Automation Mag | 05 - June 2022

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Send your press releases to: AUTOMATION Mag is the ultimate source for automation engineers: industry 4.0, IA, motors, sensors, controls, software… Our international team covers product developments, application stories, and technical articles, as well as offering comprehensive analysis of the latest engineering trends. AUTOMATION Mag edits its articles with the greatest of care, however we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information presented in them. Our teams disclaim all responsibility concerning the content of this media or how it might be used. To receive the AUTOMATION Mag newsletter, subscribe online:





INDUSTRIAL CAMERA MANUFACTURER IDS CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY Industrial camera manufacturer IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH celebrates its 25th anniversary. The owner-managed family business from Obersulm in Germany continues to go its own way. As a pioneer in the field of digital image processing, the company, led by founder and managing director Jürgen Hartmann, wants to continue to make it easier for its customers to use future technologies in the coming years - in line with the company’s own motto “It’s so easy”.

DS headquarters in the b39 Technology Centre in Obersulm.

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Courage for new things in challenging times For two years now, the SME sector has been under enormous pressure. The worldwide shortage of semiconductors as well as tense supply chains with regard to essential electronic components also affect the production of our cameras. IDS is therefore responding to the tense global economic situation in its anniversary year with flexibility and creativity: Short-term development of new hardware platforms, proactive corrections in development focus and effective supplier management are designed to secure the flow of goods and dampen the impact of the current situation. “Adaptability is our strength,” says Jürgen Hartmann. After all: “A flexible response to market conditions has always been the guarantee for the company’s continued success.”

At the same time, the camera maker is pursuing visions of his own. Futureoriented technologies from the consumer world, consistently developed for the industry, make it one of the world market leaders in the industry. What began in 1997 with frame grabbers led in 2004 to the first industrial camera with a USB interface on the market. In the anniversary year 2022, the focus will be on appbased cameras with artificial intelligence, but also on opening up new fields of application for image processing. “We still have many more ideas than we can implement,” explains Jürgen Hartmann. From Obersulm into the world Over the past 25 years, the family business evolved into an independent, ISO-certified manufacturer of digital industrial cameras with around 350 employees. IDS develops and produces the


IDS Founder and Managing Director Jürgen Hartmann

innovative image processing components at its headquarters in Obersulm. With branches in the USA, Japan, South Korea and UK as well as offices in Europe, IDS is represented internationally. An important part of the company’s identity has always been regional networking in the form of cooperation with universities, start-ups and young technology pioneers. In 2020, the company also moved into the state-ofthe-art b39 technology centre. Despite all its growth, the company does not lose sight of its responsibility for people and the environment. This includes sustainability in production and shipping, fairness towards business partners as well as a pronounced family consciousness. IDS has also been completely climate-neutral since 2021.

New products in the anniversary year On the occasion of the company’s anniversary, the focus is primarily on the future. “The idea of innovation that has always prevailed at IDS and the will to create something new are firmly anchored in all of us,” explains IDS Managing Director and son of the company founder Jan Hartmann. In addition to the launch of several new products, such as models with particularly high transmission speeds and resolutions, the further development of the smart IDS NXT industrial cameras with artificial intelligence is to be promoted in the anniversary year. “It is now on everyone’s lips, but very few companies are already using the technology. Artificial intelligence solves tasks that classical image processing usually fails at and thus opens up completely new fields of application, such as traffic and smart cities or the environment and smart farming,” explains Jan Hartmann. With visionpier, the online marketplace for image processing, IDS is also building a virtual bridge between users - with or without image processing experience - and providers of turnkey vision solutions.

socio-political challenges. “If you want to survive on the market today, you have to be creative and go your own way. When everyone is running in one direction, I like to run in the other on principle,” states founder and managing director Jürgen Hartmann. This is how visions become products.

Expanding the business focus means not only positioning the company more broadly for the coming years, but also moving into industries where machine vision can contribute to solving growing 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



EMERGENCY PULL-WIRE AND BELT ALIGNMENT SWITCHES FOR EXTREME AMBIENT CONDITIONS - PRODUCT RANGE NOW COMPLETED At the Solids 2022, the steute business unit “Extreme” will be presenting an expansion - or rather doubling - of its ZS 92S/SR series. To date, these extremely robust and versatile emergency pull-wire and belt alignment switches have been “packaged” in a die-cast aluminium enclosure ideally suited to unfavourable ambient conditions thanks to multiple coatings (passivation, base coat, powder coat). Users can now alternatively opt for an enclosure which is made out of top-quality duroplastic and is anti-corrosive beyond all reasonable doubt. All screws and connecting elements are stainless steel.


he entire series features a high degree of flexibility. The ZS 92 S is available with a variety of preinstalled settings for the release lever and the unlocking mechanism. This means that the switch can be installed in nearly every conceivable operating position, including the rear side. Installation dimensions are compatible with other readily available emergency pull-wire and belt alignment switches, making it easy to retrofit existing (conveyor) plants with the new switches or to exchange them later. In the ZS 92 SR belt alignment switch, the switching points for advance warning and switch off are easily adjustable in 5° steps, considerably increasing its practicality and versatility. Users also benefit from significantly reduced release forces and paths when actuating the emergency stop function. They make the safety switch easier to operate and also mean that all the relevant international standards (e.g. regarding emergency stop devices with mechanical latching function) are reliably met. The latest additions to the ZS 92 series with their robust plastic enclosures – whether as emergency pull-wire or belt alignment switches – are thus ideally suited to bulk conveying and handling applications.

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DIGITALISED MATERIAL FLOW – WITH EKANBAN AND TRACKING OF MOBILE LOAD CARRIERS Uninterrupted data and information flow is a key prerequisite for the digitalisation of material flow in production and assembly. Frequently, however, the information chain breaks down at the “last hurdle”, or its precision leaves a lot to be desired – for example, when staff request replenishments via hand scanners.


t the LogiMAT, steute will be presenting a system which promotes material flow transparency and thus more precise (requisition) control. A wireless network on the shop floor employs special sensors to detect when a box is removed from an eKanban rack. Other types of sensor detect pallets or individual packages on pallets, while yet others are installed in tugger train and dolly “stations”, recording the path of components and containers within the assembly area.

The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class.

All signals – resulting in a digital and complete visualisation of the material flow – are transmitted wirelessly to a Sensor Bridge, which in turn communicates via an interface with superordinate IT systems for material flow management (ERP, PPC, WMS…). This leads to truly uninterrupted information flow, providing transparency from the supply of parts to the materials stations and “supermarkets” to the assembly points. Thus nexy - as this wireless and sensor-based system solution is called - not only represents a requisition system which is tailored to individual needs without bottlenecks or excess stock; it also provides users with a data set allowing them active, improved and continually optimised control over material flow. Last but not least, nexy is a platform facilitating the control and organisation of additional functions – for example the transfer of containers from stationary conveyors to automated guided vehicles (AGV), the operation of signalling columns or stack lights, as well as the integration of Andon buttons for manual consignment. For these and other applications, preconfigured software modules are available. The latest developments within the nexy wireless network will be presented by steute at the LogiMAT, with the focus on eKanban applications and dolly/tugger train monitoring.

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EMERSON INTRODUCES FIRST PNEUMATIC VALVE SYSTEM WITH INTEGRATED OPEN PLATFORM COMMUNICATIONS UNIFIED ARCHITECTURE AVENTICS Series Advanced Valve Systems with OPC UA is a digital twin solution that solves interoperability challenges while improving productivity and efficiency.

Emerson’s AVENTICS Series Advanced Valve Systems with OPC UA helps users solve interoperability challenges and access data more easily while the integration of the digital twin can improve productivity and efficiency.


merson announced that its AVENTICS™ Series Advanced Valve (AV) valve system with Advanced Electronic System (AES) Profinet and Ethernet/IP is now available with preinstalled Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture (OPC UA) functionality, making it the first and only valve system to offer this directly integrated capability. The AES helps users solve interoperability challenges and access data more easily while the integration of the digital twin can improve productivity and efficiency. A valve system with integrated OPC UA functionality simplifies communication with upper systems since data and analytics are received via the valve system and communicated directly to upper systems, no gateway necessary unless deeper analysis or local dashboards are required. This can result in costs savings for users since it’s more complex and expensive to receive analytics from a valve system without OPC UA. OPC UA functionality also expands the connected capabilities of the valve system itself, making it easier for users in industries such as automotive, food and beverage, packaging, pulp and paper industries and more to digitally transform. When organizations undergo digital transformation, key protocols such

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as OPC UA embedded in technologies enable device monitoring and machine connectivity when sending data from a valve system to an upper system. The AES is simple to integrate and connect to new or existing applications and machines and provides easy access to data and analytics without changing the programmable logic controller (PLC). “The AVENTICS Series AV System with OPC UA is a notable leap forward in the flexibility and integration of valve systems because it makes the transition to IIoT significantly simpler for engineers,” said Nils Beckmann, senior manager of product marketing, IIoT at Emerson. “With OPC UA, engineers don’t need to change a whole system or architecture to access valve data. They now have the flexibility to continue using their own cloud systems and software to gain easy access to data and analytics without disrupting or modifying the PLC.” Developed by the OPC Foundation, OPC UA is a platform independent, information technology standard for sensor-to-cloud data exchange that features integrated security.


