When the Machine Reports Its Status
Even if the central concern of digitally integrated production or Industry 4.0 is networking industrial systems – the individual machine remains a central focus point of optimization. The reasons: Networking requires interfaces that must first be implemented on the individual machine. Also, topics such as resource efficiency are continuously addressed with development at the machine level.
Networked processes are based on data from individual systems. Machines – whether machine tools or robots – are being given more and more digital functions. There are several reasons for this. »Flexibility plays a role,« explains Festo’s Dr. Kriwet. »Users want to be able to retool systems more quickly. Therefore, many machine builders increasingly prefer to use electric instead of pneumatic drive technology, because you can approach intermediate positions with it.« In addition, since electric drive technology can control motion dynamics more precisely than pneumatic technology, it also achieves higher-quality results.
Above all, however, integration of electronics makes it possible to continuously monitor the status and behavior of systems and to map them in digital system twins. This way, production and environmental influences can be detected and corrected, and adjustments can be simulated in advance. This allows processes to be set up more efficiently than ever before. In addition, it is possible to intervene at an early stage, if a process is not running smoothly or if machine damage is imminent.