There has never been so much human activity in the depths of the oceans. Several thousand meters below the surface, oil companies are prospecting for new deposits and deep-sea mining companies are looking for valuable mineral resources. Then there are the thousands of kilometers of pipelines and submarine cables that need regular maintenance. Not to mention the marine scientists who would like to be able to use robust devices to survey large areas of the ocean floor. All these applications mean there is a growing demand for underwater exploration vehicles.
To meet this demand, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Ilmenau and Karlsruhe have designed a powerful autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) capable of being manufactured in large numbers. Companies have been using AUVs for many years in deep-sea exploration missions. These untethered vehicles glide independently through the water collecting observation data, and make their own way back to the research vessel. Up to now, these have primarily been custom-built and very expensive. They have complicated structures, which makes them relatively difficult to handle by the crew on board the research vessel; for instance, accessing the batteries in order to replace them. It takes one hour to read the many terabytes of observation data out of the AUV’s onboard processor. What’s more, many of these vehicles are so heavy that only specially trained operators can place them in the water using the ship’s winch.
CAN bus system prevents cable spaghetti
The IOSB’s AUV overcomes all of these problems and will be on display at the Oceanology International exhibition (Booth H600) in London from March 15 to 17, 2016. The vehicle called DEDAVE (Deep Diving AUV for Exploration) bears a certain resemblance to the space shuttle. The research team, led by project manager Professor Thomas Rauschenbach, has fitted it out with technologies not normally found in AUVs to date. To avoid the typical mess of cables, which was often a source of faults, they installed a CAN bus system like those found in every modern car. It consists of a slim cable to which all control devices and electric motors can be connected. “Many experts who visit our laboratory are amazed how neat and tidy DEDAVE looks on the inside,” says Rauschenbach. The advantage of having so few cables and connectors is that faults are avoided. New modules, sensors or test devices can also be connected quickly and easily to the standardized CAN bus. Batteries and data storage devices are held in place by a tough but simple latch mechanism, allowing them to be removed with a minimum of effort. There is no longer any need to download data from the processor.
Room for four AUVs in one shipping container
One of the strengths of the lightweight, 3.5-meter-long underwater vehicle is that it takes up very little space. Aboard a ship, AUVs are stored in standard shipping containers, which usually offer only enough room for one vehicle. “We, one the other hand, can fit four AUVs into the same container,” says Rauschenbach. “The advantage of having four vehicles available is that larger than usual areas of ocean can be surveyed in far less time.” Despite their small size, the AUVs still provide plenty of additional carrying space. The payload bay measures approximately one meter in length, which is sufficient for installing several different sensors for capturing ocean floor survey data.
The underwater vehicle is powered by eight batteries, each weighing 15 kilograms. A fast-release latch mechanism enables them to be removed and replaced with little effort. A fully charged battery holds enough power for up to 20 hours’ travel. The software for the sophisticated battery management system was specially developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology ISIT in Itzehoe. In collaboration with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research, Kiel, and a Spanish research center, DEDAVE will go through deep sea testing off the coast of Gran Canaria in the coming weeks.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Rauschenbach:
“The underwater vehicle has already passed numerous different tests. Before it goes into production, it will now undergo several weeks of deep-sea testing off the coast of Gran Canaria.”
Underwater vehicle goes into series production
DEDAVE is the world’s first autonomous underwater vehicle to be developed from the outset with a view to series production. It will be manufactured by a company to be specifically created for this purpose as a spin-off from the IOSB in the first half of 2016. The series production of a product of this type requires that every single manufacturing step is documented in detail. This is the only means of ensuring that the trained workers can build the vehicles as on an assembly line. For this part of the project, specialists from the auto industry have been engaged to contribute their expertise in industrial manufacturing and the qualification of subcontractors.
Further information: http://www.dedave.de
Turning trends into applications/ Focus on HARTING IIC MICA and Infrastructure Box
The HARTING Technology Group has vigorously pushed forward with the development of its Industry 4.0 solutions since the Hannover Messe and will be presenting the results at the SPS IPC Drives trade fair in Nuremberg from 24 to 26 November 2015 (Hall 10; Stand 140). ”Industry 4.0 is the dominant topic here at the trade fair. Consequently, we have been pressing ahead with developing our Smart Factory, the HAII4YOU Factory(Slogan: HARTING Integrated Industry 4 You), since April,” as Philip Harting, Chairman of the Board and personally liable partner emphasises.
”We have developed concrete applications from the trends in Integrated Industry, while consistently focussing on customer benefits,” explains Uwe Gräff, Managing Director HARTING Electric and HARTING Electronics. At this year’s Hannover Messe HARTING clearly identified the six trends in Integrated Industry (Customisation, Miniaturisation, Identification, Modularisation, Integration and Digitalisation) and targeted product and solution development in these areas.
”Consequently we will also be presenting a HAII4YOU Factory update in Nuremberg,” states Dr. Volker Franke, Managing Director HARTING Applied Technologies and Industrie 4.0 expert at HARTING. With the implementation of ”intelligent stop points” HARTING will be using the HAII4YOU Factory as the basis for a demonstration of how the material flow within a Smart Factory can be controlled. ”This control does not require any additional programming or PLC,” explains Dr. Franke. The Technology Group is combining its competence as a component, application and system provider in the HAII4YOU* Factory.
Two prominent trade fair highlights are the HARTING IIC MICA and the Infrastructure Box. MICA is a modular platform of open hardware and software that can be rapidly and economically adapted to many industrial application areas. HARTING will be presenting production models and solutions and MICA deliveries will commence in 2016.
