Technology is changing the face of machine safety with increased sophistication and greater use of robotics, and subsequently there is growing demand for smart manufacturing solutions that bring together human and artificial intelligence.
ABB is in a position to drive these changes, with solutions including future vision systems, remote maintenance for safety systems, increased collaboration between operators and machines and self-learning/correcting machines.
Smart factories will encourage the production of machines that can talk to each other and to humans, and harnessing technology will not only increase productivity - operators will predict downtime if the machines can communicate when their servicing is imminent - but safety too.
Industry 4.0 means there is greater demand for flexibility in automation without neglecting safety. The market is, therefore, gearing up for the introduction of these more intelligent solutions, and ABB has been at the forefront, with the launch of its factory of the future
A great example is ABB's Pluto programmable logic controller [PLC] with Eden sensors, which allow machines to be controlled and monitored from a central location.
For more than a decade, Pluto and Eden have been helping manufacturers to exceed their safety standards, whilst bringing down costs. The Eden sensors now have an added StatusBus function, which is a simple and efficient way to get the status of each individual sensor for a machine, minimizing the amount of wiring necessary without requiring a complex bus communication protocol.
Using only one PLC input for the status of up to 30 sensors, Pluto can monitor large and complex machine safety systems and forward the status to other control systems and operator panels, giving operators a complete picture and allowing fast corrections when necessary.
Pluto also offers the possibility to safely monitor the safety system from a remote location via Internet and a gateway. This is useful for regular monitoring of the status of the safety system or process and also simplifies troubleshooting.
Giampiero Frisio, managing director of ABB's Protection and Connection business, said: "The Pluto PLC range demonstrates how ABB technologies help customers deliver high quality solutions that make the most challenging environments safer and simpler to achieve."
Traditionally robots have been kept behind fences because they were designed to complete heavy lifting tasks, but nowadays operators work more closely with them than ever before. Newer, smaller robots are starting to be used outside of the fences. This creates new opportunities and challenges for the manufacturing industry as well as the safety standards.
Eden delivers higher reliability than traditional safety switches and features, such as its uniquely coded sensors which are specified by the safety standards, help minimize the possibility to bypass the sensor.
The increase in more reliable sensors and intelligent machines have made it possible to develop more advanced safety solutions that are better adapted to the needs of applications where operators work more closely with robots. And with digitization comes the responsibility of storing, protecting and analyzing data safely.
ABB's CMS-700 energy monitor and control unit, for example, provides easy access for data management through a built-in web server, to manage power and optimize energy efficiency analysis in a circuit monitoring system. The system is expanded with a new generation of open core sensors that can be connected to existing installations without disconnecting the power, providing a high degree of measurement accuracy.
Giampiero added: "The range of products within the Protection and Connection business, demonstrates our commitment to delivering smart, digitalized solutions that meet the needs of manufacturers striving for Industry 4:0 and set the standard in terms of efficiency and safety."
ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics, motion control, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry, transport & infrastructures globally. Backed by a history of innovation that began over 125 years ago, ABB is now writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Fourth Industrial and Energy Revolutions. ABB has around 135,000 employees and operates in more than 100 countries. www.abb.com
For more information please contact:
Head of Communications
Electrification Products Division
Affolternstrasse 44, P.O. Box
CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0)43 317 54 04