The Internet of Things (IoT) allows each production machine to communicate with one another in the same process area and enables the integration of related automation systems.
The availability of a network of physical and virtual sensors capable of detecting the state of operation of each individual machine or component plays a key role in this integration process. For each machine there is a so called “digital twin”.
The availability of enabling technologies is spontaneously evolving automation and control of production, integrating production areas themselves and inside and outside the classical company limits.
We are talking about the vertical integration of all automation components and information systems into a single process area.
When the production control connects all the machines of all the individual process areas we have obtained the horizontal integration.
Typically we apply a multistep approach based on:
Smart sensors (such as radio-frequency sensors developed to measure the level of liquid metals or contactless strip flatness sensors) and software solutions (such as our Cartesio Platform) allows completely tracking all production steps, which allows organisations to build any product genealogy.
The development of several on-line running solutions provides organisations with an exchange of technical, quality and management data, to allow for an early intervention in case of deviation from the targets.
All the process information is associated and made available to draw up a “production certificate”. This capability allows to open up enterprise portals to final customers, so they can check, in real time, the status of their orders and communicate any changes.
During the years, thanks to the possibility to work side-by-side on our customers’ processes and plants, we have developed specific technical skills regarding a wide range of materials, processes and products.
Based on this experience we develop tailor-made smart sensors, software platforms or single packages operating on-line in companies from different sectors, such as production of metals, power generation and oil & gas.
Can you give examples of applications?
Yes, during the years we have supplied several sensors, both physical and virtual, together with software platforms and tools in Italy, Europe and the Americas.
Why virtual sensors?
When a process is characterised by many variables and operates also in harsh conditions (dust, high temperatures, corrosive gases, etc.), but still has to be monitored, sensors sometimes cannot operate safely. For such processes we have developed specific models. The opportune coupling of the results of these models leads to a parameter measured by a virtual sensor.
Why are digital twins so important?
If you can build a digital copy of a machine, an industrial plant, a full line, you can design, for example, a test in digital form, in order to understand the reaction of your machine, plant or full line. Such tests are economic and without risks. The results allow you to better define the design of your new product, from its shape to its mechanical characteristics.