Smart factories demand clever sourcing

Industry 4.0 and the internet of things open new opportunities for production planning and predictive maintenance on the shop floor. Harting’s IoT portfolio helps realise these benefits—even in legacy equipment.

The speed and capability of IoT and Industry 4.0 are constantly evolving. As a result, demand for equipment to accommodate enhanced communication methods is increasing too. Harting’s forward-thinking approach therefore sees the company constantly developing solutions to make the benefits of the IoT a reality.

New equipment to support the IoT must be compact, robust and easy-to-use and the Modular Industry Computer Architecture, a rugged industrial computer designed for use in production environments, is one such product.

MICA allows manufacturers to access information from machines such as energy use and cycle times and combine it with production figures to generate valuable real-time data. Once this information is unlocked, it provides a much better understanding of what’s happening on the shop floor and allows users to develop strategies for efficient production planning and predictive maintenance.

Thanks to its open source software, the MICA is extremely versatile and can be used to undertake a variety of projects across a range of markets, including condition monitoring and asset management. What’s more, it can be easily retrofitted to older legacy machines in order to achieve all the benefits of Industry 4.0 and the IoT.

Condition monitoring solutions
Harting has also developed a fully functional new plug-and-play kit that utilises the MICA and enables digital condition monitoring of any kind of machinery or equipment. What’s particularly interesting about this development is that it can be installed in a few hours and begins to provide valuable production data immediately.

The robust and compact Bosch CISS sensor unit can be easily attached to any machine surface using the supplied magnets, allowing short-term diagnostics or permanent condition monitoring. Once it’s in place, it can simultaneously measure vibration, pressure, temperature, humidity, light, magnetic fields, acoustics and any changes in position.

Intuitive connectors
In addition to condition monitoring and production data, Harting’s connector technology has also advanced to meet the demands of new, high-tech manufacturing environments.

The PushPull range incorporates an uncomplicated connection and termination technique that ensures absolute dependency and reliability. This intuitive, tool-free method guarantees an error-free, secure connection as the two sections click into place, allowing interfaces to be changed quickly and easily without the need for specialist training.

Users can also allocate colour codes to each PushPull plug and socket to help reduce cabling errors. For example, you can easily colour code data, signal and power lines to ensure each line is easily identifiable.

When it comes to obtaining products, Harting is also committed to making partner collaboration and purchasing easier. Customers with direct accounts can now register for an eShop account, which allows users to place orders, check pricing and stock and track deliveries online. Harting also aims to have sustained and available stock of all class A products from its new European distribution centre; a customer-focused approach which allows the company to both manage customer expectations and provide a great service.