Manufacturing tech trends shaping the industry in 2015
The manufacturing sector is changing at a meteoric pace and much of this change is due to innovation and progression in technology. Manufacturing Global takes a look at the tech solutions having the greatest impact on the industry.
Additive manufacturing, or 3d printing, is big news in the manufacturing sector. The new technology has captured the imagination of the general public and manufacturing executives alike, however it has also proven to be a game-changer for the industry.
Additive manufacturing technology has evolved so much in recent years, to the point where it can produce components made of metals, mixed materials, plastics and even human tissue. The benefits of 3d printing include shorter lead times, improved quality and reduced waste, flexibility and cost savings.
Additive manufacturing is creating a shift in the way engineers and designers think about product development, therefore changing the way we train future manufacturing employees.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) allows devices to communicate with one another automatically without human input and is having a profound effect on the manufacturing sector. The benefits of IoT technology include, reduced down time due to the fact that machines can notify mechanics about defects and required maintenance; increased quality; less waste; and greater visibility of the manufacturing floor via big data analytics, which in turn leads to improvements across the board.
Nanotechnology is one of the most interesting – and potentially game changing - technologies to come to the fore in recent years. Nanotech, or the manipulation of matter on atomic and molecular scales, is currently used to describe micro-scale technology in everything from space technology to biotech. As such, nanotech has already changed the world. But the fruition of atomically precise manufacturing (APM) — nanotech’s next phase — promises to create such ‘radical abundance’ that it will not only change industry but civilization itself.
Though many business leaders still have reservations about the cloud for manufacturing application, the space is advancing rapidly to address major concerns around connectivity and security, as well as other issues, while making the benefits of cloud adoption too attractive to ignore.
The benefits of implementing cloud computing technology include greater visibility of the manufacturing plant, both locally and globally – for example a manufacturer can share data quickly and effectively from one facility to another; cost saving insofar as cloud computing will lower the cost of ownership when it comes to implementing software and greater quality control and performance management.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.