Smart sensors ensuring efficient machine communication

Suppliers of information for Industry 4.0

Networked production and control
processes in complex machine environments are key to the industrial future, and
are what is making Industry 4.0 possible in the first place. Smart sensors
already support dynamic, real-time-optimised, and self-organised industry
processes. They record real operational statuses, turn these into digital data,
and share them automatically with the process controller.

Smart sensors generate data and
information that go beyond conventional switching signals or measured process parameters
and can share this with the controller using technology such as IO-Link. Conversely,
they are also able to receive commands and parameter data directly from the
controller and, as a result, constantly adapt to new requirements. This allows
them to create substantial increases in efficiency, flexibility, and better
planning security for preventative system maintenance.

The added value of sensor
communication depends significantly on the quality and stability of the
delivered data. To create the best possible basis for a future-ready automation
system, SICK has equipped its smart sensors with special properties to ensure
they provide exactly the right level of performance for every application.

‘Enhanced sensing’ delivers
reliable detection and measurement results, which have a direct impact on
system throughput. For the ‘Efficient communication’ feature, smart sensors can
communicate with higher-level control systems via IO-Link – making dynamic
configuration changes as well as plug and play device replacements in plants a
reality. The ‘Diagnostics’ functions comprise of automated sensor
self-monitoring and process parameter monitoring for the preventative device
and system maintenance. ‘Smart tasks’ offer intelligent additional sensor
functions on the one hand and direct networking of multiple sensors on the
other to manage partial applications faster, more efficiently, and more
cost-effectively.

From smart sensors to smart application solutions

Smart sensors are set to open up
new potential incrementally. They are designed for gradual increases in
efficiency in existing tasks, such as parameter downloading for fast retooling
as well as simple device replacement, configuration management, and condition
monitoring. The additional integrated functions and the option of relocating
processing power from the automation system to field devices – represent a
future-proof approach to making automation networks more efficient and helping
them to deliver better performance. They make it possible to generate new,
higher-quality information that goes beyond object detection, accommodating the
application in question. Where necessary, this information can be generated in
combination with another sensor and provided for higher-level systems (PLC,
ERP, and cloud systems).

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