Power quality expert REO UK has developed a Profinet I/O module designed for food production machines that can be easily integrated into Industry 4.0 networks. The module returns operational metrics to a supervisory system, allowing for easy monitoring of all production processes. This results in increased operational efficiency and reduced waste by providing accurate feedback on the position of actuators.
The module provides manufacturers with additional functionality to their standard Profinet, in the form of an analogue input that feeds back the relative position of a mechanical actuator. By having a function to return operational metrics to a supervisory system, the likelihood of wastage is reduced.
Actuators often play essential roles in food processing applications, allowing for increased productivity and a higher degree of quality assurance. However, they are also prone to problems with positioning, caused by a range of reasons from overheating to mechanical fault.
“In a food environment, things are constantly moving through a process so it is crucial that all sections operate relative to one another,” said Steve Hughes, managing director of REO UK. “This not only cuts down on the amount of waste produced but also maximises productivity by highlighting problems the moment they arise.
“While many pieces of equipment are being readied for the age of Industry 4.0, there are many important applications that are still trailing behind. It doesn’t make sense for factories to take substantial steps forward without a guarantee that their equipment will be compatible. Our Profinet module not only sends operational metrics of actuators but it can also act as a node, accepting inputs from other sensors. This allows consolidation of data and offers improvements to network speed, bridging the gap between industry 3.0 and 4.0.”
REO’s sample Profinet modules demonstrate its ability to integrate technology with the concept of Industry 4.0 in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT). With this integration, businesses can move forward into utilising an IoT network without fear of interface incompatibility.