The role of real-time control, safety and security technology in driving technological innovation in the factory of the future

A booming economy, ubiquitous sensors, and ubiquitous cloud connectivity have begun to work together to accelerate the pace of change in factory systems and equipment.

A booming economy, ubiquitous sensors, and ubiquitous cloud connectivity have begun to work together to accelerate the pace of change in factory systems and equipment.

Faced with powerful economic and technological forces, the way factories operate is also changing rapidly. In this rapidly changing environment, adaptable factory equipment manufacturers will thrive as they develop increasingly networked and intelligent systems, increase factory flexibility and safety, and expand connectivity while , continue to provide security for the entire system. The widespread use of automated and autonomous systems will reduce factories’ reliance on repetitive labor or complex manual operations.

Semiconductors will be at the heart of a new generation of industrial automation equipment, providing the necessary processing, control and sensing capabilities to ensure that these devices operate effectively in a networked environment.

Always thriving at the intersection of the analog and digital worlds, Analog Devices has a first-hand understanding of the technological transformation needs of new factory automation equipment. With deep expertise in detection, signal conditioning, digital signal processing, wired and wireless connectivity, and software, Analog Devices can effectively address the challenges faced by industrial customers and develop application-oriented solutions that shorten the time required for OEM manufacturers’ products. time to market. ADI’s goal is to help customers innovate through technology to prepare for future growth, while providing ongoing support for legacy systems by securing long-term availability of industrial components.

The future will bring profoundly disruptive changes, all stemming from one wildly popular trend: universal prosperity around the world.

The general prosperity of the global economy

Disposable incomes have grown significantly this century in parts traditionally considered developing countries. As a result, growing global demand for manufactured goods is forcing manufacturers to expand production while offering increasingly diverse product configurations to meet changing regional and national demands.

At the same time, a growing global economic boom is reducing the supply of cheap, unskilled manual labor. Over the past 30 years, the one-time bonus that manufacturers earned by outsourcing production to low-cost regions such as China has faded as wages have risen in those regions; today, a well-educated workforce is gradually losing the stamina for low-paying repetitiveness interest in labor. In the future, manufacturers will increase their competitiveness by deploying automation technology rather than moving to new low-cost locations.

Smart Connected Factory

New technological capabilities also help manufacturers gain additional value from their investments in factory automation equipment.

The proliferation of tiny, high-performance semiconductor sensors and the ubiquitous networked devices have generated vast amounts of machine and process characterization data. Now, data analytics technologies show unprecedented potential in a wealth of new applications, such as equipment health monitoring, preventive maintenance, and more. At the same time, the ubiquity of programmable hardware and software-defined Electronic functions has created the possibility for rapid reconfiguration of factory processes and tools.

It can be seen that the factories of the future will be more agile, able to respond to demand in a more timely manner, with further increased automation and increased reliability. There will be less operator demand and less downtime due to unplanned maintenance.

So, what technologies in analog and digital semiconductors will enable this new model of factory automation?

Sensors – the key to equipment health monitoring

MEMS sensor technology enables the development of new sensors that are compact, reliable, and capable of accurately measuring vibration and motion. For example, low-noise, wide-bandwidth accelerometers can identify subtle changes in machine vibration signatures with extreme precision and accuracy. Combined with sensor analysis software, these devices can help equipment operators identify the source of potential failures in advance and take preventive maintenance actions before they occur.

As an application, equipment health monitoring is not limited to traditional factory environments. Mobile or remote industrial equipment can use wireless connections to report diagnostic information and operational status to a central controller. Using battery Power or intermittent power sources such as solar power, these types of applications require ultra-low power sensing solutions.

High-speed factory floor connectivity solutions

With the rapid proliferation of sensors in factories and processing plants, the result is an enormous amount of real-time data. Traditional communication protocols between sensor nodes and PLCs, such as 4 mA to 20 mA control loops, will give way to various versions of the Superfast Ethernet The high integration of infrastructure creates the conditions.

To meet this new demand for high-speed data transmission in factories, OEMs need to deploy future-upgradeable systems that not only support the industrial Ethernet protocols in use today, but also emerging Ethernet variants – time Sensitive Networking (TSN), which is likely to become the wired networking technology standard for real-time industrial communications. To support this transition, ADI has introduced an Ethernet platform that enables systems to switch from one Ethernet protocol to another without redesigning the hardware.

Connecting sensor nodes in locations that are hard to reach with physical wiring also requires reliable wireless sensor network technology. SmartMesh®, WirelessHART and other wireless network technologies for demanding IoT applications provide an effective high-performance wireless connection method for industrial automation equipment.

Autonomous Machine Safety System

Self-driving cars and collaborative robots offer huge scope for expanding the use of automation technology in factories and warehouses. The challenge facing industry is how to ensure safety and ensure that autonomous machines have full environmental awareness. Advanced radar and lidar technologies raise the bar for accuracy and precision in object and proximity detection and 3D mapping applications.

Protect factories from cyberattacks

As the number of connected devices increases, so does the risk of hackers conducting attacks to blackmail factory operators, as well as state-backed attackers with the intent of disrupting high-value industrial systems.

As factory operators connect more and more nodes to the cloud, they actually open up new avenues for hackers to attack. Semiconductor-based connectivity systems require the deployment of robust security mechanisms optimized for embedded systems. Analog Devices is developing new solutions to address emerging security threats to industrial systems, thereby future-proofing customers’ industrial infrastructures.

Configurable production process

The factory of the future must be able to adapt quickly to new demands and new workflows; the key is to build flexibility from the architectural layer into industrial automation technology products. One way to address this need for flexibility is software-defined I/O, a solution that can be configured as analog or digital, input or output, without changing the wiring.

To advance today’s technology, Analog Devices has introduced robust and flexible industrial output solutions that fully configure analog outputs through software and support a variety of industry standards.

Integrated analog, digital and software

The development and production of industrial automation equipment is evolving into an ever-increasing high-tech business that needs to meet end-user demands for higher throughput, higher configurability, higher operational security, and higher cloud integration. At the same time, manufacturers face another type of pressure to bring products to market quickly with new, more complex designs.

Faced with this demand, ADI has launched an integrated product for customers, providing market-oriented solutions for a variety of applications such as equipment health monitoring, high-speed connectivity, safety, and security systems. Combining analog, mixed-signal and digital components with firmware and software, the product addresses customers’ most pressing development problems, enabling them to quickly and effectively address current and future growing technical and economic challenges.

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