Industry 4.0 Upgrade for Existing Plants

New Industry 4.0 communication technologies allow for a standardized data exchange between communication partners. That way classical controls can be connected to modern, web-based HMI/SCADA systems processing up-to-date front end technologies more easily.

With OPC UA servers or MQTT brokers, for example, we train our ProBAS  multi platform automation system, that is well established in metallurgy and rolling mill technologies, for such solutions. The advantage of visualization solutions on the basis of IoT protocols lies in the maximal independence from the controls. That way when migrating to a different control system or generation of controls, the visualization requires no adaption, also additional visualizations can be implemented significantly faster.

In industrial automation’s practice the demand for specialized GUI applications is high, for example for having the plant monitored and controlled by service personnel or in the course of the startup procedure. Moreover, modern front end technologies provide a flexible and cost-effective alternative to conventional HMI/SCADA systems.

Example of a mobile app with 3D plant visualization, implemented using Xamarin.Forms.

By means of a cross-platform user interface toolkit like Xamarin.Forms by Microsoft, mobile apps with a 3D plant visualization of a rolling mill, for example, that run on Android, iOS, or Windows can be created.

Another important application case are web-based dashboards that display the ProBAS process data provided via an OPC UA server. For this purpose, Eckelmann uses, among other things, the well-known open source development tool Node-RED that makes it easy to generate browser-based visualizations. With the software specialized on the "internet of things,“ however, configuration parameters can conversely be sent via OPC UA to the automation system, which can be very useful for servicing and starting up.

Applying Industry 4.0 technologies, Eckelmann ensures that existing plants, too, benefit from the new possibilities of interconnectedness, monitoring, and analysis. As a solution partner for digital transformation and as a long-term IoT partner who, for example, identifies optimization potentials using artificial intelligence (AI). 

Dashboard for a Rolling Mill With Three Scaffolds

Further Examples for Industry 4.0 Upgrades for Existing Plants

  • Modernization of rolling mills: Fast and efficient transfer of a ProBAS LogiCAD project into a TIA portal project when switching to Simatic hardware by means of a ProBAS-to-XML converting tool
  • Gathering and long-term storage of process data
  • AI-supported analysis of process data (big data) for increasing productivity and quality
Dr.-Ing. Johannes Stelter