After the augmented reality app (AR) from LEWA, the Leonberg, Germany-based pump manufacturer , attracted lots of attention at the Achema 2018 and Hannover Messe 2019 trade shows, the range of applications is now being expanded. The app was originally intended for use during trade shows only, but it is now being offered to all interested users as a free download from the Apple App Store as of July 2019. After the AR app was launched at the leading trade fairs mentioned above, Lewa received many inquiries from customers and interested parties concerning individualized options for use. “The level of interest in the app and the frequent inquiries surprised us, since the program was originally developed to improve the visualization of the mechanics of our pumps at trade fairs,” reported Thomas Bökenbrink, Lead Product Manager Pumps at Lewa. The AR solution was further developed for Hannover Messe 2019 to display the model of an Ecoflow process diaphragm pump in the new LDZ drive size with three different pump heads on a tablet, and show how the pump can be freely positioned within virtual space. Using ground plane detection, the tablet’s camera detects the floor of the relevant room and positions the model inside the room on the screen. The pump can be viewed from all directions and viewing angles, and clearly shown thanks to the 3D depiction of the complex inner structure of the pump. The model is also freely scalable, enabling the size of the pump to be adapted to the available space. In addition, the app can animate pump operation and its behavior in exceptional situations.
“With pump visualization, we have the ideal virtual training and trade show exhibit. We can also imagine using in the service and maintenance segment to better explain the functions of the pump based on the virtual model,” said Bökenbrink as he explained the versatile app’s options. In the first version, available in the Apple App Store as a free download under the name “orange showroom,” the model of the Ecoflow process diaphragm pump in the new LDZ drive size is initially available for virtual viewing. The app runs on all Apple iPads with iOS 12.0 or later, the app is not available on the iPhone. Lewa is planning to successively add other pump types in the application. “To us, our AR app represents a big step forward with regard to the simple, clear visualization of our products. It enables us to always have our pumps on hand and produce them as a digitally savvy way to explain our pumps based on their virtual representation,” Bökenbrink summarized.
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Virtual Annual General Meeting planned for June
Due to the spread of the coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2), Bilfinger is planning to conduct its regular Annual General Meeting on June 24, 2020 as a virtual general meeting without the physical presence of shareholders. The protection of the health of employees, shareholders and service providers is given the highest priority.
The framework for holding a virtual Annual General Meeting is provided for by the regulations created by the German legislator for the year 2020 to mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Annual General Meeting shall only be accessible to shareholders who have registered in due time via the company’s website. By using a previously established online portal, these shareholders shall be able to observe the entire Annual General Meeting and to exercise their voting rights electronically (postal vote) or by granting a proxy. The online portal will in addition enable them to submit questions on agenda items up to two days prior to the Annual General Meeting.
IO-Link and JSON
Fully in line with Industry 4.0
The IO-Link Community has published a new specification for easy data exchange. This specification describes how data can be exchanged by IO-Link over JSON REST and MQTT – fully in line with the transparent communication of Industry 4.0.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 are among the most important concepts and developments for the future of industrial communication. This future will require transparent communication from the lowest sensor/actuator level to a new generation of mobile and cloud-based applications. One of the deciding factors for this future will be simple, standardized and cross-manufacturer protocols. These protocols have to be able to work across all physical layers in order to enable global access to data for identification, diagnostic and configuration information. In the field of automation technology, Ethernet-based communication has been very widely implemented on the transport layer for some time now. Profinet is a global market leader ahead of all the others here.
For seamless data transport into the world of IT, JSON (Java Script Object Notation) has established itself as a highly streamlined exchange format which can be used across all system boundaries. Through additional specification of the semantics, easy interpretation of the data is also made possible. This enables the seamless connection of the IO-Link level to MES/ERP systems, cloud-based services and applications outside classical PLC automation in general.
The demand for uniform standardized data consistency from the lowest field level to cloud-based services was accepted by the IO-Link Community, which first defined a JSON-based exchange format in a dedicated working group and thus the uniform semantic integration of the IO-Link field level into the world of IT. The specification encompasses both the definition of an API as the REST interface and data transport over MQTT.
This standardized exchange format now provides fundamentally new opportunities, such as cross-manufacturer engineering and global access to measurement values and other monitoring data. For example, classical configuration tools can be tied in across all manufacturers by JSON via REST. Streamlined “sensor to cloud” (IIoT) applications are also easy to implement with the very widely used MQTT protocol with the publisher/subscribe mechanism. This even makes it possible to implement a cloud-based automation task with manufacturer-independent components, for example.