SOFTING INTRODUCES A HARDWARE MODULE FOR IMPLEMENTING ETHERNET-APL FIELD DEVICES commModule APL, a new hardware module from Softing Industrial Automation, is designed to support device manufacturers in implementing Ethernet-APL field devices for the process industry quickly and reliably.


thernet Advanced Physical Layer (Ethernet-APL) is the new standard for end-to-end digital communication in the process industry and is also suitable for use in hazardous areas. Device manufacturers will have to prepare themselves for growing demand from end-users for this modern data transmission technology. They now face the challenge of developing and certifying new Ethernet-APL-capable devices within the shortest possible time-to-market - ideally without having to build up extensive specialist knowledge of Ethernet-APL. As a readyto-use and pre-certified hardware for the implementation of Ethernet-APL field The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class. devices, commModule APL supports manufacturers in exactly this challenge. The hardware module provides connectivity to Ethernet-APL as well as an application software that can be easily configured to implement the required behavior of the respective field device. commModule-APL is delivered with a pre-installed PROFINET stack. It provides a configurable application data model and commands mapping to migrate existing HART and Modbus devices to Ethernet-APL. This does not require writing a single line of code. The assignment to HART or Modbus commands is done with the accompanying commScripter tool.

commModule APL has already passed comprehensive EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) and environmental testing, as well as conformance testing for the Ethernet-APL Physical Layer and for the PROFINET protocol with PA Profile 4.02. It is also pre-certified in accordance with ATEX and IECEx. These features drastically reduce the effort, risk and time required to develop device hardware.

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MACHINE CONTROLLERS IN THE ERA OF IIOT ARE MULTI-TASKING LIKE NEVER BEFORE… The IIoT is all about communication, and the latest machine controllers are at the heart of that new extended infrastructure. Historically the role of the machine controller was firmly embedded in operational technology (OT) whereas now the crossover with IT and internet enabled systems is multi-layered.


o d a y, h i g h - e n d m a c h i n e performance is often delivered via a PLC / Machine controller that also communicates with other machines in real-time, provides live production data and feeds information directly into upperlevel systems such as SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition). In addition to managing safety monitoring systems, supporting OEE frameworks, sending big data to Edge controllers and cloud-based processing solutions, it will provide MES layers with operational data and even help manage active AI enabled maintenance systems.

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The requirement to multi-task while maintaining precise control over a machine (or multiple machines) means a modular PLC construction is more important than ever. The latest IoT Gateway available for Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced iQ-R Series PLC is a perfect example. It makes use of the OPC UA standard designed to provide a direct exchange from smart OT devices to cloud based systems. In combination with an ICONICS SCADA suite the IoT Gateway can be used to access real-time-data from multiple robot controllers (and various other automation devices) and make them


Easy on-screen monitoring and management of multiple robot controllers is available both onpremises or in a could environment thanks to the ICONICS SCADA suite

Christian Nomine, Mitsubishi Electric Factory Automation EMEA, Strategic Product Manager Visualisation & Analytics.

available for easy on-screen monitoring and management both on-premise or in a cloud environment. This allows companies to benefit from predictive maintenance functionality built-in to the robots which uses AI to predict requirements a long way ahead of time and make suggestions for servicing or parts replacements. The flexibility to see this information and act upon it from anywhere in the world empowers plant operational personnel to work remotely and take proper advantage of their Smart factory. Expanding the theme to achieving higher production outputs and efficiencies, a plant-wide automation system can also be driven by the machine controller and its communication modules. An IoT Gateway and iQ-R modular PLC can be used as a hub that drives a simplified IIoT enabled control and management environment. It effectively makes the most of the controller’s capability while creating transparency within the IT systems. From a manufacturing perspective, introducing a time sensitive network such as CC-Link IE TSN can increase the speed and synchronicity of a production line significantly. Micro-delays and bottlenecks can be effectively eliminated by ensuring that everything from infeed machinery to CNC machines tools,

conveyors, assembly systems, testing, marking, robot loading systems, packing and palletising is synchronised in realtime. In a practical sense this ecosystem doesn’t work in isolation though, which is where OPC UA, MQTT and the likes of Azure IoT Hub come in, linking ERP and MES layers to the PLC at the heart of the system via the IoT gateway. Allowing personnel all the way from production to senior management to pull reports and plan factory output based on demand and availability. The role of the machine controller in the IIoT environment also extends to integrating seamlessly with an Edge controller or cloud processing platform with additional operational benefits. Edge computing is gaining more and more importance for data analytics, offering a low latency solution where big-data is interpreted, and the trends recorded rather than just stored en-masse. At the same time, cloud computing is also useful for carrying out complex, but less timesensitive analysis on larger data sets required for deep learning models.

The most relevant results can be acted upon locally, while data needing more advanced analytics can be sent to the Cloud. The MELIPC addresses the need for processing as close as possible to the control system, while also providing using several of the same protocols as the IoT Gateway, for integration with the Cloud, including OPC UA and MQTT. This also serves as another example of enabling AI, the MELIPC uses machine learning to analyse collected data and generate a model of the machine’s operational state. This model can then be used to detect variations in the machine’s performance in real time, again, providing feedback to other IT based systems to provide early warnings and advice that can impact on quality, efficiency and output volumes. These practical examples clearly illustrate how increasingly sophisticated machine control systems are finding their place in the world of the IIoT era. en/

Mitsubishi Electric’s solution for Edge computing, the MELIPC, captures data seamlessly from the PLC and can process, filter and provide initial analysis locally. 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



EMERSON’S NEW EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN DISCRETE VALVE CONTROLLER IMPROVES SAFETY, UPTIME IN HAZARDOUS APPLICATIONS TopWorx DX Partial Stroke Test with HART 7 provides detailed valve assembly data and diagnostics, enabling predictive maintenance and reliable operation.


merson introduced the TopWorxTM DX PST with HART® 7. Units provide valuable valve data and diagnostic information, enabling the digital transformation of process applications. The new DX PST integrates seamlessly with existing valves and control systems, giving operators access to critical valve data, trends, and diagnostics that can be used to predict and schedule maintenance. The DX PST’s partial stroke test ensures the system’s reliable function without shutting down the process. A safety feature that confirms the valve will fully close and stop the process if an emergency is detected, and the test is activated by simply pressing the local PST button—no additional equipment is required. To prevent critical failure in upset conditions, the unit will override testing to perform an emergency shutdown (ESD). Certified for operation in harsh and hazardous applications, the adaptive DX PST is designed to ensure the integrity of valves, improving overall safety and facility uptime in oil and gas, refinery, chemical, industrial energy and mining applications. “The digital transformation of the process industry continues to make operations safer and more productive,” said Prayag Vatsraj, Global Product Manager of Emerson’s Switchbox. “The DX PST with HART 7 supports digital transformation by providing reliable data that delivers valuable insight into the condition of valve assemblies that ensures the integrity of the system without shutting down the process.”

TopWorx DX PST with HART 7 monitors and tests valve assemblies, providing detailed data and diagnostics and enabling the digital transformation of process applications.

The HART® protocol, the specifications of which are owned by the FieldComm Group, builds another layer of information that ensures data, trends and diagnostics are monitored and tied into the Industrial Internet of Things. This information can be used to effectively predict and schedule maintenance.

Capable of Safety Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3), the DX PST is available with an integrated 2oo2 or 2oo3 solenoid valve redundancy when paired with ASCOTM Series Advanced Redundant Control System (ARCS) to further enhance safety and open terminals that allow an additional pressure transmitter along with two pressure switches. The discrete valve controller offers simple local and remote calibration. automation-solutions

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UNIQUE IN THE WORLD: WACHENDORFF ENCODER CONFIGURABLE VIA NFC The new WDGN series of incremental encoders from Wachendorff Automation enables configuration of any pulse count from 1 I/U to 16,384 I/U via NFC.


fter downloading the Wachendorff WDGN app to the smartphone, the desired parameters and values can be configured without contact or voltage, if necessary also through the outer packaging. Encoder configurations created can be saved under different names, reloaded at any time and transferred to another encoder. This means that saved configuration sets can be used for the encoder in different applications. The configuration set of an encoder can be read out, saved, shared and reused for other encoders at any time after entering the PIN. The PIN and PUK principle is used for security. The advantages for the user include the following: - In the development phase, when there is uncertainty about which number of pulses the encoder needs to run optimally in an application, the WDGN encoder offers the necessary flexibility to test the optimum number of pulses. As soon as the optimum configuration has been found, the user receives an encoder with the same technological features for use in series production - but without an NFC antenna for cost reasons. A second qualification is no longer necessary.

- Optimum spare parts, logistics and warehouse management becomes possible. Never again will an encoder be sent with an incorrect pulse count. Because with the free app on the smartphone, communication with the encoder takes place via NFC, completely without an internet connection, and the desired parameter values can be set justin-time by the recipient. - In the application, the WDGN encoders offer a very high resolution of up to 16,384 I/U in a very compact design from 36 mm. This means that high-precision measurements can be realised in the smallest installation space. https://www.wachendorff-automation. com/

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INDUSTRIAL NETWORKS KEEP GROWING DESPITE CHALLENGING TIMES - INDUSTRIAL NETWORK MARKET SHARES 2022 ACCORDING TO HMS NETWORKS Every year, HMS Networks analyzes the industrial network market to estimate the distribution of new connected nodes in factory automation. This year’s study shows that the industrial network market is expected to grow by 8% in 2022. Industrial Ethernet still shows the highest growth and now accounts for 66% of all new installed nodes (65% last year). Fieldbuses are at 27% (28) while wireless remains at 7% market share. PROFINET and EtherNet/IP share first place in the network rankings with 17% market share, but EtherCAT closes in fast, now at 11%.

