Monitoring manufacturing processes to optimize energy consumption

Mar 14, 2013

Saving energy is becoming ever more important for manufacturing companies. One prerequisite is to capture the machines' energy consumption for each step in the production process. This can be achieved with a monitoring system developed by Fraunhofer FIT that, due to its service-oriented architecture and its ability to use heterogeneous sensors, can easily be integrated in existing facilities. FIT demonstrates this system at HANNOVER MESSE, April 8 – 12, 2013, hall 17 / booth F14, using a production line in the automobile industry as an example.

Most manufacturing companies have by now taken the 'easy' steps to optimize , e.g. by replacing old, energy-guzzling machines by more efficient ones. Pneumatic drives are another example: Here improvements that are relatively easy to implement lead to of ten percent or more.

Beyond that, potential efficiency improvements in manufacturing can be realized only if the production as a whole is examined from a process-oriented perspective. For this problem Fraunhofer FIT has developed a solution. The system is a based on a service-oriented architecture. It makes it easy to link up existing devices and sensors; additional measuring technology can be integrated efficiently. As it can be extended flexibly, the software platform supports a pragmatic approach. At the start the existing data sources are used. Additional sensors can be added later on, as needed.

First a is represented in a BPMN process model. The machines and sensors involved in a particular process step, and what identifies its start and end, are defined. This makes it possible to capture the data separately for each process step and optimally adjusted to the task at hand.

The data is aggregated as required and sent to existing IT business systems like an ERP or a MES. This makes it possible to optimize manufacturing processes or to identify machines that are not optimally utilized. In the acquisition process, the data is analyzed to identify situations that require immediate reaction. Then other IT systems or workers responsible for solving the problem are notified ad hoc.

"It is a real challenge to integrate the plethora of devices involved, coming from many different manufacturers and using diverse communication protocols and interfaces, in a coherent system and to make the massive amounts of data they generate usable in a company's business IT systems. With our software platform, this can be done," says Dr. Markus Eisenhauer, head of Fraunhofer FIT's department User-Centered Computing.

The system offers a broad range of potential applications. In addition to , it can integrate actuators that, depending on the data just measured, trigger specific changes in the manufacturing process. As an example, the system could send a message when a sensor detects vibrations that may indicate an impending breakdown of a machine. This message might be displayed on a mobile device of the worker(s) responsible for this particular machine or it might be sent to a control room. In combination with business IT systems or specialized analysis software, our makes manufacturing processes transparent and helps identify areas for further optimization that were not visible before.

At HANNOVER MESSE, April 8 – 12, 2013, Fraunhofer FIT demonstrates the monitoring system, using a production line in the as an example. Meet our experts in hall 17 / booth F14.

Explore further: FAA, industry launch drone safety campaign

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Quiet area for sensitive devices

Mar 15, 2011

Devices for precise analysis or manufacturing are very sensitive to ambient vibrations. The German experts at Fraunhofer have developed an insulation unit that actively counteracts these effects emanating from the environment. ...

'Good-bye, blind spot' -- man and machine always in view

Mar 22, 2011

Particular care must be taken in a production hall where robots and men work together, where even minor carelessness could result in serious accidents or stop production. At the Hannover Messe trade fair that ...

Lego system for production facilities

Mar 11, 2008

Things that work on a small scale are not necessarily as successful on a large one. It takes a lot of patience and money to scale up analytical or therapeutic processes from the laboratory to industrial manufacture. ...

Cycling More Intelligently

Apr 11, 2008

Modern bicycles leave nothing to be desired. 21, 24, 27 gears! For many amateur cyclists, such luxury is too much of a good thing. They change gear too infrequently and too late, get out of breath and don’t ...

How to help heal an injured joint

Mar 18, 2011

Knee patients need patience: injuries to these joints take weeks to heal. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a system that documents the healing process in detail. This motivates patients and at the same time helps ...

Recommended for you

FAA, industry launch drone safety campaign

4 hours ago

Alarmed by increasing encounters between small drones and manned aircraft, drone industry officials said Monday they are teaming up with the government and model aircraft hobbyists to launch a safety campaign.

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

Dec 20, 2014

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.