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Weidmüller Industrial Analytics - Generating Added Value From Machinery And Production Data
- Published: Tuesday, 24 October 2017 07:35
Data is the gold of the 21st century, both for the advertising industry and for industrial companies. The machines and systems of industry generate a range of data, including temperature, pressure, energy consumption and vibration.
These values are constantly measured by sensors, monitored and fed back to the control unit. The volume of data is massive and increasing all the time. It is therefore necessary to filter out the relevant data and evaluate it using intelligent data analysis methods so that anomalies can be detected early and accurate predictions made. This enables machine and plant operators to react on a proactive basis before errors occur.
Industrial analytics makes production processes even more efficient and prevents unplanned machine downtime. Put simply, industrial analytics takes production to another level and Weidmüller is playing a major role with its flexible, scalable solution. It consists of interrelated hardware and software, which clearly differentiates it from solutions that are purely software-based. Weidmüller’s expertise is a combination of application knowledge and analytics know-how.
Learning machine behaviour – gaining valuable information
In most cases, machine and production facilities already provide sufficient data, meaning additional sensors are not required. Weidmüller engineers simply start with all the available process and machine data, from which the machine’s behaviour can be learned. The data is then reduced and only that which is actually required for an understanding of the machine is considered. An application-specific analytics engine is then configured as a function of the machine type. This entails software that can monitor and predict the behaviour of the machine. Weidmüller calls this “advanced analytics”. It is not just about analysing historical data, but also making predictions based on this data. Weidmüller bases its predictions on sound mathematical and statistical processes in order to describe machine behaviour. The processes within a machine or system may well be complex – but with the necessary tools they can be predicted without having to be a clairvoyant.
The focus is on the users
In the analyses, the focus is on the users as their know-how is very important. The analysis engine may well be able to predict a fault with a certain probability – but to do so it must have been classified beforehand. Only the user can assess whether an anomaly should actually be classified as a critical fault.
The advantage is that downtimes can be avoided through predictive maintenance, which mainly affects the operator, but is also a real benefit to machine constructors. In machine construction, the vision is to establish a completely new customer relationship. An amended, data-driven business model is an ideal solution. This example serves as an explanation: today, if a machine breaks down, the operator needs to call the manufacturer to send out a service engineer. This relationship will be reversed in future, with the machinery manufacturer contacting the customer proactively and pointing out a current problem or an imminent fault to them based on the data analysed.
With individually designed remote maintenance solutions based on u-link, the web-based remote access service, Weidmüller is already offering machinery and plant engineering companies the tools they need for tailored maintenance services, covering the entire life cycle of a machine or system. In addition, machinery and plant engineering companies will in future be able to specifically develop machine or plant models because they know exactly how their machines are used and behave.
Weidmüller as a partner for “advanced analytics”
Weidmüller knows its customers’ applications and is therefore able to offer specific analytics functions for machinery and plant engineering. In particular, Weidmüller predictions do not relate to individual components, but summarise all the available information to give a comprehensive overview of the machine. Customers benefit from advice, engineering, software and hardware which is tailored to their individual needs. The analytics engine can be used both on Weidmüller automation components and in the cloud. What the topology ultimately looks like is decided in close dialogue with the customer. The Weidmüller aspiration is not a standard package, but always a flexible, scalable overall solution.
Hard and software – flexible solution package
The scalable solution package consists of hardware and software that are systematically interlinked and complement one another perfectly: communications-compliant ACT 20C signal converters record the signal, prepare them or standardise them and make them available for further processing. Another option for signal collection and forwarding is provided by the u-remote remote I/O system with its IP 20 and IP 67 protection modules and large number of fieldbus couplers to the most popular bus systems. Ethernet switches and security routers are available for the implementation of a high-performance communications network. Using the u-link web-based remote maintenance solution, machines and plants can be monitored efficiently and safely all over the world. The intuitive interface of u-link can be easily configured to match the system and quickly customised to meet specific design requirements. Finally, the software is used to analyse the data acquired to ensure the statements made about the machine behaviour are reliable. Close coordination with the relevant customers is key in order to integrate their domain know-how in the best way possible. This is the only way that the relevant results can achieve specific added value.