The term ”Industry 4.0“ has caused quite a stir in the automation industry. After the invention of the steam engine, assembly line, and computer, the introduction of web-based technologies is now supposed to be the “next big thing”.
The connection of machines beyond the borders of the specific plant is the underlying thought. By means of clever self-management, machines and plants shall be able to fulfill even the most extraordinary customer requests. Workflows inside and outside of the plant are supposed to autonomically link up and align the needed materials to the right spots.
Hence, we are talking about an evolutionary process that leads to a fully automated production process. With the recently introduced concept study “SmartBridge”, Pepperl+Fuchs takes a first step on this path to “Industry 4.0”.
A small adapter, which one day might be integrated directly into the sensor, enables a connection to a smartphone or tablet without disturbing the communication or even disconnecting the sensor from the control side. The newly created communication abilities are being used to access the running sensor without any side effects and therefore enable an In-Line sensor management. This connection can be used to exchange commissioning information, diagnostic data, or for fault detection.
Due to the location-dependent connection, the applied Bluetooth technology is not vulnerable to any security weaknesses. Even a virus-infected tablet could not cause any harm because a transmission from sensor to control side is impossible.
Visitors to the SPS IPC Drives 2013 in Nuremberg have acquired a first impression of the concept study. At the Pepperl+Fuchs booth, a fully operable plexiglas model of an automated function unit, equipped with several sensors of different measuring principles, was on display.
At the upcoming HANNOVER MESSE 2014, there will be another chance to get in touch with the SmartBridge. Visit us in Hall 9 at Booth D76 and get a first-hand view of Industry 4.0. Our experts are looking forward to conversations with you.
Additonally, our YouTube channel offers more details for you. In an interview, Dr. Peter Adolphs, CEO Development & Marketing at Pepperl+Fuchs, answers questions on the future of industrial sensors and the idea behind SmartBridge.