Market shares 2022 according to HMS Networks – fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and wireless.


MS Networks now presents their annual analysis of the industrial network market, focusing on new installed nodes within factory automation globally. As an independent supplier of solutions within Industrial ICT (Information and Communication Technology), HMS has a substantial insight into the industrial network market. The 2022 study includes estimated market shares and growth rates for fieldbuses, industrial Ethernet and wireless technologies.

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In the study, HMS concludes that the industrial network market continues to grow and that the total market growth in 2022 is expected to be +8%, confirming the continued importance of network connectivity in factories. Industrial Ethernet is growing steadily Growing by 10%, Industrial Ethernet continues to take market share. Industrial Ethernet now makes up for 66% of the global market of new installed nodes in


factory automation (compared to 65% last year). EtherNet/IP and PROFINET share first place at 17% market share, but EtherCAT takes a big leap forward and reaches double digits for the first time at 11% market share. Modbus-TCP is also doing well as it grows to 6% market share. Fieldbuses are growing again Fieldbuses are at 27% market share compared to 28% last year. However, there is an interesting fact behind these numbers as HMS concludes that despite losing one percent market share, the actual number of installed fieldbus nodes is expected to grow by 4% in 2022 compared to last year, following several years of decline. The underlying reason is believed to be the fact that factories favor established industrial network solutions in uncertain times such as these due to effects from corona and the challenging component situation. PROFIBUS remains the most installed fieldbus with 7% market share, followed by Modbus-RTU at 5% and CC-Link at 4%. Interestingly, the Modbus technologies TCP and RTU continue to be widely used also in modern factories, together accounting for 11% of the market in 2022 compared to last year.

Wireless use cases emerge – Impact of 5G is yet to come Wireless grows with 8% which is on par with the overall growth rate of the network market, thus remaining at 7% market share. Typical use cases include cable replacement applications, wireless machine access and connectivity to mobile industrial equipment. The market still awaits the deployment and impact of 5G in next gen factory automation installations. Industrial networking is key for productivity and sustainability in manufacturing “Industrial network connectivity is an absolute key to reaching productivity and sustainability objectives in modern manufacturing, and this is the main driver for the growth we see in the industrial networking market,” says Anders Hansson, Chief Marketing Officer at HMS Networks. “Factories are constantly working to optimize not only productivity and sustainability, but also quality, flexibility and cyber security, and we know that solid industrial networking is key to achieving this as well. While we see growth across all network areas, it is particularly interesting to see that the established fieldbus technologies are getting back to growth again.”

Regional network variations EtherNet/IP and PROFINET are leading in Europe and the Middle East with PROFIBUS and EtherCAT as runners up. Other popular networks are Modbus (RTU/TCP) and Ethernet POWERLINK. The U.S. market is dominated by EtherNet/IP with EtherCAT developing strongly and gaining market share. PROFINET leads a fragmented Asian market, followed by EtherNet/IP and strong contenders CC-Link/CC-Link IE Field, EtherCAT, PROFIBUS, and Modbus (RTU/TCP). HMS TechTalk, Anders Hansson provides background to this year’s study and comments on the results. Scope: The study includes HMS’ estimation for 2022 based on number of new installed nodes within Factory Automation. A node is defined as a machine or device connected to an industrial field network. The presented figures represent HMS’ consolidated view, considering insights from colleagues in the industry, our own sales statistics and overall perception of the market.

Anders Hansson, Chief Marketing Officer, HMS Networks

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INNODISK BRINGS ADVANCEMENTS TO THE OOB SPACE WITH INNOAGENT As AIoT systems become increasingly more advanced, and the systems they power become ever more crucial to our daily lives, it is as important as ever to ensure high availability, and have reliable management tools.


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or this reason, Innodisk is proud to announceInnoAgent, an exciting new hardware module that allows out-of-band remote management of systems, even if they have crashed, or are completely offline.

Without an out-of-band solution like InnoAgent, during connection failures, device shut downs, and OS crashes, the device is unable to be monitored remotely through the main device’s LAN port, or Wi-Fi connection.

Out-of-band remote management technology allows system operators to manage and maintain devices even when a device’s hardware, or software is malfunctioning. In InnoAgent’s case, this is possible through an independent UART, RS232 or GPIO connection to the system from the module. Even if the device’s regular network connection is completely unavailable due to a system crash, the device remains accessible through InnoAgent’s separate communications channel.

On devices with an InnoAgent module, even if there is a major issue, whether it be hardware, or software, monitoring applications such as Innodisk’s iCAP can still access the device’s information. Additionally, remote commands can be sent to the device, like power reset, all via the module’s LAN port. This powerful ability to restart, and send other useful commands to crashed devices eliminates the need to have engineers on site 24/7. InnoAgent has two main use cases in the field, as a backup to in-band management for increased availability, or as the only form of remote management, for increased security. Both use cases are served well by InnoAgent’s vast feature set, and integration options, which include an API, allowing easy unification with existing systems. In addition, InnoAgent also supports -40° to


85°C wide temperature technology, and complies with the electrostatic protection specification EN61000-4-2 (ESD) Air15kV, and Contact-8kV. InnoAgent is slated for distribution in Q2 2022, and will offer a stable long-term supply.

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DFI INC. REVENUE EXCEEDS NTD TEN BILLION THRESHOLD IN 2021 AND EARNS NTD 5.38 PER SHARE Promising Quarterly Growth in Operational Performance.


FI Inc., a leader in industrial computers, announced during its online investor conference on March that revenue in 2021 exceeded the NTD ten billion threshold for the first time, with earnings per share (EPS) reaching NTD 5.38. This year, supported by strong product demand DFI is steadily receiving orders. The impacts on gross profit from factory relocation and the shortage in parts and components reached their most severe level in the fourth quarter of last year. Consequently, both revenue and profitability are looking good this year and quarterly growths are anticipated. According to Vice Chairman Mr. Michael Lee, with new infrastructures gaining prominence during the trend towards automated production and digital transformation, smart applications became the rigid demand over the long term. DFI has benefited from this development and has received many orders. The book-to-bill ratio (B/B ratio) reached 1.85 in 2021. As the shipping momentum grows, it is estimated that the B/B ratio for the first half of the year will be further normalized and embedded boards, networking, industrial automation and graphics will be the four major fields of application and the next long-term developmental goal. DFI points out that thanks to the M&A effect brought about by the acquisition of Brainstorm (Skytech Gaming), a US distributor of computers for PC Gamers and Fintech applications and the increased non-operating profits from the sale of the DFI Xizhi plant last year, the net after-tax profits attributable to the parent company throughout the year came to NTD 616 million, reflecting an annual growth of 52% with earnings per share reaching NTD 5.38. The consolidated revenue in the fourth quarter climbed significantly to NTD 4.192 billion and

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that combines software, hardware and service to help businesses with expedited transformation and deployment and to fulfill the needs of customers with different applications. The throughput will continue to be enhanced in order to take advantage of new business opportunities. DFI’s aggregated consolidated revenue was NTD 13.21 billion for January through December 2021 reflecting an annual increase of 58.2% from NTD 8.35 billion in 2020. The earnings per share were NTD 5.38 in 2021 with expected dividends at NTD 3.6 per share. When calculated based on the closing price of NTD 60.5 on Friday this represents a dividend yield of 5.95%. The return on equity (ROE) throughout the year was 14.8%.

showed a quarterly increase of 12% and an annual growth of 100%. DFI’s Q4 gross profit margin was affected by the continued material shortages and price increases from upstream suppliers. In addition increased manufacturing costs were incurred due to factory relocation. Gross profit was NTD 662 million, and the gross profit margin was 15.8%. The new factory has now officially started operations and the rising cost of raw materials is gradually being reflected in the prices paid by customers. The issue of shortages in materials is expected

to improve and the gross profit margin will continue to grow and be reflected in future profitability. Fa c t o r y a u t o m a t i o n , i n -ve h i c l e applications and smart healthcare are three target vertical markets of DFI. Considering the demand for and diversity of smart applications on the market apart from the current focus on automation, 5G, and AIoT, DFI will extend its market presence to applications such as green energy, information security and Fintech. DFI will also collaborate with businesses under Qisda BSG in providing a platform 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



THE IDS SOLUTION FOR LARGE LAUNDRY Intelligent robotics for laundries closes automation gap.


he textile and garment industry is facing major challenges with current supply chain and energy issues. The future recovery is also threatened by factors that hinder production, such as labour and equipment shortages, which put them under additional pressure. The competitiveness of the industry, especially in a global context, depends on how affected companies respond to these framework conditions. One solution is to move the production of clothing back to Europe in an economically viable way. Shorter transport routes and the associated significant savings in transport costs and greenhouse gases speak in favour of this. On the other hand, the related higher wage costs and the prevailing shortage of skilled workers in this country must be compensated. The latter requires further automation of textile processing. The German deep-tech start-up sewts GmbH from Munich has focused on the great potential that lies in this task. It develops solutions with the help of which robots - similar to humans - anticipate how a textile will behave and adapt their movement accordingly.

