Networks and intelligent products are basic requirements for industry 4.0. They are able to say: “Who am I, Where am I, How do I feel? Industry 4.0 opens new perspectives and new business ideas. Compared to the current automation world, which is mainly device-oriented, Industry 4.0 offers a holistic system view. In addition, the technology enables manufacturer-independent access to device data, additional standardized services, and simplified device administration. Sensors such as encoders and slip rings play a decisive role here.
Kübler will use various use cases to demonstrate which additional tasks can be performed by slip rings in addition to the pure recording of speed and position by rotary encoders and the transmission of power, signals, and data. Connectivity, Identifications, Diagnostics, and Adaptability — these are features that Kübler believes an industry 4.0 product should bring with it.
Encoders – Industry 4.0 ready
Which industry 4.0 functionalities an encoder needs to be “industry 4.0 ready” depends on the overall concept. The decisive factor here is the role assigned to the encoder. Either as an independent industry 4.0 object (asset) or as a part of it. This determines whether the encoder must have its own management shell or be integrated into an existing management shell. in encoders with their own management shell not only has functions at the “field level”, but also at the “control level” and even up to direct edge communication. In the highest configuration level, for example, one speaks of an Industrial Ethernet encoder with integrated web server and additional OPC UA protocol. As a use case, the commissioning of a drive axis with Industrial Ethernet encoders, for example, can be simplified thanks to the electronic nameplate. All information about the operating range, maximum speed, maximum temperature, and the installation location of the motor and encoder is available and can be called up here.
Slip rings – Industry 4.0 enabler
Slip rings are highly integrated components of complex machines. They can provide a great deal of reliable information about the condition of the machine and maintenance requirements. Kübler, therefore, uses the slip rings as an “Industry 4.0 enabler” and has integrated sensor systems into its smart slip rings without taking up any additional valuable installation space. The precise measurement and monitoring of axis movements, vibrations, and temperature, coupled with the storage of lifetime histograms, provide all the necessary information for condition monitoring. As a use case, the slip ring is available as a product-as-a-service. In this case, the slip ring is offered as a service or Kübler ensures that reliable transmission of power, signals, and data is permanently guaranteed. Thanks to integrated sensors, additional status variables are recorded and used for condition monitoring and lifetime histograms. This ensures a high level of system availability, as this is detected in good time in the event of maintenance.