How to Have Machines “Speak” and Communicate Between Them

| Autor / Redakteur: Luca Corli* / Dr. Anna-Lena Gutberlet

Figure 1: Example of FBD system application to an industrial machinery for electronic board testing
Figure 1: Example of FBD system application to an industrial machinery for electronic board testing (Bild: Seica)

“Mute“ machines are becoming “talking” machines, communicating via local, wireless as well as via global, grid-bound WAN networks with each other as well as with production manager.

The world of industrial production is defining an historical moment of major changes, that incorporates and customizes the concept of Internet of Things, which is tailored to the reality of the smart factory. Seica, a pioneering and innovative company, has developed an industrial monitoring system for electronics industry, which facilitates the collection, interpretation and reading of big data.

The opportunity of a real-time global view of the factory, and of its workflows, involves the integration of digital technologies in the industrial and production processes. The industrial monitoring system developed by Seica has been conceived with a special focus towards energy saving and predictive monitoring of events, and can be implemented in any department where the production machinery is not constantly attended by operators, being therefore essential to carry out the ongoing monitoring of their operation and performance conditions, so as to ensure the required throughput as well as process control, while predicting possible alarm and catastrophic events.

Wireless System to Monitor the Production Line Performance

This system has been conceived, following the concept of the Industry 4.0 philosophy, as a wireless system to monitor the performance of production lines, integrated with a MES software for process data collection and interpretation. This is the result of a partnership between Seica and Zucchetti, Italian leader in the production of management software.

The MES acronym, which means “Manufacturing Execution System” designates a general purpose computerized system providing management and monitoring capabilities of the productive function of an industry, using information ranging from production orders to the assessment of production quality, processing useful information to optimize the monitoring and execution of production as a whole.

It is definitely easier to describe rather than to implement the operational concept of the software, but its aim is the comparison between the theories of production and the actual development of manufactured articles, aiming to provide a response to the issues related to any management, monitoring, control and advancement processes in the factory, by comparing the trend of scheduled activities with the data collected in every production stage, up to the delivery to the end-user.

What Means Industrial Monitoring

When we talk about industrial monitoring, it means the collection of any information generated by the production systems or by the hosting facilities; the monitoring of production lines is aimed to control, for example, the energy consumption of machinery as well as of the plant, to foresee in advance possible failures or abnormal operation, improving the management of maintenance in the production line itself, in order to optimize interventions that exceed the standard schedule, without affecting productivity.

The communication between the constituent systems of the production line (so called “talking machines”) provides the line both with a self-diagnostics capability (talking machines that take decisions), and with the remote control capability, which minimizes the time of intervention in case of an extraordinary event which could possibly affect negatively the throughput of the production line. The opportunity to manage ordinary and extraordinary maintenance anticipating a possible failure, enables the company to achieve a relevant financial saving, by minimizing the line downtime, optimizing the identification of faulty parts to be replaced, and the opportunity to prevent cascade failures arising from a root fault.

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