a remotely controllable filter and aperture wheel or a motor focus unit can easily be realised. A broad variety of infrared lenses with highest optical performance parameters provides the camera’s outstanding thermal sensitivity.

Read the full article here

Contact Shayz Ikram, email shayz@qd-uki.co.uk to discuss your application

Quantum Design represent InfraTec in the UK and Ireland.

Visit us at www.qd-uki.co.uk

Theta-SE Ellipsometer for Semiconductors

Since the 1960s, as ellipsometry developed to provide the sensitivity necessary to measure nanometre-scale layers used in microelectronics, interest in ellipsometry has grown steadily. Today, the range of its applications has spread to the basic research in physical sciences, semiconductor and data storage solutions, flat panel display, communication, biosensor, and optical coating industries. Here Quantum Design UK & Ireland takes a look specifically at the J A Woollam thetaSE ellipsometer and its uses for the semiconductor industry.

The theta-SE is a push-button spectroscopic ellipsometer for characterising thin film uniformity. It features advanced ellipsometry instrumentation in a compact package at an affordable price.

Results at Wavelengths of Interest for a Desired Application

For many applications, optical properties are desired at specific wavelengths. For example, the semiconductor industry is interested in lithography which requires ellipsometry measurements in the UV region (157nm, 193nm, 248nm,…). The display industry is interested in the visible spectrum. Optical coatings require measurement at their design wavelengths, whether at visible, near infrared or even mid-infrared wavelengths. Woollam Spectroscopic Ellipsometers cover the spectral range from 33 microns to 140nm. This range offers an incredible flexibility that can meet almost any application requirement.

Semiconductor Industry

  • Dielectrics (oxides, nitrides, carbides)
  • Polymers (Low-Dielectric constant)
  • Polysilicon
  • Multilayers (ONOPO, SOI,…)
  • Lithography Applications
  • Photoresists
  • Antireflective coatings
  • Photomasks
  • Compound Semiconductors

Find out more about why you should choose a Theta-SE plus read some of the latest Semiconductor publication papers here

Contact Shayz Ikram, email shayz@qd-uki.co.uk to discuss your application

Quantum Design represent J A Woollam in the UK and Ireland.

Visit us at www.qd-uki.co.uk

 

All-in-one solutions help deliver ongoing operational efficiency

It goes without saying that when you buy industrial monitoring and control systems, you want them to last. However, it is often the case that when systems are purchased from third-party sellers, the relationship ends at the point of sale and ongoing support is minimal at best. Here Gary Bradshaw, director at remote monitoring specialist Omniflex, explores how buying whole solutions directly from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) protects investments by providing fully integrated solutions and reliable ongoing support.

Whether it be something like fire alarms and automatic door locks in a prison, or radiation monitors and local alarm annunciators in a nuclear power plant, integrating systems seems like a common sense approach to improving operational efficiency across a facility.

However, facilities managers often face a dilemma when it comes to purchasing monitoring and control systems — should they purchase all-in-one solutions directly from OEMs or should they buy different parts of the system individually from different suppliers?

Benefits of an all-in-one solution

Buying whole systems directly from the people that made them ensures that each part of the system works seamlessly with the rest. This means you do not need to worry about things like how your local alarm annunciators will interact with your top end supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system or if the annunciator in question is even compatible with your network infrastructure. Even questions like are you better off connecting your equipment over a cable network or a wireless one can be easily answered by opting for a fully integrated all-in-one solution.

This could be a case of installing all local area alarm annunciators and connecting them to the top end SCADA system using an industrial network. Then providing the top end monitoring system which can be used to consolidate all building systems into one easy-to-use interface. This can be used to monitor all incoming data across the facility, as well as produce reports including data trends and statistical analysis.

Ultimately, there are several key benefits for businesses that implement all-in-one solutions like this to handle all their networking, data capture and top end analysis needs. Crucially, it drastically lowers project costs and reduces any operational disruptions associated with implementing the solution compared to a traditional approach, where you would have different companies providing different parts of a solution. Furthermore, it is often the case that the ongoing support provided by OEMs is better than that provided by third-party sellers.

