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Wieland Electric Uses LiFi Technology For In-house Production

Wieland LifIWieland Electric’s HQ in Bamberg, Germany is using optical data transfer for its high quality electronic components production line for transmission of data to the machine controller and for the collection of operating data between LiFi sender and receiver.

As Industry 4.0 requires intelligent solutions for networking machines and equipment, the LiFi technology uses the light spectrum to transfer data and is a promising alternative to WiFi and Bluetooth. This is because it is better protected from electromagnetic disturbance in comparison to radio waves and provides real-time capabilities in the microsecond range at data rates up to 1 Gbps.

Configuration data is sent to the machine while information on output or faults is sent back to the Wieland operating data collection system. The connection to the data network is carried out with the optical communication solution Trulifi 6013 from Signify, which creates a safe point-to-point connection and enables transmission rates of 250 Mbps in one direction and 2 x 250 Mbps in two directions.

Stephan Lauer, Business Development Manager Light & Building Industry at Wieland explains: "The high data rate is not the only argument for using the new technology in industrial environments. The error-free and uncomplicated transmission with LiFi where radio waves or cables make data transmission difficult is much more important."

The company are currently investigating how the technological benefits can be utilised in industrial environments. The electronics company uses the new data transmission standard in its in-house production to gain experience and include it in the development of LiFi for industrial communication.

The technology scores with its flexibility, especially when using it in temporary installations. As all new production facilities have mobile and modular manufacturing units and workplaces, they have to be re-grouped based on changing requirements. The direct connection between access point and client is quickly established when they are simply re-positioned under the data transmitting light source, and the unit is integrated in the network again. This means that tedious cabling is not necessary and production downtime is minimised. Another supposed disadvantage is that LiFi cannot permeate walls and always requires a direct visual contact. This is quickly turning into an advantage considering data protection and non-disclosure requirements for industry applications. When using LiFi, a simple wall is all it takes to make data transmission safe.

Stephan Lauer offers customers a tour of the manufacturing test facility in Bamberg: "We have acquired considerable knowledge in the area of LiFi. Our contribution consists of a customised energy and data infrastructure – focused on the special requirements in industrial environments. As a connective link we bring software and hardware partners as well as components together and help our customers find individual solutions. We are happy to show this application at our actual manufacturing facilities."


Tags: Wieland Electric, Industrial Computing, Panel Building News, e-lec.org, LiFi