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Demonstrating the benefits of transmission of data to the cloud

16 August 2017

Industry 4.0 success relies on capturing, transmitting and processing data. This means that connectivity is now a vital requirement for all equipment and is the reason that Rittal has incorporated communication capabilities into its new cooling units and chillers.

Rittal’s Blue e+ cooling units and chillers consume an average of 70% less power than their conventional counterparts. They are also able to transmit key data to a smartphone quickly and simply via a near field communication (NFC) connection. Further, Rittal’s parameterisation and diagnostics software uses a USB interface or a network to support system operation and to deliver rapid support for maintenance and repairs.

The new communications module – Com Modul – also allows the cooling units and chillers to communicate with higher-level systems via OPC UA, PROFINET, SNMP, Modbus RTU and CAN Master – helping enable predictive maintenance and data analytics.

At Hannover Messe, Rittal demonstrated how the system works, using both Siemens MindSphere and IBM’s Watson IoT.

MindSphere is a cloud-based, open IoT (Internet of Things) operating system, which enables customers to develop their own Industry 4.0 applications offers a scalable platform which can capture and analyse huge volumes of data – paving the way for smart-factory processes in energy data management and resource optimisation, for example. Additionally, it harnesses analytics to predict when repairs and maintenance are required. This cuts costs and raises system uptime in comparison to work performed at predefined intervals. The solution also calculates the shortest routes for service engineers to take for these tasks – which can be particularly advantageous at facilities with a large number of machines. Plus, because up-to-the-minute data on each unit is available on the IoT platform, staff know what replacement parts they will require for the job in hand, eliminating the need for multiple trips.

The IBM Watson IoT demonstration showed how Rittal products interoperate with this cloud-based data analytics system, using a machine at Rittal’s production plant in Germany to show how the collected data can be used to improve efficiency. 

Watson’s architecture is designed to rapidly process information, and employs machine learning algorithms to analyse growing data volumes with increasing precision – with the aim of finding better answers to a variety of challenges. 

This type of data analytics applications help streamline maintenance and cut downtime. For the machine designer the solution’s also open up new business opportunities, providing an opportunity to offer smart maintenance contracts.

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