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The German deep-tech start-up sewts GmbH from Munich has focused on the great potential that lies in this task. It develops solutions with the help of which robots - similar to humans anticipate how a textile will behave and adapt their movement accordingly. In the first step, sewts has set its sights on an application for large industrial laundries. With a system that uses both 2D and 3D cameras from IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH, the young entrepreneurs are automating one of the last remaining manual steps in large-scale industrial laundries, the unfolding process. Although 90% of the process steps in industrial washing are already automated, the remaining manual operations account for 30% of labour costs. The potential savings through automation are therefore enormous at this point.


and easy-to-integrate IDS cameras, it is able to analyse dimensionally unstable materials such as textiles. Thanks to the new technology, robots can predict the behaviour of these materials during gripping in real time. It empowers VELUM to feed towels and similar linen made of terry cloth easily and crease-free into existing folding machines, thus closing a cost-sensitive automation gap. The software suite developed by sewts combines commercially available robots, grippers and cameras into an intelligent system. In the search for the right camera modules, several criteria were decisive for the Munich-based company in addition to uncompromising industrial suitability: “We need a 3D camera that is costeffective because we use two to three 3D cameras depending on the system configuration. In addition, it must above all ensure high accuracy of the depth data,” explains Tim Doerks.

Application It is true that industrial laundries already operate in a highly automated environment to handle the large volumes of laundry. Among other things, the folding of laundry is done by machines. However, each of these machines usually requires an employee to manually spread out the laundry and feed it without creases. This monotonous and strenuous loading of the folding machines has a disproportionate effect on personnel costs. In addition, qualified workforce is difficult to find, which often has an impact on the capacity utilisation and thus the profitability of industrial laundries. The seasonal nature of the business also requires a high degree of flexibility. sewts makes IDS cameras the image processing components of a new type of intelligent system whose technology can now

be used to automate individual steps, such as sorting dirty textiles or inserting laundry into folding machines. “The particular challenge here is the malleability of the textiles,” explains Tim Doerks, co-founder and CTO. While the automation of the processing of solid materials, such as metals, is comparatively unproblematic with the help of robotics and AI solutions, available software solutions and conventional image processing often still have their limits when it comes to easily deformable materials. Accordingly, commercially available robots and gripping systems have so far only been able to perform such simple operations as gripping a towel or piece of clothing inadequately. But the sewts system VELUM can provide this. With the help of intelligent software

“Beyond that, we need 2D cameras that are light sensitive, deliver high dynamic range and are suitable for use in a multicamera system.” The founders found what they were looking for in the IDS portfolio: For the VELUM multi-camera system, the choice fell on the new Ensenso S10 3D camera as well as models from the uEye CP camera series. Their task is to identify, both in 2D and 3D, interesting features and gripping points of the textiles that are fed into the system after washing and drying in an unordered manner in a container or on a conveyor belt. The shape and position of the individual objects cannot be predicted. The cameras capture the different textures of the materials. They distinguish which hems there are on a towel and where corners are. We match the images from the 2D and 3D cameras to have a higher 2D resolution together with the 3D data. So we use the respective advantages of the 2D camera, in this case the higher resolution, and the 3D camera, i.e. the precise depth data”, Tim Doerks, co-founder and CTO at sewts mentiones. Equipped with a 1.6 MP Sony sensor, the Ensenso S10 uses 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



a 3D process based on structured light: A narrow-band infrared laser projector produces a high-contrast dot pattern even on objects with difficult surfaces or in dimly lit environments. Each image captured by the 1.6 MP Sony sensor provides a complete point cloud with up to 85,000 depth points. Artificial intelligence enables reliable assignment of the laser points found to the hard-coded positions of the projection. This results in the robust 3D data with the necessary depth accuracy, from which VELUM extracts the coordinates for the gripping points. The complementary GV-5280CP-CHQindustrial camera with GigE Vision firmware is equipped with Sony’s IMX264 2/3” global shutter CMOS sensor. It delivers near-noise-free, high-contrast 5 MP images in 5:4 format at 22 fps at full GigE speed in applications with fluctuating lighting conditions. The uEye CP camera offers maximum functionality with extensive pixel pre-processing and is perfect for multi-camera systems thanks to the internal 120 MB image memory for buffering image sequences. At around 50 g, the small magnesium housing is as light as it is robust and predestines the camera for space-critical applications and for use on robot arms. Software Depending on customer requirements or configuration, two to three uEye 2D or Ensenso 3D cameras are used - both models can be seamlessly integrated into VELUM. “We are experts in preparing 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021


the generated data, which is especially important when working with 3D point clouds. This pre-processing is an important component of our systems in order to generate suitable input for our artificial intelligence,” Tim Doerks emphasises. The AI developed by sewts processes the data supplied by the uEye CP or Ensenso S cameras. The intelligent software analyses the topology of the textiles using features such as the course of the seam, local elevations or the relative position of seams, classifies them according to textile type and class using various textures and embroidery patterns and translates these findings into robot commands. The data is processed via Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) and classical image processing. “We useIDS peak, the software development kit from IDS. We connect to our system via Python and the IDS Library,” reveals Till Rickert, cofounder and CPO of sewts. “The added value of the IDS software package for us lies primarily in the ease of calibration and integration into our High Tech Vision System,” he continues. “AI is at the core of our technology. Intelligent algorithms are needed to build adaptive systems that can cope with non-deterministic automation processes. That’s why we use the latest findings from AI research, refine them for our needs and finally put them together into a big whole,” adds Till Rickert. It receives various sensor data (e.g. optical information), draws

conclusions from them on a human-like cognitive level and translates them into robot commands. In this way, systems like VELUM perform tasks that previously required the human mind. This is exactly what sewts’ corporate philosophy is all about: “Our goal is to transform complex manual work into smooth automation”. Outlook With systems like VELUM, laundries can significantly increase their throughput regardless of the staffing situation and thus increase their profitability. “By closing this significant automation gap, we can almost double the productivity of a textile washing line,” assures CEO Alexander Bley. IDS cameras can also be used for clothing such as shirts and trousers in the future. “It is important to understand the properties of these materials in order to implement robust processes. We achieve


Cameras Ensenso S: 3D laser point triangulation with artificial intelligence • Ultra-compact and cost-efficient • High 3D data rate and accuracy through AI support • Robust 3D data even in low ambient lighting • Structured light with AI-based laser dot pattern triangulation • Suitable for applications in logistics automation, robot vision, obstacle detection, monitoring and horticultural automation, etc.

this through sophisticated material simulations. In order to simulate the behaviour of textiles, we create special FE simulations using the finite element method,” explains Alexander Bley. But the Munich-based company has an overarching vision: “We want to make it possible to automate the production of clothing and move it back to the point of use in a cost-efficient way. In this way, we shorten transport distances, create more reliable supply chains, save CO2 emissions and combat the problem of overproduction.” Additionally applications with materials that are not textiles are also planned for the future.

Incredibly fast, incredibly reliable, incredible sensors: The uEye CP • Interface: Ethernet • Model: GV-5280CP-C-HQ • Sensortyp: CMOS • Sensor type: CMOS • Manufacturer: Sony • Frame rate: 24.0 fps • Resolution (h x v): 2448 x 2048 • Shutter: Global Shutter • Resolution: 5.01 MPixel • Dimensions: 29 x 29 x 29 mm • Weight: 52 g • Connector: GigE RJ46, screwable • Applications: e.g. industrial image processing, mechanical engineering, surface inspection, medical technology, traffic & transport, quality assurance, etc.

There are many potential use cases for technologies like these, and image processing will always play a significant role. Artificial intelligence will accelerate this development. 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



INNODISK DDR5 RAISES THE BAR FOR WORKSTATIONS Innodisk has announced the debut of their new industrialgrade DDR5 memory in workstations, which are powerful computers intended for specialized technical and scientific use cases.


ringing this new technology to market now gives early adopters the chance to demonstrate the real-world speed, and performance gains that were promised during the hype surrounding the announcement of DDR5 in 2021. Now, as Innodisk begins mass production, the new technologies that DDR5 introduced, such as double bank groups, same bank refresh, on-die ECC, and dual subchannels are being utilized in workstations that push the limits of speed, capacity, and reliability in professional environments.

Innodisk is already leading the industry in the implementation of DDR5 memory in workstation computers. One of their clients, who has already put DDR5 to the test in a meaningful way, is a global company that designs and manufactures workstations for engineering, product design, architecture, data science, and VFX. They decided to use Innodisk’s 4800MT/s 32GB DDR5 UDIMM for their workstation computers. These workstations provide the ideal match for early DDR5 adoption as they offer server-grade performance, with highend processors, and lots of memory, in a standard PC form factor for CPU and RAM-intensive applications like graphics, 3D design, and video editing. The client, whose end customers cover multiple industries including science and medical, film, mission critical applications, as well as manufacturing and design, was able to benefit from DDR5’s increased bandwidth, better power efficiency, and higher memory efficiency, while also future proofing the workstations they built with the latest and greatest standard in DRAM technology. The aforementioned

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improvements over DDR4 will allow customers to work faster, and more efficiently, while not having to worry about data loss, due to the extra layer of protection through IC level checking that DDR5’s on-die ECC provides. Innodisk currently offers the most comprehensive range of industrialgrade DDR5 solutions on the market, including UDIMM, SODIMM, RDIMM, ECC UDIMM, and ECC SODIMM. These memory modules also include Innodisk’s other industry-focused features, such as a 30µ” gold finger and anti-sulfuration technology that adds a protective layer to safeguard silver alloys found on DRAM modules. Additionally, Wide Temperature UDIMMand SODIMMDDR5 are now available for sampling.


