IDE Online Magazine Abril 2017 - Page 164

Industry 4.0 – From Vision to Reality

Concrete Benefits for Industrial Value Chains

The digital transformation towards networked production environments in terms of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) and/or the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining momentum. Numerous applications from the areas of product and process monitoring, labelling technology, packaging, logistics as well as maintenance and repair show already today the optimisation potential that this transformation to the Internet of Things holds.

These “things” are sensors, RFID chips (Radio Frequency Identification), devices, machines and plants. In future, these “things” are not only expected to deliver information on all important process and system conditions independently and continuously but they are also expected to communicate with each other via the Internet and intervene in manufacturing processes to correct and optimise them without human intervention. The basis for this web-based communication is the Internet Protocol (IP) with its unique-identifier IP addresses. The old Internet Protocol IPv4, however, was only capable of delivering an address space of just under 4.3 billion IP-addresses – and these had already all been allocated as early as 2012 – to PCs, notebooks, tablet-PCs and mobile phones. This is why the new standard IPv6 was developed which has an address space of 3.4 x 1038 IP addresses. So a lack of addresses is no longer a worry. The changeover to IPv6 is still in full swing. So the challenges are not so much the things as such and their addresses but rather the flood of data they cause when one fine day billions of sensors will be transmitting thousands of data per second to host computers. This data then has to be evaluated for visualisations and simulations and to be saved for documentation purposes (traceability).