The need for increasing modularization in conjunction with decentralized automation is increasingly changing the appearance of modern production plants. Whereas control cabinets used to be centrally located in the basement, for example, they are now moving ever closer to the individual machines and their components. This brings new challenges for plant engineers and their partners.
The challenge: Stress in the control cabinet leads to the standstill of entire plants - what happened here?
If a door was accidentally left open in a decentralized control cabinet, usually far away from machines and plants, it was no big deal. However, with the increasing digitalization and modernization of machines and plants, the individual components from the collective control cabinets are also moving closer to the individual machines. And this means that unintentionally leaving a door open can have serious consequences due to disruptive influences such as uncontrolled temperature fluctuations, humidity, vibrations, dust, etc. In addition, machine downtime, production losses and unplanned repairs are undesirable cost drivers. OT – the hardware and machinery responsible for the physical processes of a given company – must be brought together with IT. This can be achieved using IoT technology, and with strong partners like in.hub and Turck.
The solution: Control cabinet guard analyzes data and prevents downtime using siineos
What if the solutions and products for digitalizing manufacturing SMEs worked as easily and intuitively as using a fitness tracker or an app on a smartphone? This was the vision with which in.hub GmbH was founded in 2017. The company is a specialist for condition monitoring in the industrial environment and made it its goal to reduce the complexity of digitalization for medium-sized businesses and make it simple and quick.
Turck is a global company in the field of factory, process and logistics automation in numerous industries. With its digitally networkable solutions for efficient automation systems, the company is one of the pioneers of Industry 4.0 and IIoT. As a specialist for smart sensor technology and decentralized automation, Turck brings intelligence to the machine and ensures the reliable acquisition, processing and transmission of relevant production data – from the sensor to the cloud – not only with robust I/O solutions, but also with user-friendly software & services.
To solve the challenges described, the two partner companies have introduced the condition monitoring platform HUB-GM100, a technology platform, and the IM18-CCM60 control cabinet guard, developed by Turck, to the market. Both are based on the customer’s business model. It is not just a question of whether a cabinet door is open or closed – that could easily be managed with a classic door contact switch – but rather the question: How is the inner workings of my control cabinet? And, regarding the increasing digitalization, what about the EU requirements with regard to cybersecurity? Of course, this is especially true for so-called critical infrastructure (KRITIS).
The control cabinet guard meets precisely these requirements. It is installed inside the control cabinet on the machine and records, processes and transmits machine data such as process variables, product information and machine parameters. It contains a variety of other functionalities to monitor and visualize single or multiple machines, plants and processes, but also limit values and trends. Of course, it also provides alarm and notification messages via e-mail or SMS.
The control cabinet guard works on the basis of its own operating system siineos, which is based on the TURCK hardware. It starts up in as little as 3 seconds and begins recording immediately.
siineos is a secure, lightweight Linux-based operating system for embedded IoT/IIoT devices and optimally complements all hardware, down to the hardware drivers. It enables wired or wireless, bidirectional, intelligent interfaces to custom IT systems such as ERP, DMS, cloud or simple database systems, with data management directly on the control cabinet guard. An integrated memory with a capacity of 7GB also allows enormously long data recordings.
What’s special about siineos – it allows users to set up and operate complex IIoT devices as easily as a smartphone. In addition to the simple setup of interfaces, additional app’s can also be installed over the air to expand the range of functions.
All in all, this means that customers are completely free in their design and can monitor not only individual machines but also entire machine parks and production sites in a decentralized manner.
Result: A new business model for Turck and real added value for end customers
The solution described is suitable for a large number of possible use cases: In addition to the control cabinet guard and protection against unauthorized access, for example, compliance with air purity can be checked in real time in a surface coating plant, or the energy balance and system behavior can be monitored during the start-up of electric motors. From this, measures for predictive maintenance can be derived.
In any case, it is a matter of intelligently bringing OT together with IT due to changing requirements and demanding environmental conditions. The example of the control cabinet guard from Turck in conjunction with the IoT gateway from in.hub shows very clearly how decentralized automation can be used to increase plant productivity.