The lead theme at this year’s Hannover Fair is “Integrated Industry – Industrial Intelligence.” Show organizers are touting the potential of the interplay between automation, IT and IIoT platforms, and artificial intelligence that is driving the digital transformation of industry. The vision is one of Industry 4.0 machines being networked into a self-learning system using cutting-edge communication technology – resulting in smart factories with the potential to revolutionize production.
It’s safe to say this will not be a common reality anytime soon. Fortunately, fluid power manufacturers are taking a more-pragmatic approach with new-product introductions at Hannover that embrace cutting-edge technology and are actually available for use today.
For example, many customers find it difficult to get started with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), according to engineers at Emerson. With the Aventics Smart Pneumatics Analyzer (SPA), Emerson offers a portable solution that is easy to integrate. The suitcase-size unit shows how customers can obtain digitized information using existing standard components. The system relies on algorithms written by company experts and are based on decades of know-how from product and application development.
With just a few steps, users can record energy consumption and detect leaks in a compressed air system. This lets the customer enjoy substantial savings, said company officials, as the costs for leaks can quickly add up to several thousand dollars per year per machine.
The SPA contains all functions to start with IIoT and carry out measurements without intervening in PLC controlled processes. The information gained helps customers to better understand and analyze their machines. The Smart Pneumatics Monitor (SPM) included in the SPA, combined with fieldbus capabilities, evaluates existing sensor signals and reliably derives status information from them. For example, predictive maintenance is possible. And because all sensor data is processed locally (edge computing), no additional software or cloud connection is required.
Compliant robot technology
FerRobotics combines servo-pneumatic engineering with innovative robot devices, letting soft robots carry out varying tasks which require gentle contact and tight-tolerance positioning. It’s based on the company’s Active Contact Flange (ACF) technology that solves, in real time, applications related to physical robotic sensitivity while contacting an object with high speed and controlled force. It reportedly guarantees extremely short cycle times, even with delicate applications. Typical examples include sanding, polishing and deburring all types of metals, plastics, ceramics, wood and other materials; and contact-sensitive handling like bin-picking, inserting, packing and quality inspection. The ACF has been designed to compensate for tolerances up to 100 mm autonomously by maintaining a guaranteed consistent contact force.
At Hannover, the company is introducing the Active Angular Kit (AAK), an integrated grinding system for weld leveling that, company officials say, can double productivity. The precisely-matched system package combines the ACF with a robot-compatible angle grinder. Thus, this Industry 4.0-capable product can automate and individually regulate industrial grinding processes like rotation speed, contact force and feeding rate.
Camozzi’s Series D is a new valve island equipped with Coilvision technology which monitors and predicts the impact of wear on the efficiency of parts of each solenoid valve. Coilvision enables proactive management of performance parameters such as power consumption and coil temperature. It also transmits operational data, alarm history and health status to a PLC or through wireless LAN to an IIoT gateway and onto the Cloud. The compact Series D, available in 10 mm size, is suited for use in applications with limited installation space without compromising flow.
Camozzi also introduced the new Open Frame “Proportional Controller” system, a platform for providing closed-loop control of flow, pressure and position that is suitable for Industry 4.0 applications. The system is composed of two modules: Master and Slave. The Master module used alone allows the creation of a two-way flow control valve in a closed-loop configuration. The Master-Slave combination permits a three-way flow control valve with the same performance. The use of the Master-Slave combination plus an external precision transducer enables position control.
At Hannover 2019, Masterflex is unveiling its new Ampius series, a range of so-called intelligent hose systems that will soon be equipped with a digital interface as standard. This interface will make it possible to retrieve not only the unique product identification, but also data regarding wear, abrasion, temperature and flow rates. These kinds of smart components with lifecycle tracking capabilities are becoming increasingly important, particularly when it comes to state-of-the-art predictive maintenance.
“It’s always important to ask how machine downtimes can be prevented or, at the very least, kept to a minimum,” said Christian Horstkötter, the company’s Managing Director Sales Europe Industrial Solutions. “Ideally, our products help to precisely predict failures so that the machine operator or maintenance team can take action before actual breakdowns occur.”
IoT position sensors
MTS Sensors/Temposonics is introducing its R-Series V sensors, the successor to the company’s current fourth generation units. The new sensors have higher resistance to vibration and high temperatures, are ready for Industry 4.0 and fit well in existing applications. Capabilities have improved as well. They offer a sampling rate of up to 4 kHz with extrapolation. They also feature Profinet with IRT (Isochronous Real Time) and EtherNet/IP with CIP Sync (Common Industrial Protocol) and a typical jitter of ±2 µm.
The new Industry 4.0 features offer users advantages, as they provide additional information about the process in addition to the pure process data (position/speed). Status and statistical data are recorded and processed during operation and can be used to better understand the processes within the application. In combination with increased performance and improved robustness, the product helps ensure that existing applications work even more reliably and that future requirements are already being met.
Assembly machinery with cloud connection
Stauff will be showcasing a world-first at the Hannover, the latest generation of machines for the pre- and final assembly of cutting rings (Type SPR-PRC-POC) and forming machines for Stauff Form (SFO-F). The tube-forming machines facilitate the economical and reliable production of tube ends made of steel, stainless and other materials.
The new machines in two ranges differ from their predecessor models by a key, yet behind-the-scenes, feature — they will be supplied as standard with a built-in connection to a cloud provided by Stauff — to update software, transmit new parameters, document assembly processes, and analyze data to optimize machine settings. Existing machines can be simply and easily retrofitted with the module.