Siemens looks to speed up industrial IoT development
Siemens will work with an Austrian university to explore industrial IoT for manufacturing
Siemens has announced a cooperation agreement with an Austrian university to research how 5G technology can support manufacturing production lines equipped with industrial IoT solutions. The German company and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology will jointly work in the UNWIRE project, in which the manufacturer will explore ways to replace cable connections with wireless connectivity in production systems.
Siemens highlighted the replacement of cable connections with highly reliable wireless communication systems such as 5G would significantly increase the scope of reconfiguration in production facilities. This would pave the way for completely new and efficient production processes, the German firm said.
The project will particularly focus on how 5G can meet the low latency requirements of manufacturing automation. UNWIRE is funded by the Production of the Future program run by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit).
“The demands placed on the wireless links which replace cables in an industrial setting are particularly challenging,” Martin Schiefer, head of the radio frequency research group at Siemens Corporate Technology in Vienna, said. “Safety requirements and production efficiency necessitate an extremely high level of availability, as well as minimal latencies for highly dynamic control operations.”
“We measure the properties of radio waves in complex and large-scale industrial settings. This data is used to assess the performance of future industrial wireless systems,” said Thomas Zemen, project manager at AIT. “This allows us to examine and validate the most effective signal processing algorithms and diversity mechanisms for the robust operation of a wireless communications system in real-world industrial scenarios. In doing so we can pave the way for flexible production processes, which allow for increased capacity utilisation and minimise conversion costs.”
Zemen also said that the UNWIRE research project allows Siemens to develop an optimum wireless solution for future industrial use, based on 5G and beyond.
In December 2017, Huawei Wireless X Labs, together with several industry partners, have established the Wireless Connected Factory Special Interest Group (SIG) to focus on manufacturing use cases that can be supported by 5G.
Huawei said the new group and facility will focus on the field of smart manufacturing to conduct further research and promote extensive applications of 5G communication technologies in Industry 4.0.
SIG’s members include Huawei, ABB, Efort, Bosch, Beckhoff, Hikrobot, Geely, KUKA, and Shenyang Institute of Automation Chinese Academy of Sciences, among others.
A spokesperson for Huawei told Enterprise IoT Insights that Huawei X Labs and its partners are focusing on four research priorities, namely cloud-based programmable logic controllers (PLC), wireless industrial cameras, wireless controlled automated guided vehicles (AGV), and industrial wearables such as industrial AR glasses.
According to the Chinese vendor, flexible manufacturing based on smart machines will help redefine future production lines.
The number of Industrial IoT connections was expected to rise 25% or by 13 million last year, according to figures from ABI Research. Most of these devices will be connected through fixed line, with around 25% connected wirelessly.
Most of the expected growth was expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, which was expected to add five million new connections in 2017.
ABI Research said it expects that 18 million new devices will be added in the subsequent years to 2021.