EMERSON’S NEW THREE-WAY MINIATURE SOLENOID VALVE EXPANDS FLEXIBILITY IN MEDICAL PRODUCT DESIGN Compact, configurable three-way valve offers new options for high-flow, precision gas control in oxygen therapy and analytical devices.


merson has expanded its ASCO™ Series 090 line of miniature solenoid valves, adding a new three-way Series 090 valve configuration to enable lighter, more space-efficient solutions for gas control in oxygen therapy, compression therapy and gas analyzer devices.

Originally developed as a two-way valve for air and inert gases in portable medical devices, the Series 090 valve features a compact architecture, small (10.8 millimeter) footprint and 50 million-cycle life for maximum reliability. And, because the new three-way configuration of the Series 090 valve can perform the same mixing and diverting functions as a pair of two-way valves, it further simplifies the design of small, high-precision gas delivery systems for oxygen and other home-care devices. Like all Series 090 valves, the new three-way valve is built to maximize gas flow, with a flow-to-size ratio that is well suited to portable medical device applications. The valve body is molded from polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) plastic, with seals made of durable fluorocarbon (FKM) elastomer. The Series 090 actuator combines high reliability with low power consumption, so battery life and device longevity are maximized. The Series 090 valve is also compliant with all relevant Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Conformité Européenne (CE) directives. “The introduction of the three-way Series 090 miniature solenoid valve offers product designers greater freedom to develop new valve and manifold solutions for analytical and therapeutic applications,” said Sven Richter, vice president of Emerson’s analytical & medical business. “Products like the new ASCO Series 090 valve, together with Emerson’s Rapid Engineered Solutions capability, help our OEM, originalequipment manufacturer, customers to bring outstanding products to markets more quickly, while improving the internal production and cost efficiencies essential to long-term competitiveness.” catalog/asco-series-090 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



2 FOR THE PRICE OF 1 - MEASURING AND SWITCHING The innovative ODT 3C sensor from Leuze can handle both measuring and switching tasks. The new 2-in-1 solution is thus suitable for a wide range of automated industrial applications.


s there an object on the conveyor belt? If yes: What is its position or distance to the machine? These are typical issues that need to be addressed in a wide range of industrial applications and processes. In the past, to solve this problem required the use of multiple sensors. With the new ODT 3C from Leuze, only a single device is needed: The innovative sensor can transmit both switching and measuring information to the machine control system, which makes it an efficient and economical 2-in-1 solution. Flexibility with a single sensor The ODT 3C transmits measurement values and extensive diagnostic data via IO-Link. The data includes temperature values, warnings, and signal quality. It features impressive black-andwhite behavior (< ± 3 millimeter at 150 millimeter). The operating range can be easily adjusted via the teach button, remote signal or IO-Link. The new Leuze sensor also offers impressive functional reliability: Active ambient light suppression prevents faulty switching, even when exposed to direct light from LED building lighting systems. LEDs that are easily visible from all sides allow you to quickly read the status of the ODT 3C. Two independent switching outputs and sensor models with warning output or a small light spot (pinpoint) round of the sensor’s functions. This enables plant operators to use the ODT 3C flexibly in a wide range of applications.

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The new ODT 3C sensor from Leuze transmits both switching and measuring information to the machine control system via IO-Link – an efficient and economical 2-in-1 solution


The operating range of the ODT 3C can be set numerically via IO-Link, and also very accurately thanks to device calibration and nearly reflectionindependent from a distance (remote)

Thanks to ambient light suppression, the ODT 3C sensor from Leuze is not affected by direct light from LED hall lighting - this prevents incorrect switching and increases the functional reliability of the sensor

Application example from the food industry: A machine is rolling off dough for baked goods. The ODT 3C sensor is pointing down onto the dough. It sends a distance value to the parent control. The goal is to regulate the dough within an optimal distance range of 100–120 mm. If the sensor detects a measurement value outside the target range, the conveyor belt motors adjust the speed of the conveyor accordingly. The measurement value is evaluated in the process data via IO-Link. In addition, diagnostic data is transmitted to the controller via IO-Link for Industry 4.0 purposes.

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HMS PRESENTS COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS FOR BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS HMS Networks is now presenting several communication solutions for the rapidly expanding battery market. Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) require communication capabilities to connect to batteries and peripheral components, communicate with the power grid, monitor systems remotely and much more.


attery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) may be one of the keys to solve the energy crisis and make the world more sustainable. Since green energy sources such as wind and solar are not always available, large battery parks can make it possible to store the energy to use when there is less sun or wind. BESS need to communicate Battery Energy Storage Systems are made up of battery cells which are combined into battery packs which can then be combined into containers which in turn can make up battery parks the size of several football fields. The systems can use new or recycled batteries and combine many different components. However, these large battery parks need a lot of communication capabilities in order to work. HMS now presents a comprehensive package of communication solutions catered for this application area. Error prevention and networking of CAN-based devices Since the battery market has been spearheaded by the car industry, CAN is the com-munication standard of choice in many systems. Here, HMS offers an extensive portfolio of communication solutions via the Ixxat brand – for PC connection, networking, line extension, galvanic isolation and more. In networking, the protection of components is crucial, both from external sources (like lightning strikes) and from system-related issues (AC/DC noise). Device protection is a must to avoid damage.

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Ixxat products from HMS for CAN-based networking and device protection.

Networking gateways Battery Energy Storage Systems often combine a variety of different equipment from different industries within a single application – batteries, BMS, PLCs, fire detection units or air conditioning. To combine different equipment, it is necessary to interconnect various protocols and network standards. CAN, Modbus, BACnet, KNX and other protocols can be easily linked via intelligent gateways from HMS, which handle the all-important data exchange while also enabling centralized control. In addition, these gateways can selectively filter, map and, if necessary, manipulate the data in order to realize the best possible data exchange.

Cloud/SCADA connectivity and remote access Intelligent networking is also required in order to connect to cloud solutions or SCADA systems. This connection can be made by using SG (Smart Grid) gateways from HMS that support both energy and industrial fieldbus protocols, as well as protocols required for cloud connection. The SG gateways enable centralized control as well as remote access for predictive maintenance, logging or data visualization using the i4SCADA® solution from the HMS-owned company WEBfactory®. The SG gateways also provide robust cybersecurity features, such as firewall, OpenVPN®, TLS encryption and user management. These pro-tective measures are indispensable to protect against cyber-attacks.


Networking gateways from HMS are well-suited for use in BESS.

“We see a rapidly growing demand for communication solutions in Battery Energy Storage Systems as society as a whole is turning to more sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar,” says Alexander Hess, General Manager at HMS Business Unit Ixxat. “Communication is needed to get BESS systems to work and HMS offers an extensive portfolio of industrial communication solutions to solve the communication issues at hand in these systems.”

Ixxat® SG-gateways handle communication between energy and industrial protocols whereas WEBfactory i4SCADA allows highly adaptable data visualization.

Learn more in this HMS TechTalk

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MOXA UNVEILS ITS NEXT-GENERATION INDUSTRIAL NETWORKING SOLUTIONS TO HELP FUTUREPROOF INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION Moxa Inc., a leader in industrial communications and networking, announced the launch of its next-generation industrial Ethernet switches, the EDS-4000/G4000 Series. The EDS-4000/G4000 Series includes 68 models that will help Moxa’s customers build futureproof industrial networks to strengthen operational resilience in industrial spaces such as power, transportation, maritime, and factory automation.


ccording to IDC’s Worldwide IT/OT Convergence 2022 Predictions1, by 2024, 75% of new operational applications deployed at the edge will leverage containerization to enable a more open and composable architecture that is necessary for resilient operations. As industrial automation applications continue to evolve, OT architectures require enhanced networking capabilities and network security. “Recently, we have observed that our customers find it more challenging to connect their devices while fulfilling a variety of requirements for critical infrastructure,” said Gary Chang, Product

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Manager at Moxa Networking Co. Ltd. “Critical infrastructure requires advanced networking solutions that strengthen operational resilience and futureproof networks. Our EDS-4000/G4000 Series portfolio of switches transforms the networking-evolved concept into tangible networking capabilities in order to empower our customers to build secure, reliable, and high-bandwidth industrial networks with ease.” Evolved Networking Solutions That Strengthen Operational Resilience While OT/IT convergence is accelerating, enhanced network security, high performance, strong reliability, and advanced usability become paramount to building next-generation industrial networks that strengthen operational resilience. • Industry-leading Network Security: The EDS-4000/G4000 Series was the world’s first IEC 62443-4-2 certified Ethernet switches to be certified by IECEE due to the built-in hardened security that was developed by following the stringent software development lifecycle described in the standard. Along with Moxa’s extensive network security portfolio, Moxa helps create a secure network foundation to safeguard and futureproof industrial operations. • U nprecedented Performance for Mass Deployments: As the number of connected devices in industrial operations grows exponentially, the EDS-4000/G4000 Series provides multiple interface combinations with up to 14 ports and a range of options including fast Ethernet, Gigabit, 2.5GbE uplinks, SFP, and IEEE 802.3bt PoE connectivity. This enables customers to connect more devices especially in applications such as intelligent

transportation systems that require high-power and high-bandwidth networking. • Multiple Industrial Certifications: The EDS-4000/G4000 Series is certified for NEMA TS2, EN 50121-4, IEC 61850-3/ IEEE 16132, DNV2, ATEX Zone 23, Class I Division 23, to fulfill the needs of a wide variety of industrial applications. The EDS-4000/G4000 Series also features Turbo Ring and Turbo Chain fast network recovery to ensure smooth operations. • Advanced Usability: The improved web GUI provides a more intuitive way for users to perform configurations and network management. The rotatable power module offers flexibility to field engineers when they are installing devices and maintaining the network. In addition, the LED indicators on two sides of the device help engineers easily identify the status of networking devices, making their job easier. Customer Testimonial “We particularly appreciated the intuitive user interface, the innovative mechanical design with the rotatable power supply module, and the robust DIN-rail mounting kit. The EDS-4000/G4000 Series gives us more confidence to provide futureproof, robust, and secure industrial automation and navigation solutions to our customers on their digital transformation journeys,” said Christian M. Skytte, Head of Product Management, Automation, at Wärtsilä Lyngsø Marine A/S.

