There is no one-size-fits-all solution in the world of manufacturing. Automating processes is a complex issue, with robots ranging from the size of an insect to as powerful enough to move automobile chassis. In recent years, a new term has been coined by manufacturers and machine builders to define a breed of robots that can work in conjunction with human presence: collaborative robots, or cobots.
The widespread adoption of power electronics in the industrial sector did lead to astonishing energy savings, however at the same time it also increased the presence of a negative factor within the electric grid: Harmonics.
Harmonics are voltage & current waveforms that are sinusoids with frequencies that are some multiple of the base signal’s frequency. Normally, the world follows a pure sinusoid of either 50Hz or 60Hz. When a harmonic of 3rd order is introduced at a 60Hz power system, a component of frequency 180Hz is added to the system. This in effect, distorts the shape of the voltage & current signal that is fed to the appliance/component/machine. Example of non-linear loads include battery chargers, UPSs, VFDs, LED drivers, electronic ballasts, etc., most of which are usually found within commercial or industrial buildings.
Pittsburgh was once as renowned for pollution as it was for industry and manufacturing. Decades after the Smoky City cleaned up its act and became a modern pillar of education, healthcare, technology, and finance, many people still associate Pittsburgh with a coal-gray haze.
Now manufacturing itself has undergone a millennial renaissance, yet it still carries a bad reputation as dirty and dangerous work.
But like Pittsburgh, the nature of industry has changed.
The excitement and thrill regardingInternet of Things (IoT), Smart-Factory and Industry 4.0 keeps on sky-rocketing, especially as more manufacturers start embracing these concepts. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIot) is based on forming connections between sensors and equipment, and manipulating the data collected as basis for intelligent decisions. This data alone is then responsible for insights, trends, predictions, etc. that can help organizations boost their productivity.
Data has always been there around us; it’s only a matter of harnessing it that makes all the difference. The Industrial Internet of Things is poised to revolutionize manufacturing by arming devices with data and connecting them to a centralized system. In theory, this would enable them to do anything from providing in-depth data, learning machine’s workings and optimizing operations.
Along with heat, dust and poor lubrication, moisture is one of the leading causes of motor failure. Compared to installations in dry areas, electric motors get an instant slump in their operating lives as soon as they’re set-up in a damp area. For instance, when a warm motor shuts down, it sucks in cool air, which naturally would contain moisture due to the location. This leads to condensation droplets that are absorbed by the insulation, leading to corrosion of the windings. Furthermore, motors that are operated intermittently are at greater risk since they can accumulate moisture and with the passage of time deteriorate a motor’s operational life.
Automation isn’t a desire, it’s a need of the hour. Every plant operations manager is aware of this need and the impact it has on the overall safety, reliability and economic efficiency. Still, companies are sometimes suspicious of adopting such technologies as the risk for failure is significant while the margin of error near to zero. This is especially true in large-scale industries where even a single hour of downtime due to delayed or malfunctioned automation can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of losses.
Dedicated departments for engineering, environment, health and safety can be found in almost every mid to large sized manufacturing company. These departments have little collective knowledge-pool and coherence, since traditionally their KPIs have very little overlapping. For instance, engineers continuously work with operations to improve productivity & efficiency of the equipment, while safety professionals analyze & reduce risks. Therefore, it’s very rare for the two departments to cross paths. However, this attitude has to change if an enterprise wants to keep itself at par with the competition and adjust according to the latest market trends.
There’s no single way to do something right. Instead there are multiple paths of which the most suitable one must be chosen according to the situation. HMIs play a vital role in driving the industrial bandwagon, providing us with monitoring, control & automation capabilities. When working with HMIs, there are a few factors that you should be particularly careful about. All of these have been discussed in detail below.
Despite the string of advancements in the field of automation, robotics remains a relatively young field, holding promises that would take years to mature on a large-scale. The success of robots however has sparked interest of several businesses, and many have started migrating towards this technology.