Companies collaborate on test bed for sensor data

TE Connectivity, ifm, SAP and the OPC Foundation presented a test platform for transmitting and evaluating sensor data in IT systems at Hannover Messe.

By TE Connectivity May 20, 2016

TE Connectivity (TE), ifm, SAP and the OPC Foundation have collaborated together to develop a test bed that shows how all sensor data can be transmitted from machines to an information technology (IT) system and evaluated there. This allows the efficiency of a factory to be considerably enhanced through, for example, a reduction in energy consumption. The solution is designed to be easy to retrofit in a production facility and increase productivity and resource efficiency. The partners developed the test bed within the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC).

The four partners presented an application for the test bed from the field of plastics processing at this year’s Hannover Messe at the ifm booth. They demonstrated how energy consumption can be reduced through optimum regulation of the air flow for drying material used in the process.

Smart processes require comprehensive information from the sensors. "The necessary data is frequently available via the sensors, but the controllers generally only process a fraction of what is available," said Dr. Myriam Jahn, managing director, ifm datalink GmbH. With the solution presented at the exhibition, it is now possible to have all sensor data transferred to IT systems without needing to reprogram the controller.

This solution makes it possible to use data in numerous ways; for example, for condition monitoring, to monitor energy consumption, or to ensure the quality of manufactured products through their seamless traceability. Not only can the efficiency of the processes be improved as a result, but the implementation of energy management processes such as ISO 50001 is also supported at the same time. The test platform covers the entire infrastructure required for connecting machine sensors to IT systems. Data communication takes place via IO-Link, OPC UA and Profinet.

– Edited from a TE Connectivity press release by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering discrete sensor and vision stories.