Requirements of Modern Automation Systems

Innovative automation concepts require radical rethinking. The center of attention is no longer the system or component, but instead the person, who is efficiently supported while performing automation tasks. The measuring and automation technology must adapt to the person, not vice versa. In this article you will learn what requirements these concepts must meet.

New concepts are in demand

In the past, interaction between the individual components of a system, such as measurement sensors and drives, was frequently only possible through complicated transfer channels and interface converters. To keep track of these increasingly complex systems, there has been a consistent shift over the course of time to uniform interfaces and components structured as a modular system.

Product developers and production planners are searching for essentially the same thing: flexible systems featuring easy integration of new web-based technologies that require minimal time for new employees to become proficient. There are some fundamental differences between automation tasks and product development tasks. Product development requires precise measurement acquisition with high recording rates. In automation applications, on the other hand, sequences must be performed in deterministic real time to run the machines in an optimum operating state. The measurement data has very little significance in this case, while diagnostic data has a higher priority. These once distinct areas have now long since grown together in mechatronic systems. Ideally the components are flexible enough so they can be used in both areas.

Operation Technology (OT) and information technology (IT) are converging

The same applies to testing and control software. Measured quantities from the test field must be saved and analyzed with suitable software. Due to the large data quantities involved, this software is PC-based and is transferred via an Ethernet interface to a measurement computer. In the next step, parts and methods of the evaluating software will then be reused piecemeal in the production environment, in combination with elements of the control technology. In addition, a high degree of real-time behavior is often required for mechatronic systems in production environments to guarantee smooth interaction between all the components without any errors.

HBM offers a wide range of concepts for sensors and measurement acquisition for development and for production itself. In addition to providing suitable sensors, modern measurement electronics makes up the core of the measuring chain for production.

Often existing systems are not able to keep pace with the requirements and data quantities of modern, highly dynamic production lines. Important criteria for successfully using this type of measurement system include data transfer in real time and high memory capacities. Simple parameterization and visualization of measurement data for different groups of employees and operators are also important.

a modern measurement chaiin covering the sensors, electrinics, and interfaces
The modern measurement chain: from the sensor through the electronics to the output.

Integrated automation concepts

Time is money – and saving time means saving money. This formula has taken on proverbial significance for machine and system manufacturers. An automation device must be able to handle as many tasks and processes as possible quickly, easily and without errors. It is also important not to forget the human component. That means easy operation, visualization [...]

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