Technical Interoperability for Machine Connectivity on the Shop Floor
Journal article, 2018
This paper presents a generic technical solution that can increase Industry 4.0 maturity by collecting data from sensors and control systems on the shop floor. Within the research project “5G-Enabled Manufacturing”, an LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network with 5G technologies was deployed on the shop floor to enable fast and scalable connectivity. This network was used to connect a grinding machine to a remote private cloud where data was stored and streamed to a data analytics center. This enabled visibility and transparency of the production data, which is the basis for Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing. The solution is described with a focus on high-level communication technologies above wireless communication standards. These technologies are discussed regarding technical interoperability, focusing on the system layout, communication standards, and open systems. From the discussion, it can be derived that generic solutions such as this are possible, but manufacturing end-users must expand and further internalize knowledge of future information and communication technologies to reduce their dependency on equipment and technology providers.