Protecting your investment

I regularly hear stories from people who have bought systems from third parties and found that they are unable, or unwilling, to provide the support needed to fix any issues that occur. This is rarely the case when buying from OEMs, who tend to take pride in ensuring that their systems do not let you down, often going the extra mile to get you back up and running if problems arise.

Furthermore, when dealing with OEMs, you can pick up the phone and speak directly to engineers with an intimate knowledge of your systems — in many cases this might even be the same engineers who put your systems together in the first place. The level of service this allows cannot be matched when dealing with third-party sellers who, despite any technical expertise they might have, simply won’t know your systems as well as the people who made them.

This is equally true when it comes to software support. In the event of a software bug, the people most likely to identify and fix the problem are the ones that wrote the software. This means that any problems that arise with your systems have the best possible chance of being fixed quickly and thoroughly to get you back up and running as soon as possible.

Ultimately, buying directly from OEMs helps to protect your investment by helping to keep you operational for longer and minimising any costly downtime.

Pharma’s future is at the edge

According to ABI Research, pharmaceutical manufacturers will spend USD 1.2 billion on data analytics by 2030. The industry is accustomed to one way of operating — large batch size production. As pharmaceutical production moves to a more personalised approach, manufacturers may struggle to keep pace and remain agile. How can the industry catch up? Here Johan Jonzon, CMO and Co-Founder of pioneer in edge analytics and intelligent workflows Crosser, shares insight into how edge analytics can optimise processes in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Unlike pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities of the past, which often focused on producing just a handful of medicines — typically of the same form, such as tablets, liquid medicines, or vaccines — today’s manufacturing lines are expected to adapt for multiple different products. This expands to accommodating the manufacture of personalised medicines and small batches, which can be challenging for pharma manufacturers who are accustomed to large scale manufacturing for a limited number of products.

Making pharma flexible

Personalised medicine moves away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to creating products that are tailored to a patient’s personal condition. Using genetic or other biomarker information to tailor medical treatments to the individual characteristics of each patient, offers the potential to treat previously incurable diseases, and the method is becoming increasingly favoured across the industry.

However, the manufacturing of personalised medications isn’t without its challenges. Working with smaller companies to develop smaller batches of product brings added pressure for pharmaceutical manufacturers, such as reduced time-to-market if the medicine is in sudden high demand. The development of COVID-19 vaccines is a pertinent example of this need for agility, as production adapts to a fast, urgent influx of new medicines. To keep up with demand, pharmaceutical facilities need to adapt to a new way of operating.

This might sound like it requires more equipment to handle increasingly complex methods of production, but instead manufacturers must consider investing in a good data management strategy.

Pharma at the edge

No matter what kind of product it’s producing, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant produces a lot of data. To put the volume of this data into perspective, the average clinical researcher at a pharmaceutical company can generate tens of terabytes (TB) of data per day through scientific experiments. This translates to the equivalent of 1 million phone books worth of data. And that’s just a clinical researcher — it does not account for the data produced elsewhere, such as in the production, dispensing or packaging of medication.

The rapid deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) across the manufacturing spectrum means that sensors are being placed at virtually every touch point of a production line. These sensors record an abundance of data; but, making this data available and meaningful to operators in real-time is key to achieving agile production. This is only possible if the data is processed close to its source — on the shop floor at machine level.

There are additional struggles manufacturers must battle too. Security and data privacy are major concerns for the industry, especially when dealing with data such as personalised medication. Processing data locally, however, is often more secure than transferring it to the Cloud.

In 2020, pharma giant Pfizer suffered a data breach when patient information was exposed on unsecured Cloud storage. In fact, between 2018 and 2020, over 30 million patient records were exposed because of Cloud misconfigurations, costing organisations an estimated $5 trillion.

