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Taneli Jokela
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Tero Lahtinen
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Valuable data from the machine tool

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21.09.2017 8:11


Both the users and manufacturers of machine tools are very keen to collect sufficient machine data in order to visualize and optimize the manufacturing processes and plant efficiency. The subsequent analysis of this data will reduce unplanned downtimes and lead to more efficient production with smaller batch sizes. With the IoT Gateway, Rexroth provides an easy to configure solution to collect sensor and machine data from existing, even older machinery and transfer it to higher-level IT systems. In terms of investment protection, this does not require any interference in the existing automation infrastructure.

To fulfill the increasing demand for flexibility in production, users and mechanical engineers are called on to connect the production processes beyond company boundaries and build flexible value creation networks from reliable machines and lines. Because the typical lifecycles of existing plants can be fifteen years or more, an extensive replacement investment is usually out of the question. High expenditure and interference in the automation infrastructure are two arguments against retrofitting existing drive and control technology. The IoT Gateway is a quick and cost-efficient alternative to this, which makes connecting plants simple and transparent.

Efficient IoT connection for new and existing plants

With the IoT Gateway, machine tools from different manufactures connect to the industrial Internet of Things and Services (IoT) in no time and without any programming effort. The user just need to select the parameters and sensors to monitor and configure the data transfer via the intuitive web-based interface. This system of sensors, software and IoT-capable industrial hardware is quick and easy to set up, handle and manage. Where necessary, data from existing control systems can be read out regardless of the manufacturer without intervening in the existing control project.

Finally, the user determines which data to process from the IoT Gateway and send to the higher-level systems to be monitored and evaluated. These could be databases, MES systems, operating and machine data logging systems or IoT cloud platforms from Bosch, Oracle or Microsoft, for example. In combination with the data analytics server from Rexroth, it provides an attractive system solution from a single source.

Typical application scenarios in machine tools

A common usage scenario for the IoT Gateway is the predictive maintenance of main spindles on older machine tools. Using additional oscillation and temperature sensors, impending failure can be recognized early on, meaning that crucial production components can be systematically exchanged. Missing information can also be gathered from the machine hydraulics without interfering in the plant software. For example, the current flow can be calculated from the signal designation of the hydraulic units.

As part of a live demonstration at EMO 2017, Bosch Rexroth will visualize the practical application of the IoT Gateway and data analytics server in connection with CytroPac, a small power unit, and a hydraulic cylinder.

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