EDS-4000/G4000 Series Industrial Ethernet Switch Highlights • C omprehensive portfolio with 68 models, ranging from 8 ports to 14 ports • M ultiple interface combinations including fast Ethernet, Gigabit, 2.5GbE, SFP, and IEEE 802.3bt PoE • Developed according to the IEC 624434-1 and compliant with the IEC 624434-2 industrial cybersecurity standards • Turbo Ring and Turbo Chain (recovery time < 20 ms @ 250 switches4), and RSTP/STP for network redundancy • Rotatable power module to simplify installation and maintenance • Wide range of power input options for flexible deployment • Compact and flexible housing that fits into confined spaces • Supports MXstudio for easy installation, operation, maintenance, and diagnostics To learn more about the EDS-4000/ G4000 Series, please refer to the following materials: • EDS-4000/G4000 Series Microsite • Futureproof Networking and EDS4000/G4000 Launch Video • E DS-4000/G4000 Series Product Introduction Video • Unboxing the EDS-4000/G4000 Series Video

1 I DC FutureScape: Worldwide IT/OT Convergence 2022 Predictions, Doc #US47131521, October 2021. 2 Certification is expected in Q2, 2022. 3 Certification is expected in Q3, 2022. 4 I f the port link speed is 1 Gigabit or higher, the recovery time is < 50 ms.

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PICKED UP AND PUT OFF Autonomously driving robotic assistance system for the automated placement of coil creels.

The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class.


ue to the industry standard 4.0, digitalisation, automation and networking of systems and facilities are becoming the predominant topics in production and thus also in logistics. Industry 4.0 pursues the increasing optimisation of processes and workflows in favour of productivity and flexibility and thus the saving of time and costs. Robotic systems have become the driving force for automating processes. Through the Internet of Things (IoT), robots are becoming increasingly sensitive, autonomous, mobile and easier to operate. More and more they are becoming an everyday helper in factories and warehouses. Intelligent imaging techniques are playing an increasingly important role in this.

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To meet the growing demands in scaling and changing production environments towards fully automated and intelligently networked production, the company ONTEC Automation GmbH from Naila in Bavaria has developed an autonomously driving robotic assistance system. The “Smart Robot Assistant” uses the synergies of mobility and automation: it consists of a powerful and efficient intralogistics platform, a flexible robot arm and a robust 3D stereo camera system from the Ensenso N series by IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH. The solution is versatile and takes over monotonous, weighty set-up and placement tasks, for example. The autonomous transport system is suitable for floor-level lifting of Euro pallets up to container or industrial format as well as mesh pallets in various sizes with a maximum load of up to 1,200 kilograms. For a customer in the textile industry, the AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) is used


for the automated loading of coil creels. For this purpose, it picks up pallets with yarn spools, transports them to the designated creel and loads it for further processing. Using a specially developed gripper system, up to 1000 yarn packages per 8-hour shift are picked up and pushed onto a mandrel of the creel. The sizing scheme and the position of the coils are captured by an Ensenso 3D camera (N45 series) installed on the gripper arm. Application Pallets loaded with industrial yarn spools are picked up from the floor of a predefined storage place and transported to the creel location. There, the gripper positions itself vertically above the pallet. An image trigger is sent to theEnsenso 3D camera from the N45 series, triggered by the in-house software ONTEC SPSComm. It networks with the vehicle’s PLC and can thus read out and pass on data. In the application, SPSComm controls the communication between the software parts of the vehicle, gripper and camera. This way, the camera knows when the vehicle and the grabber are in position to take a picture. This takes an image and passes on a point cloud to a software solution from ONTEC based on the standard HALCON software, which reports the coordinates of the coils on the pallet to the robot. The robot can then accurately pick up the coils and process them further. As soon as the gripper has cleared a layer of the yarn spools, the Ensenso camera takes a picture of the packaging material lying between the yarn spools and provides point clouds of this as well. These point clouds are processed similarly to provide the robot with the information with which a needle gripper removes the intermediate layers. “This approach means that the number of layers and finishing patterns of the pallets do not have to be defined in advance and even incomplete pallets can be processed without any problems,” explains Tim Böckel, software developer

at ONTEC. “The gripper does not have to be converted for the use of the needle gripper. For this application, it has a normal gripping component for the coils and a needle gripping component for the intermediate layers.” For this task, the mobile use for 3D acquisition of moving and static objects on the robot arm, the Ensenso 3D camera is suitable due to its compact design. The Ensenso N 45’s 3D stereo electronics are completely decoupled from the housing, allowing the use of a lightweight plastic composite as the housing material. The low weight facilitates the use on robot arms such as the Smart Robotic Assistant. The camera can also cope with demanding environmental conditions. “Challenges with this application can be found primarily in the different lighting conditions that are evident in different rooms of the hall and at different times of the day,” Tim Böckel describes the situation. Even in difficult lighting

conditions, the integrated projector projects a high-contrast texture onto the object to be imaged by means of a pattern mask with a random dot pattern, thus supplementing the structures on featureless homogenous surfaces. This means that the integrated camera meets the requirements exactly. “By pre-configuring within NxView, the task was solved well.” This sample programme with source code demonstrates the main functions of the NxLib library, which can be used to open one or more stereo and colour cameras whose image and depth data are visualised. Parameters such as exposure time, binning, AOI and depth measuring range can - as in this case - be adjusted live for the matching method used.

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The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class.

The matching process empowers the Ensenso 3D camera to recognise a very high number of pixels, including their position change, by means of the auxiliary structures projected onto the surface and to create complete, homogeneous depth information of the scene from this. This in turn ensures the necessary precision with which the Smart Robot Assistant proceeds. Other selection criteria for the camera were, among others, the standard vision interface Gigabit Ethernet and the global shutter 1.3 MP sensor. “The camera only takes one image pair of the entire pallet in favour of a faster throughput time, but it has to provide the coordinates from a relatively large distance with an accuracy in the millimetre range to enable the robot arm to grip precisely,” explains Matthias Hofmann, IT specialist for application development at ONTEC. “We therefore need the high resolution of the camera to be able to safely record the edges of the coils with the 3D camera.” The localisation of the edges is important in order to be able to pass on as accurate 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021


as possible the position from the centre of the spool to the gripper.

to be stored and archived for possible evaluation.

Furthermore, the camera is specially designed for use in harsh environmental conditions. It has a screwable GPIO connector for trigger and flash and is IP65/67 protected against dirt, dust, splash water or cleaning agents.

ONTEC also uses these “FileCams” to automatically check test cases and thus ensure the correct functioning of all arrangements when making adjustments to the vision software. In addition, various vehicles can be coordinated and logistical bottlenecks minimised on the basis of the control system specially developed by ONTEC. Different assistants can be navigated and act simultaneously in a very confined space. By using the industrial interface tool ONTEC SPSComm, even standard industrial robots can be safely integrated into the overall application and data can be exchanged between the different systems.

Software The Ensenso SDK enables hand-eye calibration of the camera to the robot arm, allowing easy translation or displacement of coordinates using the robot pose. In addition, by using the internal camera settings, a “FileCam” of the current situation is recorded at each pass, i.e. at each image trigger. This makes it possible to easily adjust any edge cases later on, in this application for example unexpected lighting conditions, obstacles in the image or also an unexpected positioning of the coils in the image. The Ensenso SDK also allows the internal camera LOG files

Outlook Further development of the system is planned, among other things, in terms of navigation of the autonomous vehicle. “With regard to vehicle navigation for our AGV, the use of IDS cameras is very


interesting. We are currently evaluating the use of the new Ensenso S series to enable the vehicle to react even more flexibly to obstacles, for example, classify them and possibly even drive around them,” says Tim Böckel, software developer at ONTEC, outlining the next development step. ONTEC’s own interface configuration already enables the system to be integrated into a wide variety of Industry 4.0 applications, while the modular structure of the autonomously moving robot solution leaves room for adaptation to a wide variety of tasks. In this way, it not only serves to increase efficiency and flexibility in production and logistics, but in many places also literally contributes to relieving the workload of employees.

machines for industrial production. The business units consist of Technical Textile Solutions, Automation Solutions, Smart Robotic Solutions and Electric Switchboard Solutions. The company’s expertise with 25 years of experience is reflected in innovative, customeroriented solutions along the entire value chain and includes robotics, industrial image processing, software development, electrical engineering and mechanics.