While cyber hacking is a severe issue — one that’s proving difficult to overcome — edge analytics can make data interference more challenging for hackers. Processing at the edge limits the frequency at which data is transferred between its source and the data center, which reduces the risk of data breaches.

What’s more, processing data at the edge significantly reduces operational costs. Instead, by processing close to the source, manufacturers can condense the quantity of data that would originally be sent to the Cloud by more than 98 per cent. This reduces bandwidth and Cloud service costs, while promoting faster and more efficient data collection.

Faster, simpler, smarter

In addition to processing data at the edge, making it available in almost real-time, pharmaceutical manufacturers must also make their data infrastructure simpler. From laboratory information systems (LIMS) to enterprise resource planning (ERP), to inventory management systems, pharmaceutical companies use many types of software and on top of that, it’s not uncommon to have different vendors and generations of software in different divisions, sites or even countries.

Each system is capable of taking care of its own tasks, but a further challenge arises when there are processes that span across different systems. This is often the source of many manual steps that result in significant time-delays and high costs, and there’s a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage if all these processes are transformed into fully digital workflows.

Previously, workflows were designed to extract, transform and load data in batch and move it between different systems. Workflows and automations had to be implemented in the system endpoints, which slowed the pace of development and any changes required the assistance of specialised developers for each system. Organising data from multiple sources was often costly, painful and time consuming.

That’s why Crosser developed Intelligent Process Automation (IPA). The first hyperautomation solution that brings intelligent workflows to industrial and asset rich organisations, like pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, IPA is a hybrid solution that can run at the edge, on-premise in a private Cloud, or in one run by Crosser. Supporting over 700 systems, users can connect any type of data management tool to an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop workflow to build workflows faster than ever before. All data types, whether they’re from legacy systems, Cloud applications or machine data, can be collected and used to implement process automation across an entire plant.

The pharmaceutical industry is transforming rapidly. We only have to look at the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to understand the need to have multiple, flexible ways of operating. However, if industry is to replicate this need for speed in the future, and move towards more agile methods of production, it needs to handle all areas of productivity more flexibly. Handling data at the edge is an important starting point, but manufacturers must also consider how they build workflows that give complete visibility to all areas of production, from laboratory development all the way to the top floor.

ABB global market leadership in Distributed Control Systems confirmed for 22nd consecutive year

Since its introduction more than four decades ago, the distributed control system (DCS) – a digital platform for automated control and operation of plants and processes – has been at the core of process and energy industries. As the digital transformation of industry accelerates, the DCS continues to be key to ensuring safe, efficient and reliable operations, enabling the collection and analytics of valuable data for realtime insights.

Recognised as one of the industry’s most authoritative sources, the DCS market analysis and forecast report by ARC Advisory Group has been published annually for the past 40 years, with ABB consistently in the lead for more than half that time. The report lists the top DCS players, providing an overview of key trends, the progress of the DCS over the past year within regional and industry contexts, potential market impacts and the expected DCS trajectory over a five year period.

“ABB leads the field in DCS thanks to its domain knowledge in multiple industries, extensive service network, a continued investment in developing technology, loyal customers and digital solutions that meet rapidly changing customer requirements,” said Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, ABB Process Automation. “Much of our development is focused on advancing technology such as modular automation, select I/O and secure Edge integrated solutions which address new process and business challenges while protecting investments. We believe these type of solutions to be some of the catalysts needed for the successful implementation of industrial IoT and agile navigation within Industry 4.0.”

“Our industry-leading technology integrates the automation of the power and process side of operations – two traditionally separate domains,” said Peter Terwiesch, President, ABB Process Automation. “The industries that we serve require reliable power, while working on improving the sustainability of their operations. Integration of power and process automation enables a higher share of inherently more volatile renewable sources in their energy mix – without compromising reliability.”

