IIoT, Industrie 4.0

Digital innovations, AI advance Industrie 4.0

International: Industrial artificial intelligence (AI) technology applications are among the important trends in digital transformation for manufacturing and Industrie 4.0 advancements.
By Aileen Jin April 6, 2019
Courtesy: Control Engineering China, Festo

With rapid development of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Big Data analysis, manufacturing enterprises are creating more demand for artificial intelligence (AI). How to integrate AI with industrial applications and enhance value and efficiency are among users’ greatest concerns. By applying Industrie 4.0 digital technologies, leading automation enterprises are well prepared to enter the next stage of AI applications.

At the Festo global media conference, Frank Melzer, director of product and technology management and member of the management board of Festo AG & Co. KG, suggested industrial AI applications will become among the most important digital transformation trends for manufacturing and Industrie 4.0.

Melzer, the newly appointed chairman of the steering committee of Platform Industrie 4.0, said development of innovative digital technologies, such as AI, would be a priority in the next two years, to advance Industrie 4.0 initiatives.

AI will accelerate Industrie 4.0

AI is not new. In recent years, increased demand for AI applications and relevant digital technologies has accelerated AI development. Automation enterprises are making plans.

Earlier last year, Festo acquired Resolto, a company providing real-time AI applications. Resolto’s real-time software monitors system and sensor status.

“Analysis technology and artificial intelligence will exert huge impact on our product portfolio, for artificial intelligence algorithm can be integrated in Festo cloud and onsite components,” Melzer said.

At the recent Festo global media conference, Frank Melzer, director of product and technology management and member of the management board of Festo AG & Co. KG, suggested that industrial AI applications will become among the important digital transformation trends for manufacturing and Industrie 4.0. Courtesy: Control Engineering China, Festo

At the recent Festo global media conference, Frank Melzer, director of product and technology management and member of the management board of Festo AG & Co. KG, suggested that industrial AI applications will become among the important digital transformation trends for manufacturing and Industrie 4.0. Courtesy: Control Engineering China, Festo

At SPS IPC Drives 2018 in Nuremberg, Festo and Resolto demonstrated the first batch of applications, including a controller that uses AI for monitoring and a new motor controller. Resolto’s machine learning algorithm can extend functionality and provide intelligent process monitoring, predicting battery failure. The 2019 Hannover Messe in April will display more Festo products and applications, Melzer said.

Pneumatic robot works with humans

With machine learning, bio-mimetic robots and human-machine cooperation, Festo has been advancing automation and AI applications. Festo introduced a pneumatic lightweight robot that can be used as an auxiliary system. It can alleviate the burden of operators performing dull or dangerous working processes. Extended functions offer simple operability, position monitoring, voice control, machine learning and AI, so the human and robot can cooperate more directly.

The bio-mimetic lightweight robot has a natural motion pattern and a flexible pneumatic system, making it suitable for safe human-machine collaboration, which is an economical and high-efficiency advancement in robotics. Such an assembly collaborative robot is applied in the Scharnhausen technology factory area of Festo in Germany. It works with employees without traditional robot safety provisions, such as enclosures, helping with dull, ergonometric challenges related to pneumatic valve assembling. High efficiency, flexibility and safety are among the robot’s characteristics.

Cloud-based IIoT connections

To help with local connections, a Festo IoT gateway enables Industrie 4.0 digital developments and eases access to data analysis. The IoT gateway can be used in hardware with unrestricted communication by connecting elements and field-level modules, such as a pneumatic valve terminal, energy saving pneumatic module, or connections to the Festo cloud through an OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) interface.

The Festo cloud display interface provides more digitalization support, showing collected information, supporting machine manufacturers and pneumatic terminal users and improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Comprehensive diagnosis, status monitoring and maintenance improvement reduces unplanned shutdowns. Better energy efficiency reduces costs. The system operator can also examine the machine process control system in several ways to improve energy savings.

At the global media conference, another cloud-based IoT application, Festo’s first digital maintenance application, attracted extensive attention. Users can download and install the app to smartphones or tablet PCs from Apple and Google application markets.

The production manager’s user interface may be opened through the browser. The maintenance software helps pneumatic terminal users plan, monitor, and assess system maintenance so maintenance can be realized in a simpler, faster and more reliable way.

This visibility helps the system operator and production manager improve reliability and saves a lot of work related to process and coordination. The cloud-based application is available for all the manufacturing enterprises. By offering clear and specific guidance and more convenient and rapid setup, such application software provides a simple and economical shortcut leading to the digital world.

Aileen Jin is editor-in-chief, Control Engineering China. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: AI, Industrie 4.0, IIoT, digitalization

Artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing Industrie 4.0 and digitalization.

Gateways connect manufacturing with useful cloud-based applications.

Smart pneumatic robots can work collaborative with humans in industrial settings.

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Festo’s artificial intelligence, robotic, and communications products enable Industrie 4.0 

Festo discussed product trends and developments related to Industrie 4.0, digitalization, and artificial intelligence (AI) at its global media conference.

  • Festo acquired Resolto, a company providing real-time AI applications. Resolto Scraitec software monitors system and sensor status in real time.
  • The Festo lightweight pneumatic robot BionicCobot can be used as an auxiliary system and alleviate the burden of operators in dull or dangerous working processes. Extended functions offer simple operability, position monitoring, voice control, machine learning and AI, so the human and robot can cooperate more directly and efficiently.
  • At SPS IPC Drives 2018 in Nuremburg, Festo and Resolto demonstrated the first batch of joint developments: The CPX-E-CEC controller with AI monitoring and the brand-new CMMT motor controller.
  • For local Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connections, a Festo Internet of Things gateway, CPX-IOT, helps with Industrie 4.0 access to digital and data analysis more easily at lower cost. The IoT gateway can be used in hardware with unrestricted communications, connected elements, and modules at the field level, such as CPX/MPA valve terminal and energy saving module MSE6-E2M and connect to the Festo cloud through an OPC UA interface.
  • Festo’s first digital maintenance application, Smartenance, enables terminal users to plan, monitor and assess system maintenance more simply, easily and reliably.

Aileen Jin
Author Bio: Aileen Jin is editor-in-chief of Control Engineering China.