Client ONTEC Automation GmbH is a system provider for integrated and innovative automation systems, plants and special 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



SOFTWARE UPDATE WITH NEW FEATURES AND TRIAL MONTH FOR THE AI TRAINING SOFTWARE IDS NXT ocean: use multiple neural networks for multiple ROIs in one image.


sers of the all-in-one embedded vision system IDS NXT ocean now have a whole range of new features at their disposal. These include multi-ROI (“Region Of Interest”) for AIbased object detection and the possibility to use different neural networks for different ROIs in one image via Vision App. In addition, there are binning, line scan mode and performance and configuration improvements. New customers can also freely choose whether they want to use the IDS NXT lighthouse training software on AWS – as previously offered by IDS – or now also via Microsoft Azure Cloud. With Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, IDS Imaging Development Systems now supports another hoster for the AI training software IDS NXT lighthouse in addition to AWS. The offer is aimed in particular at companies that are not allowed to work with AWS due to regulatory requirements. The scope of functions and services as well as the operation of the training software is the same with both hosters. Instead of setting up their own development environment, users can start training their own neural network right away in IDS NXT lighthouse – even without prior knowledge of Deep Learning or camera programming. This involves three essential steps: Upload sample images, label them and then start the fully automatic training. The resulting network is optimised for use with IDS NXT industrial cameras.

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Free IDS NXT lighthouse trial month for all customers How easy and convenient is the tool in reality? Interested parties can now judge for themselves. The company allows all customers to activate a free trial month and extensively test IDS NXT lighthouse. No sales contact is required to activate the full trial licence. All they have to do is register with their IDS user account at IDS NXT lighthouse (https://ids-lighthouse. ai/login) and select the appropriate option during the process. The licence key is automatically provided.

The current software release also heralds a new, regular cycle for function updates. In future, the company will release new features approximately every three to four months, which will further improve the IDS NXT system and give customers even more scope for designing their image processing applications. The next update, also free of charge, is scheduled for April.




nnodisk, a leading global provider of industrial flash and memory solutions, reflects on its AIoT wins of last year and outlook for 2022. Even now, in 2022, AIoT is still a buzz that’s impossible for business leaders to ignore however many are still not exactly sure how the pieces of the AIoT puzzle fit together or where to start. But the business proposition is clear, with 39.1% annual growth expected over the next five years. To seize the opportunities in the AIoT market, in 2021, Innodisk joined up with its subsidiaries to form an AIoT data-centric ecosystem called the “AIoT All-Round Service” that combines their expertise to provide a fullservice industrial AIoT package. After a year, Innodisk’s recent experience confirms this market trend, with AIoTrelated projects doubling each year. A deeper look reveals the primary focus lies in 5G, networking, infrastructure, and automation fields.

Especially with the high-performance industrial-grade storage, memory, and embedded peripherals, as well as software, Innodisk is now going one step further, integrating these into AIoT technology solutions that withstand heavy vibrations and harsh outdoor environments, such as AI robots and electric vehicles. AI robots have secured their place as the hands-free delivery method of choice in hotels, hospitals, and airports during the pandemic. These electronic helpers meet contact and social distancing prerogatives while reducing personnel workloads. Innodisk worked together with a hitechnology venture in the smart services sectors to integrate its customized SSDs into their AI robots, ensuring reliable operation. Electric vehicles place a large strain on electronics, with vibrations and heat exceeding the thresholds of standard equipment. A multinational technology company used Innodisk’s wide temperature DRAM modules, industrialgrade flash storage, and its subsidiary

Antzer’s GPS Tracker for their EV truck. As a result, their retail delivery system benefited from the AI technology while reducing pollutant and noise emissions. Eric Chang, Special Assistant of Innodisk, said, “We’re confident that the increase in AIoT applications will continue thriving through 2022, especially for electric vehicles and smart city applications.” He further added, “Electric vehicles like buses, trucks, logistics, and fleet management will all see growth. Smart cities are also in focus as more countries invest in technology construction to harness AIoT and smart cities, including intelligent street lamps and surveillance systems.” Innodisk is well-prepared for these technological advancements and has set a goal to “Build an Intelligent World”.

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FUZZY LOGIC MAKES ROBOTICS AGILE AT MBDA MBDA is a leading European manufacturer in the aerospace and armaments sector, specializing in the design of missiles and missile systems for the operational needs of the three branches of the military (army, navy and air force). MBDA France’s Bourges site specializes in the manufacture of tactical missile equipment utilising several key technologies: mechanical manufacturing (metal and composite materials) and electromechanical assembly.


he company wanted to robotise certain processes in small series or even single unit production, by allowing an operator with no programming skills to teach the robotic system, in just a few seconds, the process to be carried out, and then to execute the cycle with complete confidence without human supervision. Fuzzy Logic’s Repplix™ application software module addresses all aspects of this requirement in a cost-effective manner. The first use case selected was the tedious, manual cleaning of the moulds used to manufacture composites.

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MBDA France’s Bourges site produces numerous small series of composite parts that have to be moulded. Each mould is manually stripped clean before being used in production. This operation is complex: the parts to be treated are diverse and numerous and in each series, the level of residue to be stripped off, and its location may vary. This method of operation is tedious, and it also requires protecting the operator from exposure to toxic substances. Vincent RAFIN, Head of the Factory of the Future Project at MBDA explains: “At MBDA we look for agility when it comes to robotisation. We want to robotise tasks which cause muscolo-skeletal disorders in our operators, and which occur in certain cases in the production of very small series or even single parts,

so we need to keep the non-recurring costs of programming as low as possible. Programming a robot to define the trajectories of a laser is not the right approach for small series production, it is time-consuming and costly and has to be done by a roboticist.” For advice, MBDA turned to Meliad, a recognized expert in the aerospace industry for surface preparation and laser stripping, and to Staubli. The latter recommended Fuzzy Logic for its universal, visual programming solutions. Programming a laser stripper on the fly, with a non-roboticist operator Fuzzy Logic developed Repplix™, an extension of its Fuzzy Studio™ software, in cooperation with MBDA.


A portable learning device, controlled by the operator using his knowledge of the application task, teaches the Repplix™ software the first laser alignment. A monitoring function, performed via a real-time digital twin of the robotic installation created in Fuzzy Studio™, takes into account collision monitoring and trajectory feasibility in the robot’s environment. Alert parameters are set up. Trajectory capture combines several process parameters such as laser triggering and power. The operator, who is not a roboticist, is also able to modify the trajectory and process parameters via the graphical interface, even after the learning phase. Then, from this digital twin, the cycle is launched and the robot moves with the laser, guided by the accurate capture of the trajectory learned from the operator. The speed at which the robot operates is set directly in the software, it can differ from the speed in the learning phase. The cycle is performed autonomously by the robot, without the need for operator supervision. The same process, which takes only a few minutes, is done for each new series of moulds. Repplix™ is a different software solution, uniquely suited to robotising industrial processes like these The solution developed in this way, is executed with millimetre precision, and is capable of extension to even more demanding applications in the future. The manual operation can be reproduced with ease because the learning device is the representation of the real tool and is not directly linked to the robot. The

operator manages the execution and planning of the movement himself using the software and the parametrized alerts.

removed this barrier, which prevented the cost-effective automation of such applications.”

The time needed to programme the mould cleaning operation is slashed from several hours to only a few minutes. Productivity is increased by automating the cleaning operation and the risks for the operator are reduced. This makes robotising this operation profitable, both in terms of HSE and economics.

Jean-Michel DUCHAZEAUBENEIX, CEO of Meliad, details how Repplix™ opens up new perspectives for laser stripping applications: “we offer robotic laser stripping solutions, but this robotisation remains complicated because it has to be done by specialists. Programming a trajectory for a small series, as is the case at MBDA, generates prohibitively high non-recurring costs that directly kill the project. Repplix™ offers us the possibility of rapidly and easily deploying our laser solutions across a wide range of repair or maintenance applications which have been difficult to implement until now, whether they be the aeronautics industry or nuclear or defense. ”

Ryan LOBER, CEO of Fuzzy Logic adds: “With Repplix™, the robot becomes a precision tool in the hands of the operator. Our solution allows him to automate his task in complete autonomy, without any intervention from a specialist. Another advantage is that Repplix™ is designed to start being used immediately, with no real training required. Our solution allows the robotisation of processes where this has previously been impossible. What’s more, we have barely finished the initial application, and already, Repplix™ is being deployed by other users in Europe.” Nicolas GAUTIER, Robotics Technical Lead at MBDA, explains: this technological building block is duplicable, it will become available for this first use case in the first quarter of 2022. As well as this, MBDA are already working on extending it to cover new applications. For example, sandblasting, painting, welding or waterjet cutting. These applications all have complex trajectories that need to be programmed. With conventional tools, we would need highly qualified personnel and a great deal of time and so programming them would be very costly. Fuzzy Logic, with Repplix™ has now

As Denis GARDIN, MBDA’s Director of Innovation and Future Technologies concludes, “This innovation is the achievement the vision of MBDA engineers and operators who, working in close collaboration with innovative SMEs, have succeeded in taking the first step towards implementing a robotic solution which breaks the cost barrier for a wide range of use cases thanks to programming by non-invasive capture of the operators’ know-how.”

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TRANSELEC, CHILE’S LEADING SUPPLIER OF HIGH-VOLTAGE SYSTEMS, STRENGTHENS ITS ELECTRICAL SYSTEM AND IMPROVES THE ROBUSTNESS OF ITS OPERATIONS PcVue SCADA platform has been selected to control Alto Jahuel substation, the largest one of Chile National Electric System.