The recent launch of the latest version of ABB Ability System 800xA represents an evolution for automated control and plant operations of tomorrow. It is a process control system, an electrical control system and a safety system and a collaboration enabler, allowing further improvement of engineering efficiency, operator performance and asset utilisation. In addition, ABB Ability Symphony Plus, is an industry leading DCS in the power, water and waste water markets and ABB’s Freelance offering is a DCS tailor-made for hybrid markets.

ARC’s report also highlights ABB Ability, ABB’s unified, cross-industry portfolio of digital solutions, which includes more than 170 Industrial Internet solutions and an Industrial Internet technology platform and cloud infrastructure. Drawing on insights across over 20 industries and more than 40 years of experience in digital technology, ABB Ability helps customers to develop new processes and advance existing ones by providing insights and optimising planning and controls for real-time operations. These insights can then be fed into control systems like ABB Ability System 800xA and ABB Ability Symphony Plus to improve key performance metrics of plants and assets. With an installed base of 35,000 DCS systems across more than 100 countries ABB is a trusted leader in creating digital solutions for customers in the industrial space.

Highest ranking for HENSOLDT‘s employee health management

The sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT offers its employees exemplary health promotion services. This is confirmed by the “Corporate Health Award” 2021, which has been published by the Handelsblatt Media Group together with the EUPD market research and certification institute since 2009. HENSOLDT won first place with its corporate health management programme in the electrical engineering sector. A total of 354 companies from 17 industries were evaluated.

HENSOLDT Chief Human Resources Officer Peter Fieser and the Health Manager, Vanessa Woidtke, in the company’s own fitness studio. Photo: HENSOLDT

The evaluation was based on an audit by an external auditor, in which all processes, offers and topic areas of the HENSOLDT health management were reviewed. This included the work of the company doctor, a company social counselling service, occupational health and safety as well as a variety of preventive health measures for employees.

“The measures around the health and safety of our employees extend well beyond the legal framework at our company,” said HENSOLDT Chief Human Resources Officer Peter Fieser. “A particular focus is on supporting employees with targeted health and prevention programmes that address both the work environment and their own behaviour. Attractive offers create additional incentives.”

“Diverse health promotion and prevention programmes based on regular, targeted surveys and continuous evaluation guarantee the well-being of HENSOLDT employees. Even the special challenges of the pandemic were successfully mastered through this,” Steffen Klink, Director Corporate Health Department at EUPD Research, attested to the sensor specialist.

The “Corporate Health Award” is considered the most renowned award in Germany for excellent health management. Following an online qualification, the applicants receive their own Germany benchmark in an industry comparison. Companies with more than 50% target achievement in the underlying Corporate Health Evaluation Standard are given the opportunity to have their result verified by an audit. From the “Corporate Health Companies” thus verified, the independent expert advisory board decides on the winners of the award each year. More information: www.corporate-health-award.de

HORIBA wins key industry award for excellence in electronic systems manufacturing

HORIBA UK announces that it has won the TechWorks 2021 Award for ‘Manufacturing Site of the Year’. This is in recognition of significant business improvements achieved thanks to the contributions made by all of its 180 employees at its Northampton based site, where it manufactures analytical and measurement instruments for multiple markets. Employee driven continuous improvements have enabled the Company to adapt and grow to better meet both its customer and employee needs, even during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

From the left: Kevin Robinson (YieldHub), Jonathan Mitchell (HORIBA UK), Richard Carter (HORIBA UK), Cleve Wright (HORIBA UK), Louise Allen (HORIBA UK),Ifigenia Balkoura (HORIBA UK), Piers Linney (Guest speaker) and Alan Banks (Techworks CEO)

The annual TechWorks Awards mark excellence in the technology industry that is driving the ‘Deep Tech’ economy of engineering and innovation, a strategic part of the UK’s future. HORIBA UK is contributing to this from its Northampton site, which is a centre for electronics system design and manufacture where customised solutions are developed and delivered. HORIBA’s Northampton site also provides an extensive array of instruments and systems for numerous applications ranging from automotive R&D, process and environmental monitoring, medical diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing, to scientific R&D and QC measurements. It is this diversity in technology and customer support that make HORIBA UK a true solutions provider and enable its customers to improve their processes and push the boundaries in scientific research.

