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Mass-produced underwater vehicles

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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.

Mass-produced underwater vehicles

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

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HARTING vigorously advancing the development of Industry 4.0 solutions

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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.

HAII4YOU Factory

”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.

Siemens, Connecting industrial outstations inexpensively and securely

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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.

CP 1243-8 IRC communication processor
Siemens CP 1243-8 IRC communication processor

 

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.

Efficient Building Automation with AS-Interface

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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.”

Fig.: AS-i Master in a network with building technology
Fig.: AS-i Master in a network with building technology

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

[new] Ha-VIS eCon Switches: 16 Ports in the most compact space

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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.

Ha-VIS eCon Ethernet Switches
Ha-VIS eCon Ethernet Switches

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/

B&R opens subsidiary in Japan

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– Automation provider now has 24 wholly owned affiliates worldwide

B&R opens subsidiary in Japan
Managing Director Masashi Ono leads the new B&R subsidiary in Japan.

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.

아이씨엔 뉴스팀 news@icnweb.co.kr

[case] Complete solution cast from a single mold

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Plastics processing machines already feature an extremely high degree of automation. If they’re going to further optimize their production processes, manufacturers in the plastics industry have to look for solutions that improve overall plant efficiency across the board. This means including auxiliary buildings, media supply and the entire plant infrastructure in the equation. Better than any other system on the market, integrated automation technology from B&R does precisely that. With a system that reaches from the I/O level up to the process control system for the entire plant, B&R offers a complete solution cast from a single mold. A solution for every automation requirement. A solution for more productivity.

 

Production of plastic parts is highly automated with extremely fast cycle times. The various production methods – such as injection molding, deep-drawing, compression molding and blow molding – place intense demands on speed, precision and repeat precision.

Access to information about the capacity utilization and availability of individual machines is essential to optimizing productivity. This data provides the foundation that allows the various machines in a production line to be coordinated. Machines with a high level of availability are crucial for ensuring maximum productivity. Considerable improvements in maintenance can be made with a condition monitoring solution.

Condition monitoring raises quality and lowers costs
Continuous condition monitoring increases the quality of products and the availability of machines and plants, while at the same time reducing maintenance costs. B&R’s APROL ConMon solution provides vibration monitoring and analysis based on key condition parameters calculated from acquired measurement data.

With individual machines already fully automated, the next frontier is increasing the level of automation in the plant as a whole – including not only the individual machines but also the inhouse logistics systems and building services technology. Effective automation at this level demands a system whose abilities go beyond those of a conventional SCADA system.

B&R
With APROL PDA (process data acquisition), any office PC can be used to access system images, batch reports and much more. Machine controllers and additional sensors and actuators in the machine hall can also be included.

Individual machine controllers must be grouped together into a network without sacrificing their autonomy in the process. In addition, this networked system must be capable of directly controlling and querying sensors and actuators so that no gaps in the process occur between individually controlled devices.

Energy monitoring sheds light on real energy costs
Production costs will never be completely optimized until energy consumption has been optimized as well. Before this can be
done, one must first know the exact energy costs involved – both primary (forming processes) and secondary (machine and plant). B&R’s APROL EnMon solution makes it easy for plant operators to acquire all the relevant energy data and generate comprehensive reports for evaluation and interpretation.

Comparing the efficiency of each machine is the first step. What is more difficult however, is collecting data for entire production lines and the plant itself. This demands a sophisticated process data acquisition system that spans the entire production chain and plant infrastructure: B&R’s APROL PDA.

UNIWELL Rohrsysteme GmbH & Co KG, German manufacturer of air and fluid lines for automobile production, uses APROL PDA for quality assurance. “Fluctuations in production parameters can have a negative impact on quality that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late,” explains UNIWELL’s technical manager Lutz Goldhammer.

“Since we’ve had APROL collecting process data across the entire production line and making it available to automation processes, our machines are now able to quickly compensate for any deviations, or stop production entirely if necessary,” Goldhammer continues.

POWERLINK integrates proprietary systems
I/O modules connected via POWERLINK permit sensor data to be queried directly. This allows UNIWELL to monitor every step in production
seamlessly and to take action when necessary to avoid unnecessary costs.

A significantly higher level of process optimization can be attained by monitoring not just a single production line, but rather an entire plant along with all of its auxiliary equipment. Manufacturers can make the necessary adjustments to the production processes and substantially improve the overall energy balance of their products.

APROL process control system
APROL is a full-fledged process control system whose comprehensive features go far beyond process data acquisition to include supervisory level control and process visualization tasks. Customers enjoy process automation with a uniform experience and performance, from the field level up to the management level. APROL covers all applications, whether they are oriented toward processing or production. Integrated functions provide data exchange with production planning, simulation and control systems via a database interface, web interface or OPC.

Uniform platform – From the management level to the field
Regardless of their make and model, the controllers on the individual production machines can be connected directly to the network using standard fieldbus technologies. With B&R controllers, the integration goes even deeper. For configuring the hardware and fieldbus network, the APROL process control system contains Automation Studio, the same development environment used for machine automation.

Together with the APROL system’s process data acquisition functions, integration of this familiar engineering tool inside of APROL provides a consistent platform for optimum efficiency in the coordination of machines and their infrastructure.

Process control systems serve as a source of historical data, current trends and discrete events. In APROL, process data acquisition is included as a standard feature.
Process control systems serve as a source of historical data, current trends and discrete events. In APROL, process data acquisition is included as a standard feature.

Integrated safety technology
Like other sectors of machine manufacturing, the plastics industry is being shaped by a trend towards modularization. Bus-based safety technology is an important topic when it comes to modular machines. It facilitates the development of optional machine components and makes it possible to exchange machine modules during operation. The result is a considerable boost in efficiency compared to a hard-wired safety solution.

B&R uses the fieldbus-independent openSAFETY protocol for the communication of secure signals. Using the “black channel” principle, openSAFETY can tunnel through the transport layer of any Ethernet system. Even machine components equipped with different control systems and different fieldbus systems can be easily integrated.

openSAFETY – First choice for plastics processing machines
There are other reasons why openSAFETY is first choice for plastics processing machines, however. With extremely short response times it guarantees minimum stopping distances, even for very fast movements.

openSAFETY also allows drives to perform intelligent reactions, preventing damage in the event of an abrupt stop and providing controlled emergency operation and rapid restarts – all while ensuring complete safety for plant employees. An array of safe reactions, such as safely limited speed, can be implemented not only for individual axes, but also for the tool center point of complex kinematic chains.

Safe communication throughout the plant
Integrated safety technology has firmly established itself as a solution for individual machines – particularly for machines with handling units and optional components. Recently, however, plastics manufacturers have also been using it to provide safe communication throughout an entire series of cascaded production machines.

With openSAFETY, the machines can be grouped in a safety network regardless of what fieldbus technology they use internally. This enables them to coordinate their reactions to safety-related events. It also eliminates the risks involved in having different machines along the same production line each respond differently. Having the entire line share a single safety perimeter shrinks its footprint and saves the cost of peripheral safety equipment.

Complete system – Complete consistency
Numerous users are already using B&R’s APROL process control system to unite their plant systems centrally into a hierarchical complete system. With a broad spectrum of functions – including integrated system simulation using MATLAB/Simulink – APROL is able to combine every level of automation into a homogeneous complete system.

Direct integration of external systems and signal sources allows for an all-encompassing approach that ensures reliable and efficient operation of the system over its entire service life.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION AT http://www.br-automation.com