At the Innovation Day hosted by B&R Industrial Automation, what came to light were new technologies that can help engineering units move towards Industry 4.0 standards in the most cost-effective manner. A report by Huned Contractor
It is innovation in today’s engineering world that sets the route for growth. And this is something that Pune-based B&R Industrial Automation has been focusing on ever since its establishment. The message was driven home recently when the company hosted an ‘Innovation Day’ in Pune to highlight trendsetting automation technologies. “This is the fourth edition of our flagship annual event. This conference aims at bringing together well over 200 guests from factory operators, machine builders and industry experts to deliberate on innovations for manufacturing and Industrial IoT. Through focused presentations and live demonstrations, B&R Industrial Automation displays innovative automation solutions for smart machines and factories for successful Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 implementation,” said Jhankar Dutta, the company’s managing director.
Industrial IoT is helping push the manufacturing sector to the next level
With the acquisition of B&R Industrial Automation by ABB in July 2017, B&R Austria has become the new global centre for machine and factory automation for the ABB Group. However, B&R remains an independent business unit and retains its own legal entity. “We are expanding our office space to 16,000 sq. feet in Pune, at the same time investing in manpower across India to match our growth plan of doubling business volumes in the coming three years. B&R Industrial Automation is known for providing best-in-class service to customers and now we are taking customer service to the next level by launching a world-class customer support initiative with a dedicated hotline,” Dutta said. Some of the new technologies launched by the company include:
Automation leads to the most cost-effective mode of production
Customers’ demand for individualised products is increasing, and manufacturers are constantly working towards satisfying these ever-rising needs. Customization is only possible with highly automated factories, however, and they are moving from mass production to batch-of-one. In order to be profitable, factories face the dilemma of producing single units with the same economy as bulk production. Retooling a manufacturing system to achieve individualisation seems to be a cost-prohibitive endeavor.
To answer these market demands and achieve mass customization cost-effectively, B&R Industrial Automation has introduced ACOPOStrak. It is a revolution in adaptive manufacturing that helps extend the economy of mass production down to batches of one. For example, in the case of a bottling plant, ACOPOStrak enables beverages of different flavours and sizes to be filled, labeled and capped on a single production line – with zero downtime for changeover. ACOPOStrak opens up new dimensions of resource efficiency. It boosts the quality factor of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), multiplies return on investment (ROI) and accelerates time to market (TTM).
Vision technology ensures better quality and flexible production in modern manufacturing facilities. Conventional machine vision systems rely on a separate controller and camera systems that communicate with the machine controller over either I/O channels or a communication network. This approach is not real time and adds a significant amount of programming to developers’ workload. It also increases the amount of integration work for machine builders and adds enormous costs. Previously existing in two separate worlds, machine automation and machine vision now come together seamlessly in B&R Industrial Automation’s new fully integrated solution that requires no special engineering tools and no extra programming languages. Like all of its automation products, the company’s machine vision system is programmed using the ready-made components of MAPP technology.
The resulting application covers everything from process control and motion to machine vision and HMI. The first fully integrated machine vision system opens up a world of new opportunities for machinery and equipment manufacturers by allowing them to implement both control and machine vision tasks with a single tool.
A greenfield site is a blank slate, where new technologies for smart machines and factories can be implemented with relative ease. For brownfield machines and factories that have been operational for decades, the task is much more difficult. The challenge is to establish sufficient communication to retrieve production data. Tracking energy consumption and optimizing the efficiency of processes and maintenance tasks are important factors, especially for small and medium-sized companies, yet machines cannot simply be replaced year after year to keep pace with technology trends. B&R Industrial Automation now offers a cost effective solution that makes it easier than ever to perform advanced analytics on brownfield manufacturing assets. Its Orange Box lets users access previously unreadable energy and process data from digitally isolated machinery. The Orange Box is able to read data from the machine without any changes to existing hardware or software. Clearly visualized performance metrics make it easy to identify opportunities for targeted improvement so machinery can be operated more efficiently. As an Industrial IoT (IIoT) solution package, the Orange Box brings smart-factory intelligence to brownfield installations.
A typical factory relies on machines from different vendors that use a variety communication protocols. This makes horizontal (machine-to-machine) and vertical (machine-to-cloud) connectivity a distant dream. Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT demand open interfaces and open communication standards. Consistently at the forefront of technology, B&R Industrial Automation has always been a pioneer of open communication technologies. Open standards are essential for the success of Industry 4.0.
B&R Industrial Automation systems are based on open source, vendor-independent standards such as OPC UA, Ethernet POWERLINK and OpenSAFETY. Ethernet POWERLINK provides real-time, deterministic communication down to 100µs for machine automation.
OPC UA acts as a backbone for machine-to-machine and machine-to-cloud connectivity with all the necessary security mechanisms in place. Open SAFETY is the only open, fieldbus-independent safety protocol enabling safe communication from the sensor to the process layer.
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