Through its internal employee driven ‘BlackJack’ Continuous Improvement Programme and extensive training programmes, HORIBA has been able to excel in an ever-changing business environment. The BlackJack Programme has generated significant improvements in operations resulting in reductions in waste and improved process efficiencies, while also boosting employee involvement throughout the Company.

Central to the success of the programme is the collaborative working of employees across HORIBA’s industry sectors, where all are encouraged to propose ideas for improvement projects, whether large or small scale, through a simple ‘Ideas Collector’ online portal. Nearly 70% of employees are now actively engaged in this process.

One such project was initiated by the idea of a design engineering employee who identified an opportunity to improve the material creation process in order to reduce internal costs and prevent delays for customers. By creating a team for this project from across the company, a six Sigma methodology plan was developed to collaboratively map, understand and solve the problem. This ultimately resulted in significant cost reduction and enhanced customer relations.

Receiving the award at the annual TechWorks Awards ceremony, Richard Carter, Director for Automotive at HORIBA UK, said, “I am so proud to accept this award on behalf of all of our HORIBA UK employees for the business improvements they have delivered at our Northampton manufacturing site. It is a testament to their dedication to drive positive change and the vital role that they played in achieving the results. This has enabled us to trade profitably and maintain our headcount, even in the face of the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID pandemic.”

“HORIBA’s focus on positivity and support for all employees has created a culture of continuous improvement for the benefit of all, to make us a great manufacturing company that constantly enhances both our products and our customer experience. We continue to build on our successes and work with our customers to enable them to be more successful,” Richard added.

The TechWorks awards celebrate the achievements and behaviours conducive to a healthy and vibrant tech industry in the UK. Open to all organisations active within the tech industry, there are award categories for a wide range of sectors. 2021 saw a high number of strong entries from across industry, which were carefully considered by an expert panel of judges to create a final shortlist per award category. The award winners represent true diversity across the industry, ranging from smaller companies to global corporations.

AIoT and edge analytics: a powerful combination

Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom once said, “machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make”. Artificial intelligence (AI) decision making, paired with real time communication and data analytics, has the ability to transform the way manufacturers understand their machines. Here Johan Jonzon, CMO and Co-Founder of pioneer in edge analytics for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Crosser, explains how combining AI with the IoT can unlock the next generation of manufacturing.

The IoT and AI are separate technology trends that are both making waves in industry. But, when combined, their benefits are magnified. The IoT can connect devices together, giving and receiving signals like a nervous system. In contrast, AI can act as a brain, receiving data, processing it and using it to make informed decisions that control the overall system.

When joined together, the two are capable of delivering intelligent, connecting systems that can self-correct and self-heal themselves — forming the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT). According to Research and Markets, the global AIoT market is expected to reach over 65 billion US dollars by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 40 per cent.

Take action

To appreciate the capabilities of AIoT, it’s helpful to reflect on the impact IoT has already made on industry. With IoT technologies such as cloud computing and storage, as well as enhanced connectivity and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, manufacturers have been able to complete three key tasks: connect machines, store data and make it meaningful. Now, as we introduce AIoT, they can benefit from a fourth capability — to act.

Now, manufacturers can be presented with more than just facts. Instead of only learning about how their equipment is performing, and needing to the make their own decisions on how to act upon these findings, AI is closing the loop by automatically taking action.

However, to make AIoT feasible, manufacturers need a data management system that can support fast decision making. While cloud storage is a viable option, analysing data closer to its source — at the edge — will take AIoT to the next level.

Enter the edge

In many cases of AI integration, activities need to occur locally to act fast. For example, if the AI system receives an alert that there is a machine fault, the AI system may make the decision to stop the machine to avoid product damage. By integrating the AI system at the edge, instead of the cloud, latency issues can be avoided, meaning the machine is switched off much quicker and fewer products are damaged.

