IDE Online Magazine Mayo 2017 - Page 122

The youngest generation of Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) picks up on the look & feel of smartphones. Thanks to the intuitive operation via a touch-sensitive surface, it is possible to input data and navigate using gestures.

Industry 4.0 components create the prerequisite for the synchronisation between the individual components and for the networking of the machines among each other. Controls, servo drives, pneumatics, I/Os and sensors – every component is trimmed to efficiency and makes a contribution to the overall performance of the line. Fast, real-time compatible bus systems replace the old cables more and more frequently. Due to the provision of all common fieldbus interfaces such as CAN bus, Profibus, ProfiNet or EtherCAT, a cross-manufacturer universally configurable connection to the control can be realised, which keeps pace with the growing data rates. What was still considered to be utopian a few years ago, is now within reach thanks to compact servo drives with decentralised control intelligence: the mass-produced packing machine without a control cabinet.

Starting signal for the digital twin

The packing mechanical engineers are currently taking the vision of Industry 4.0 to the extreme with the realisation of an ambitious concept: the digital twin. It is soon to accompany every plant from the first idea through to the modernisation. We are talking about a virtual image of the real machine, which is constructed and expanded parallel to the real machine – ideally throughout the entire life cycle. Here, virtual sensors process the measured data about the status of the plant into complex reports. In this way, even before the first real food is packed, the engineers can simulate the production process, find out weak points and integrate further modules into the plant in a targeted manner. The concept goes much further than merely mapping the packing machine. It functions bidirectionally and enables an optimised machine design, uncomplicated commissioning, short changeover times and faultless operation. In this way, the real and virtual production merge together to form an intelligent overall system.

The initial approaches of the digital twin for packing machines will be on display at Anuga FoodTec from 20.-23.03.2018. Wherever the journey is heading: Armed with the machines and components presented in Cologne, the food manufacturers will be well equipped for packing their products fast and flexibly.

The next Anuga FoodTec will take place from 20 to 23 March 2018 in Cologne. The trade fair is jointly organised by Koelnmesse and the German Agricultural Society (DLG).