Powering the Industrial Internet of Things with Industry 4.0Follow article
Technological advancements are shifting factory floors into a new era of possibilities, with continuous improvement enabling results that were unimaginable until now.
As Industry 4.0 increases the use of enhanced machinery, how are we going to keep up with the increased level of interaction within the production process?
Evolution of IIoT
The Industrial Internet of Things is now very much a reality. Once merely a concept, IIoT or Industry 4.0 is now driving growth across multiple markets. This includes the increased use of ultra-low-power (ULP) wireless technology in the internetworking of sensors and other devices, which can now ensure superior and efficient communications.
Multiple contenders have been identified in the race for the preferred ULP wireless protocol, but what will be the leading technology?
The wireless platforms that enable the Industrial Internet of Things to prosper are based on RF coaxial connectors, antennas and cable assemblies. The need for both standard and custom products is present, and in some instances, manufacturers require a completely unique solution for their IIoT design, for example, communication technologies that include Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, GPS and UMTS.
The maturity of many of these technologies is yet to develop, but some of the products that are at the forefront of IIoT, such as sensors, have been available for years. Sensors such as pressure and temperature sensors are now designed into a huge number of devices. Some examples of this include accelerometers in mobile devices, which allow the display to change with the orientation of the screen.
Multi-Functional Fusion Sensors
Separate functions are now being combined to create a multi-functional or “fusion” sensor. These fusions can be used in IIoT and may accelerate the space and cost-saving trends we have seen over previous years.
The introduction of standard industrial protocols such as IO-Link will also allow sensors to become smarter and to provide more diagnostic and maintenance information – all while keeping costs low. The industrial infrastructures installed on the factory floor are transitioning from proprietary and serial fieldbus into innovative Ethernet-based networks like PROFINET. Molex is pushing IO-Link technology as a communication standard to replace classic digital and analogue interfaces. These networks can easily accommodate the higher data volumes required by these new capabilities.
Although the protocols mentioned above are crucial to the development of IIoT, we must remember that it is technology convergence that has brought this vision to life. Next-generation sensor chips have been a core element of this convergence, along with IPv6 addressing, which allows unlimited communications between people and devices.
Molex is working on platform solutions to help customers integrate the technologies of tomorrow. This includes IIoT, distributed control, integrated safe and secure solutions and industrial communication. As a leader in the development of technologies at the forefront of this evolution, Molex provides both standard and custom solutions for a wealth of applications across the Industry 4.0.
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