The same is applicable for process optimisation activities, such as changing the speed or type of movement of a machine. An AI system at the edge can send instructions to equipment to improve its performance faster than from the cloud.

An additional benefit of integrating AI and processing data at the edge is increased security. Cloud computing can present a number of security issues, as the data is stored by a third-party provider away from the company’s premises, and is accessible over the Internet. Edge computing can work as a complement to overcome these security concerns by filtering out sensitive information at the source and storing it on-premise, so there is less transfer of confidential material to the cloud.

Another use case where it is advantageous to integrate AIoT at the edge is when visual inspection systems are involved. Cameras and sensors create massive amounts of data, and therefore it makes better sense to analyse and filter this data at the edge, instead of sending it all to the cloud or large centralised system.

In addition, facilities often have a high number of mobile devices connected to the AIoT, and are therefore handling a huge amount of data. Sending all of this data to the cloud may not be possible, so it’s better to conduct the analysis at the edge. Edge analytics can extract the higher-value features from the raw data, sending only the important and necessary information to the cloud, such as remaining machine lifetime, for example.

Integrating the AIoT

In order to integrate AIoT at the edge, industry leaders must first build an AI model offline. They must then train the model by using previously stored datasets to improve it and ensure it meets expectations and requirements. Once happy with the model, industry leaders can execute it by exporting and applying it online with new live data.

However, applying the model to real time data in an online scenario is very different to testing it on stored data that has already been sorted in the training stage. Real time data hasn’t been filtered or categorised, and each set can be arriving at different times, creating a chaos of information for the AIoT.

Therefore, something needs to be done to the data before it can be used by the AIoT ― that’s also where edge analytics comes in. The Crosser Platform can help prepare the data in a number of ways before it reaches the AIoT. For example, it can harmonise data that is in different formats as it has travelled in from multiple sources.

Data that is coming in at different times can be aligned by the platform on regular time boundaries. In addition, if the data sources have different sampling rates, then the platform can fill in intermediate values so that the models can be updated with new data from all the sensors in each update. It can also create different types of windows over time series data.

The platform can also be used for feature extraction. Depending on the model being used, additional features may need to be created out of the raw data. This could be, for example, taking vibration data and converting it from the time domain into the frequency domain. All of these steps streamline the data before it reaches the AIoT.

It’s true that machine intelligence holds great power, but other supporting technologies can help uncover its full potential. Industry leaders who integrate the AIoT at the edge can reap the benefits of an efficient and reactive control system ― optimising processes, fast.

Powelectrics releases a brand new brochure on its IIoT solutions for the chemical industry

Powelectrics IoT technology cuts costs for suppliers of chemicals such as AdBlue, cryogas, acids, alkalis, detergents, fertilisers, food additives and construction additives.

Powelectrics offers over 30 years of expertise and practical experience in instrumentation and digitalisation.

Please click here to see the brochure, which describes Powelectrics’ range of solutions and details real application cases: Powelectrics-Chemical-Brochure-2021.pdf

  • Tank, silo, IBC and bund level and load cell monitoring to understand usage and avoid run-outs/overfills, with associated disruption and clean-up.
  • Supply chain management including raw materials and waste collection.
  • Vendor Managed Inventory when delivering chemicals in bulk.
  • Condition monitoring of plant and processes to perform maintenance before a breakdown occurs.
  • Monitoring emissions of gases and effluent, to protect people and environment and comply with  industry legislation.
  • Metering and energy management to identify inefficiencies and as part of ISO 50001.

More: Powelectrics IIoT Solutions For Chemical Industry Safety & Efficiency

Powelectrics’ well-proven, versatile MetronView cloud collects data from a vast array of sensors, machines and IIoT devices. It gets your data flowing … fast … from your first step towards digital transformation to an international estate of connected assets!

What can Powelectrics do for you?

Please browse the Powelectrics website and get in touch with any queries you have or applications you would like to discuss. Call +44 1827 310 666, email sales@powelectrics.co.uk or use this contact form.