The decidedly positive customer response has prompted HARTING to hold an application contest called ”How do you use MICA?” Users are called on to develop an innovative application with MICA. The three best applications will be announced at the Hannover Messe 2016 and the winning teams will be awarded premium prizes.
The Infrastructure Box ensures availability and establishes flexibility with the optimal efficiency of modular Smart Factories for Industrie 4.0. The HARTING Infrastructure Box offers constant monitoring of all of the system’s lifelines. The reconfiguration and expansion, including during operation, are guaranteed by Han-Modular® connection technology and selective operation start-up. This allows the Infrastructure Box to act as a link in the Industrie 4.0 architecture and keeps the system’s heart ticking, so to speak.
With the new CP 1243-8 IRC communication processor, Siemens enables telecontrol applications based on the Sinaut ST7 telecontrol protocol. The new communication processor makes it possible to connect Simatic S7-1200 controllers as outstations (remote terminal units/RTUs) to higher-level ST7 stations with minimum effort and low costs.
The solution is suitable for use in new and existing systems. Redundancy and comprehensive security functions ensure high availability and security. Key applications for the CP 1243-8 IRC are distributed plants in the fields of drinking water supply and distribution, sewer networks, and rain overflow tanks. In addition, the communication processors can be used for environmental monitoring and as local transport and distribution grids for district heating and electrical energy networks.
Connected RTUs are contacted via public or private communications networks. An industrial router (such as those in the Siemens Scalance M product range) can be connected to the Ethernet port of the device to establish an internet or cell phone connection. Additional connections for analog dial-up or private wireless network can be established via separate modules.
The CP 1243-8 supports both cyclical and event-driven transmission of every type of data required for process control and also offers alarm functions. The device can transmit measurement values from outstations to control centers or higher-level stations and send automatic e-mails and text messages to maintenance personnel. In order to prevent data loss in the event of a dropped connection, the communication processor continuously saves time-stamped measurement values. As soon as the connection is reestablished, the buffered values are automatically transmitted in the correct historical sequence to the control center.
To improve availability, the CP 1243-8 IRC offers the option of establishing an additional connection via the second WAN interface (for route redundancy). For this, a so-called teleservice (TS) module – for instance, an RS 232 serial interface or dial-up modem (analog, ISDN, and GSM) – is connected to the second WAN interface. Users can operate with one or the other interface, or both simultaneously.
AS-Interface has long been the epitome of efficiency in production facilities around the globe. Now the simplest bus system in the world is also playing an increasing role in building automation as well.
Bihl+Wiedemann as well is seeing stronger demand from the field of building automation and has accordingly adapted and expanded their own product portfolio appropriately. To demonstrate use of AS-Interface in this context, their newly constructed production facility in Mannheim is being used as a test object. Generating cost savings is a simultaneous objective. Thomas Müller, Sales Manager at Bihl+Wiedemann, is overjoyed at the many small savings realized in operating the facility, and is confident that “all of this is going to add up significantly.”
With AS-Interface Gateways and the corresponding AS-Interface Modules it is possible to detect the energy consumption for an individual machine. This data can be then evaluated in a central location and form the basis for intelligent building control. Another essential aspect of building automation is temperature regulation. With the help of sensors and the networking of building technology such as the heating system, air conditioning and window jalousies, the potential for efficient operation is enormous. AS-Interface gateways represent here the foundation. Another form of the AS-i gateway also integrates safety control. http://www.bihl-wiedemann.de/en
The installation of additional communication infrastructure within production facilities can be achieved quickly, cost efficiently and flexibly with Plug&Play Ha-VIS eCon Ethernet Switches. Thanks to the compact design, customers require only a minimum of space in the electrical cabinet.
The rapidly growing number of Ethernet-capable end devices in the field calls for a corresponding increase in the number of ports for the Ethernet switches. With 16 RJ45 ports, the new variants of the Ha-VIS eCon family offer the perfect solution for these demands.
Developed and optimized for deployment in tough industrial environments, the “unmanaged” Ethernet switches allow a low-cost expansion of existing network infrastructures, and also the creation of new industrial networks. With approvals for industry, the maritime market and for transportation, the switches can be optimally selected for every application.
The switches of the Ha-VIS eCon Family fit in anywhere, thanks to their compact dimensions. Users can choose exactly the combination of performance characteristics and port combinations from the over 200 switch models that will perfectly match their particular application. Two different compact and space saving housing designs guarantee the best possible utilization of the available space in switching cabinets. http://www.harting.com/
– Automation provider now has 24 wholly owned affiliates worldwide
Leading provider of automation technology B&R is proud to announce the opening of its 24th subsidiary – B&R Japan, headquartered in Yokohama and led by Masashi Ono.
“Japan is one of the toughest markets in the world, but we’re ready,” says Ono. “We’re confident that Japanese customers will enjoy working with us, and we look forward to showing them all the exciting things that our innovative portfolio and automation expertise can do for their business.”
As one of B&R’s strengths is its strong local presence, B&R Japan starts with a full team of sales, application and support engineers to care for Japanese customers at their locations and in their own language. B&R has an impressive 35-year record of continuous growth and has proven its dedication to innovation.
“With the strength of open technology and international standards as well as a network of subsidiaries and partners in over 70 countries, B&R is a solid partner for Japanese companies looking to compete with the top players on a global scale,” says Ono.
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