Industry 4.0 stands for networking and self-organisation, but this doesn’t mean that the intelligent production of the future will operate completely independently. It will be more a case that the role of humans and their interactions with systems will change. Functions that will play a key role here include mobile communications technology, smart devices and Cloud services, which are becoming noticeably prevalent in the field of machine construction.
“Until now, programming and diagnostic work on machinery has been performed using software installed on Windows-based PCs that are connected by cable to the hardware in question. In practice, this equates to a high level of dependency: on the location, the device and not least on the operating system. For example, there will be initial compatibility issues with every new version of Windows,” explains Michael Matthesius, Global Industry Development Manager for Machinery. “As a partner in the field of automation technology, we are therefore striving to address the question of how to stand out from the rigid platform of PC-based programming. And for us, the solution to this problem lies in focusing on a key information acquisition tool – the web browser. Regardless of the device being used, we see standardised, web-based technology as paving the way for us to develop the automation solution of the future.”
Mobile devices such as tablets allow for location-independent and mobile operation as part of the Smart Factory
In concrete terms, the key to ensuring device independence lies in relocating the engineering tool from a PC, for example, to the device control unit itself. This opens up a range of connection options: the engineering software can be accessed either directly, via a network or via a Cloud, with the option of offline programming without any connected hardware.
Take a look at our technology preview from the SPS 2016 in Nuremberg and discover how our engineering tool will make programming and commissioning more flexible, convenient and future-proof for our customers
Weidmüller is fully exploiting the possibilities offered by web-based engineering within its automation solution, which when expanded to include control components, constitutes a further development of the established "u-remote" remote I/O solution.
“The engineering tool integrated into the control unit has been set up such that the programming is based on IEC 61131-3, the globally applicable standard for programming languages for programmable controllers. The structures and commands are therefore commonly known and can be applied immediately,” explains Product Manager Detlef Grundke. “With the aim of reducing complexity, we are continuing to focus on consistently intuitive operation, which we achieve by means of a design optimised for all possible display
sizes and state-of-the-art web-based interfaces. Pre-assembled function blocks can be combined really easily on graphic interfaces using the drag-and-drop function, meaning that we can now talk about parameterization rather than programming.”
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Published in December 2016
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