At the SPS IPC Drives 2018, Siemens showed a newly developed hardware platform for edge applications as part of its Siemens Industrial Edge concept: The compact Simatic Edge Device works on the basis of the embedded industrial PC Simatic IPC227E, and features integrated connectivity to automation on the machine level. This allows manufacturing data to be captured and processed directly at the point of production. If there is a change to the framework conditions underlying the industrial application, Industrial Edge offers facility to adjust software applications on the Edge Device, keeping them right up to date using functional, feedback-free updates. The hardware comes with a closed all-metal housing, ensuring maximum industrial functionality for flexible, maintenance-free use under even the harshest of conditions. Rapid commissioning is guaranteed using pre-installed Edge software.
Siemens Industrial Edge affords users the opportunity to close the gap between classic local data processing and cloud-based data processing to suit individual requirements. Edge computing enables the local feedback-free processing of large data volumes practically in real time. Industrial Edge also enables users to cut the costs of data storage and transmission, as large volumes of data are processed in advance and exclusively relevant data is subsequently sent to the cloud or the company’s own internal IT infrastructure. Siemens Industrial Edge supports cloud transmission protocols for MindSphere, the open cloud-based IoT operating system from Siemens. In future, it will also support Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT), which will additionally guarantee the flexible exchange of data with other systems and clouds.
Savings through edge computing in the Siemens Electronics Factory Amberg
In the factory in Amberg, a printed circuit board cutting machine is used for the manufacture of Simatic products. During a milling operation, fine milling dust is produced which exerts an aggressive impact on the machine. This can cause the spindle bearing to jam, and potentially result in unscheduled machine downtime. To prevent this from happening, a number of the machine’s operating parameters are analyzed using artificial intelligence with a view to detecting any anomalies in spindle behavior which would indicate the possibility of an impending failure. This is done by transmitting data picked up by the sensors to the Edge device for analysis. A machine learning algorithm calculates the anomaly value in real time. A rise above a predetermined threshold value indicates that a machine failure is imminent. This Edge application enables cases of bearing erosion and machine downtime to be predicted between 12 and 36 hours in advance of an actual failure. In the event of anomalies, the machine spindle can be exchanged as part of the next scheduled service before a failure can cause costly unplanned downtime.
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Siemens and Pixeom
Acquisition of Edge technology
Siemens is planning the acquisition of Edge technology from the US company Pixeom. With this action, Siemens is strengthening its Industrial Edge portfolio by adding software components for Edge runtime and for device management. Siemens Industrial Edge provides an ecosystem, which enables the flexible provision and use of apps. This means for example that appropriate apps can analyze data locally at the machine and send relevant data to the higher-level Industrial Edge Management System for global analytics. With this acquisition, Siemens is driving forward the expansion of its Digital Enterprise portfolio and the integration of cutting-edge technologies for the digital transformation of industry.
With the resulting Industrial Edge ecosystem, industrial companies can use production data even more efficiently and react more flexibly to changes in conditions. Ralf-Michael Franke, CEO of Business Unit Factory Automation, explains: “Cutting edge technologies such as Edge Computing open up new scope for automation. With Siemens Industrial Edge, we are creating an open edge ecosystem which offers benefits for companies of any size.” Siemens is using Docker standard container technology: the provision of apps in the management system will therefore be just as simple as functional upgrades and updates of Edge devices in the factory from a central point.
Siemens intends to acquire this technology from Pixeom and use it in the Business Unit Factory Automation, which is part of Siemens Digital Industries. Pixeom has sites in San José, California and Udaipur, India and employs 81 people worldwide. Closing of the transaction is planned for the fourth quarter of 2019. Both companies have agreed not to comment on the financial details of the transaction.
Mixer and process data
Quick and easy graphical analysis
ProView process data visualization is a universal tool that is not tied to any specific platform, enabling efficient analysis of operating data. It can be used on a PC in the office or on a tablet or smartphone while on the move.
In many industries, monitoring the mixing process is necessary for reasons of quality assurance, particularly if plants are working automatically, without direct control by a designated member of staff. Changes in the properties or quantities of raw materials/of the product, for example, result in changes in the mixer’s power draw or in the moisture content of the mix. ProView enables simple and quick analysis of the process values in such situations.
Up until now, reading off operating data has been a laborious business. In most cases, data from the plant controller can only be downloaded using a USB stick, and the operator is then required to import this into existing programs. It takes a lot of time and practice before usable displays and reports are achieved.
ProView process data visualization makes life easier. All parameters monitored by sensors in the plant can be viewed in detail in diagrammatic form, on a PC in the office or using a mobile phone while on the move. The data remains in the company, and is stored locally on the machine/plant, not in a Cloud.
As browser-based software that is not tied to any specific platform, ProView works with any controllers, whether from Siemens, Rockwell or Mitsubishi. An industry router connects the world of the machine with the world of the office. Installation on the company network is easy. The program is preconfigured for each machine or plant, but can also be adjusted by the user at any time. This allows other presentations and selection structures to be created to suit customer preferences. Useful tools such as graphical navigation on the time axis, zoom and curve comparison make using the program easier. Statistical parameters such as the mean and the standard deviation can also be displayed as standard.
With ProView from Eirich, easy access to real-time and also to historical data becomes possible. Information is acquired that can be used directly by Quality Assurance, Service or Process Engineering, and which in many instances makes optimizing production flows possible.