Industrial plants must function effectively. Remedying production downtimes and breakdowns is an expensive and time consuming business. That is why companies collect data to evaluate how their facilities are doing. At the Hannover Messe Digital Factory, from April 7 - 11, the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies, and Image Exploitation IOSB will show how operators can analyze these huge amounts of data and use it as an early warning system when problems threaten (Hall 7, Booth B10). This will keep their facilities running more reliably and save energy.
The scientists from Karlsruhe focus on continuous processes in the chemical or pharmaceutical industries. "At the Fraunhofer Application Center Industrial Automation IOSB-INA in Lemgo, we have developed solutions, we can use to easily monitor complex manufacturing technology and hybrid systems," explains Prof. Oliver Niggemann, deputy head of IOSB INA in Lemgo. Together, the methods are suitable for all kinds of capital-intensive industrial facilities that need to run for long periods of time. "Even wind farms could be monitored this way," says Sauer.
The researchers use smart data mining methods to calculate the optimum operational steps for each production process. This reference model is then compared to data from current operations in order to quickly identify and precisely locate any discrepancies before thoroughly eliminating them. There is no need for detailed separate modeling of complex plant structures. Special data storage systems record the information in real time and send it over the network to a database. Next, software normalizes the data, makes it comparable, and establishes relationships. The results are then presented in a clear way - for instance in the form of a three-dimensional map. "Mountains" and "valleys" depict the individual process phases; any disruptions or anomalies can be quickly identified. "Our tool has been used successfully in industry for some time now," says Niggemann. "The toolbox proKNOWS for instance currently is tested in two projects with industry partners." The scientists from Karlsruhe and Lemgo also use it to monitor and analyze facilities' energy demand. This information makes it possible not only to judge the state of the facilities but also to reduce their power consumption by way of appropriate adjustments to the controls. "This is something we've already demonstrated with conveyor drive technology," says Sauer.