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IoT sensors: The senses of the Factory of the Future – Part 1

Occasional Contributor

Sensors are the sensory organs of the factory of the future. To cover as many IoT applications as cost-effectively as possible, they must communicate wirelessly and energy-efficiently and simplify what has to date been complex data collection.

Data collection in IoT projects is too time-consuming

Data is the raw material of the factory of the future. It is the basis for continuous quality improvements, higher productivity and greater availability of machines and plant. Data collection, however, is cause for much consternation at many companies. Firstly they have to find out which data is relevant for which frequency for the respective application, and secondly to date there has been a lack of cost-effective and rapidly implementable sensor solutions to make production economically transparent.

Sensor technology requirements

On the road to the Industrial Internet of Things, companies typically begin with a pilot project, which, if successful, is rolled out to further plants and sites. Further use cases then follow. In terms of standardization and running costs the most diverse but also economical and future-proof sensors are therefore required. MEMS (micro-electromechanical system) sensors, which unite multiple measurement functions on the smallest possible space, are an important building block of such solutions. MEMS sensor technology is already a fixed component in many vehicles, as well as fitness trackers, smartphones or virtual reality glasses. Together with wireless and energy-efficient data transmission, they are therefore also solid candidates for the Industrial Internet of Things.

Multifunctional, wireless, durable

Measuring temperature and acceleration, MEMS sensors can, for example, be used in the production environment to detect overheating and increased vibrations, which indicate the threat of motor or bearing damage. IoT users can identify switch positions and record motor service life performance via magnetic field measurements. However, industrial 4.0 users have so far missed industrial sensors that combine wireless data transmission with long battery life at acceptable cost. Ideally sensors also contribute to the simplification of data collection, as this aspect is responsible for up to 50 percent of the time consumed in brownfield IoT projects. New sensor solutions achieve this through integrated onboard functions.

SCD sensor from Bosch Rexroth with onboard features

With the new SCD Sensor (Sense Connect Detect), Bosch Rexroth has developed a promising solution for these challenges. Upon activation, it immediately delivers measured values for temperature, acceleration, magnetic field/current and lighting, which can be displayed directly via app. The SCD consequently becomes a digital multimeter for IoT users, which can be configured in less than five minutes for ad-hoc identification of critical points in production. The SCD is also ideal for longer-term data collection and in upcoming versions also for wireless forwarding to an IoT Gateway as part of a complete solution right through to local or cloud-based analysis and evaluation.

Digital multimeter for IoT pioneers: The SCD provides measured values for temperature, acceleration, magnetics and lighting.

Further information about sensors can be found in these blog posts:

Part 2: Digital multimeter as an icebreaker for IoT projects

Part 3: IoT use cases implemented quicker with multi-sensors

Do you have any questions? Contact: i4.0@boschrexroth.com

 

Author: Julian Weinkoetz

is product manager for Data Analytics in the area of PLC and IoT Systems at Bosch Rexroth. After his apprenticeship as an electrician for devices and systems in the field of pressure and temperature measurement technology, he completed his studies of industrial engineering with the specialization electrical engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt as Master of Sience. Before joining Robert Bosch GmbH in 2015, he worked in automotive engineering in China. He held various positions at Bosch, including in the United States, before taking up his current position at the end of 2017.

 

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