Industry 3.0 and Industry 4.0
SICK was already involved in the third industrial revolution. The third industrial revolution began in the 1970s and 1980s. The use of electronic control systems, information technology, electronics, robots, and enhanced sensors has enabled further automation of production processes, installation processes, and logistics processes. SICK's photoelectric sensors were already a key part of the transformation at that time, and their applications are spread all over the world. The fourth industrial revolution has changed lives very early through the digitization and interconnection of machines. New technologies have merged the physical and virtual worlds in production and logistics into so-called cyber-physical systems (CPS). Since 2011, this development has been called Industry 4.0. The machines can communicate with each other autonomously, thereby optimizing the process. Industry 4.0 represents networking in the industrial field. In this value creation chain. Because the premise of communication is to have a lot of information, and this will need to be provided through the sensor.
Sensor technology will be the foundation of Industry 4.0
Sensing technology provides the premise for transparent processes in Industry 4.0. The sensor is the basis of all downstream applications. In short: Without sensing technology, Industry 4.0 is impossible to talk about. Compared with traditional networked sensors, Industry 4.0 sensors provide more than just measurement data. Integrated decentralized computing power and flexible improbability are important attributes that make production more flexible, dynamic, and efficient.
Networking and digitization
Communication is changing with each passing day. In transparent production, machines and sensors communicate with each other and directly with Ethernet or the cloud. The closed system will become an open system. However, it is not just the amount of information that is processed directly on-site that is changing. Its quality will also rise to a whole new level. The use of an innovative feedback system to obtain information on the status of production equipment and the related prediction of downtime is just one example. All of this relies on rapidly improving computing power, and this computing power can be distributed applied to the so-called edge, that is, the edge of the network or the bottom of the production. This enables more flexible and dynamic production, which can be customized at any time and quickly respond to customer requirements.
Turning data into information
The sensor is the entrance and link of Industry 4.0. In the past, we only focused on data collection and simple decision-making, but now smart sensors can prepare and further process data to make its information. The sensor is no longer just "perception", but also began to "think" with the advent of digitization. Since then, the transmission of information after such preparation has become a key technology. The primary prerequisite for the success of the networked value chain is the successful integration of sensors into the overall architecture of the application. To achieve reliable communication with the network, it is necessary to clearly define the required data and integrate it with the connected data world. At this time, it is important to select the appropriate communication protocol for the limited distance. The solution based on Ethernet is very important. However, IOLink also implements a network connection and is mainly used for devices that only require low communication capabilities. In smart production, multiple sensors collect large amounts of data in many locations. Therefore, distributed data processing is more important. The additional interface for accessing data or software systems enables new analysis and functions, improving flexibility, quality, efficiency, and transparency in production.
If all key issues regarding data security are resolved, the cloud will play an increasingly important role soon. In the future, sensor data can be directly transferred to the cloud without the need for a controller through application-specific connection technology. By fully and effectively networking all sensors into a centralized or decentralized data processing system, many unprecedented solutions will result. The entire process will be transparent at an unprecedented level through data and communication protocols.
As an always transparent production, the positive role of Industry 4.0 networking is reflected in the entire production process. After networking, this transparent production can provide an overview of all production and logistics processes throughout the supply chain, up to order processing and customer supply. This reduces the consumption of materials and resources. Besides, the production and supply network has been fully optimized. Intelligent traceability solutions can generate the data and information needed to seamlessly detect, identify, and trace products and materials in the networked process chain. Seamless networking: Each product has a variety of technical solutions to achieve traceability solutions under control. The choice of suitable identification technology varies with different requirements to achieve the best reading performance and system integration. In connected factories, the solutions suitable for Industry 4.0 are mainly RFID and programmable cameras. The sensors that accompany the production chain immediately use the data card to identify which installation steps must be performed and ensure consistent transparency until delivery.
Transparency for each production process
Nowadays, smart sensor solutions not only mean that the facts can be accurately obtained, but also the corresponding information in the sensor can be processed accordingly. For example, through the flexible output format, through the setting and connection of logic conditions, the data output can be accurately calibrated to meet the requirements. Given this, each technology will still have its place in the future: RFID realizes, for example, reading and writing of data cards and multiple uses, and there is no need to directly "visualize" it. In contrast, the image bar code reader can also read two-dimensional bar codes and plain text. Archive and analyze saved images.
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