Alto Jahuel Substation

The company With almost 10,000 kilometers of lines and more than 60 substations, from the Arica y Parinacota Region to the Los Lagos Region, Transelec is the main supplier of high voltage systems in Chile. More than 70 years of experience in the energy sector support its vast expertise, allowing them to provide jobs to more than 500 workers. They also represent a fundamental piece in the country’s progress, since they are the main electric power transmission company in Chile and transport the energy that reaches 98% of the population living from the north to most of the south, with an 84.5% share of the National Electric System. 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021


Transelec’s work is a continuous reinforcement of the electrical system in order to make it increasingly robust and thus enable the connection of renewable energies, while advancing towards the decarbonization of the energy matrix. Transelec is owned by a consortium made up of the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, British Columbia Investment Management Corp., Public Sector Pension Investment Board, and China Southern Power Grid International. Transelec’s main task is to provide an uninterrupted electrical system in which energy is transported through


View of HMI communications

high voltage transmission lines from generation sources to cities and industrial and mining users. Substations convert the energy to low voltage for distribution to end users, contributing to the improvement of their quality of life and by extension to the country’s development. Among its various substations, the Alto Jahuel substation stands out, located in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, it is the substation with the largest capacity in the National Electric System, with an installed capacity of 2,554 MVA. It also has yards with all the voltage levels that exist in the Chilean transmission system: 500kV, 220kV, 154kV, 110kV, 60kV and 13.2kV. Electrical SCADA Project Being specialists in the development and implementation of SCADA systems, SCADATECH was chosen by Transelec for this project. As part of its comprehensive engineering solutions for electrical power systems, the company selected the versatile platform of PcVue Solutions for the automation of the Alto Jahuel

substation, allowing the monitoring and control of its 7 yards.

types of alarms are indicated according to the aforementioned coloration.

Initially, the customer did not have local HMIs to monitor the yards from the control rooms associated with each of them, so the operations had to be performed directly on the control equipment. Due to this, SCADATECH proposed PcVue’s SCADA solution to provide a scalable and multifunctional platform that would allow the integration of future requirements and reduce the risk for operators when executing maneuvers by transferring operations to the control rooms of each power yard.

Likewise, the HMI stations allow the visualization in real time of status and measurements of the electrical system. It also carries out the remote control or operation towards the IED field equipment, having total control and supervision of the existing electrical system. For the control and supervision of the different displays: general unilinear, alarms and events panel, communications diagram and other areas, a menu was configured on the right side of the screen that facilitates navigation between the different areas, allowing the operator to execute his tasks locally.

Technically, the application allows direct integration in MMS protocol standard 61850, in addition to the DNP 3.0 protocol, which was chosen as the basis for the project, as well as the use of existing adaptable programming within the PcVue platform. It provides the flexibility to display the dynamic coloration of the voltage levels in the substation’s singleline diagrams according to the standard used by Transelec, in which different

Within this supervision project, the DNP 3.0 and MMS under the IEC 61850 standard protocols were used and Touch screens were placed in each of the yards, which allow the deployment of the applications built in the PcVue software. The application collects data from NTX-U57 equipment used for the retrofit of the TELEGYR RTUs, that allows sending

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General one-line diagram on Touch Screen

the RTU database in DNP 3.0 protocol to each of the associated displays. As an architecture, a star connection was chosen, where the displays have an independent connection per yard, which has the advantage of not depending on the fiber optic links to the substation server room to collect data, but they work as STAND-ALONE equipment within each yard. Among the equipment integrated into the local HMIs are GE D25 bay controllers, protections (ABB-Siemens-General Electric, MICOM), CISCO communication switches and Schneider Electric ION meters. One of the great benefits of PcVue is that it is a multi-brand platform and easily adapts to equipment from any manufacturer.

SCADATECH, the company integrating this project, states that they chose PcVue Solutions’ proposal because it has native support for various electrical protocols. This feature considerably increases the availability of the system, eliminating points of failure and reducing development time, since it is not necessary to configure different applications and interfaces, as it is generally done in the integration of communication protocols in the electrical sector. Among other elements, the PcVue platform has the highest quality standards within a highly competitive price, which made it easier for SCADATECH to be favored in the bidding process. For Transelec, the commitment to the operational excellence of the electric transmission system and mainly the safety of collaborators and contractors of the company was a priority and PcVue has important elements to guarantee the computer security. So, it represents a key factor to facilitate the increase of the security level for the people and to improve the telecontrol in a significant way for all the voltage yards. SCADATECH is currently developing an application with PcVue to extend local control to general monitoring of the entire

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substation from a centralized SCADA in Alto Jahuel, which will allow operators to make control decisions in the event of failure of Transelec’s main SCADA. The application has a general display of the substation, in 3 total screens, including the 7 voltage yards, local monitoring of the networks through SNMP protocol, monitoring of all control equipment associated with the system (temperature and status of each of the more than 90 NTXU57 cards installed between all voltage yards) and general status of communications between the substation Gateway and the voltage yards. IEC-60870-5-104 is being used as the communication protocol, since the monitoring is carried out with the same existing databases in Transelec’s centralized SCADA, which will also allow verifying the correct operation of the communications within the system. In fact, Transelec, together with its systems integrator SCADATECH, continue to bet on the reliability provided by the PcVue software for the electrical control and monitoring of the Alto Jahuel substation. Given its capacity to adapt to different ranges of computer architectures and the ease with which


NTXU57 cards

PcVue provides data analysis and, therefore, quick decision-making for the operators, the platform was expanded to other corners of the company. Project highlights The Challenges • The largest capacity in the National Electric System with an installed capacity of 2,554 MVA • 7 yards with all the voltage levels that exist in the Chilean transmission system: 500kV, 220kV, 154kV, 110kV, 60kV and 13.2kV • No local HMIs to monitor the yards from the control rooms associated with each of them, so the operations were performed directly on the control equipment

The Benefits • Scalable and multifunctional platform allowing the integration of future requirements • Reduce the risk of operators • D irect integration in MMS protocol standard 61850, in addition to DNP 3.0 protocol • Visualization in real time of status and measurements of the electrical system • R emote control of the IED field equipment and existing electrical system • Displays with independent connection per yard, working as STAND-ALONE equipment • Guarantee of computer security for operational continuity and safety of collaborators and contractors • High system availability • Quick decision-making for operators Le a r n m o re o n PcVu e E n e rg y Management SCADA System and how to be more sustainable php/markets/energy Download the brochure “Solutions for Power”

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The Swiss-headquartered Fischer Connectors Group continues to push the boundaries of highdensity miniaturization in connectivity. Its ultra-miniature, rugged series of connectors, cable assemblies and electronic solutions has been extended to help engineers add more functionality and meet high-speed data acquisition and transmission requirements in applications with extreme limitations in space, even in harsh operating environments.


he flagship product line Fischer MiniMax™ Series, which already includes one of the smallest and densest connectors in the world, now includes three connectors and their associated cables with new options in pin layout, body size and data speed:

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• N ew pin-layout configuration: 7 contacts (4x signal, 3x power) in Ø 10 mm receptacle (Fischer Connectors reference ’size 06’) with a configuration offering up to 22 AWG and a choice of three locking mechanisms (quick-release, push-pull, screw), as a perfect alternative for designing even smaller equipment for the Nett Warrior connectivity ecosystem and for other rugged applications • New body size: Ø 14.0 mm (size 10) with 12 signal and power contacts offering USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbit/s, 1 m) and high power up to 8A, suited for high-speed intercom boxes and next-generation hubs • New ultra-high density: 30 contacts (24x signal, 6x power) in Ø 14.0 mm


(size 10), supporting multi-protocol data transmission (such as HDMI, USB, Ethernet) and extending the popular high-density layout offering for instrumentation applications, unmanned systems, and sensor and IoT interconnections. Increased density and optimized packaging factors for design flexibility The increased density and optimized packaging factor offered by the MiniMax series apply to a varied array of lightweight and compact solutions, from various connector configurations, through cable assemblies with straight, right-angle or 60° overmolding, to electronic solutions including hubs, flash drives and flex PCB circuits tailored to the size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements of entire electronic systems and ecosystems. This provides OEM engineers with more flexibility in terms of design when it comes to choosing from different connectivity solutions in line with specific system-level and field-application engineering requirements, harsh

operating environments, as well as costefficiency criteria. Smaller connectivity yields big advantages in terms of design integration. For example, the 12 mm diameter receptacle (size 08) with up to 24 power and signal contacts represents up to a 45% space saving compared to standard receptacles with a similar number of contacts. The external dimensions of electronic devices are affected by the growing demand for sensors and mobile (or wearable) electronics as well as for autonomous robotics and vehicles. This implies everlighter components. With up to 75% weight saving, the Fischer MiniMax™ Series achieves both size and weight reduction, maximizing performances while minimizing the integration burden. One of the smallest and densest connectors in the world is a Fischer MiniMax™ connector. The connector in size 06 includes up to 12 power and signal contacts in a footprint of just 10 mm. This represents a density factor of 0.83, a unique technological feature

for a connector with standard 0.5 mm contacts. The density factor is equal to the receptacle diameter divided by the number of contacts available in that receptacle size. When ruggedized for durable life cycles, lightweight and ultra-miniature solutions further increase flexibility and facilitates design integration for demanding applications. The main reliability features of the Fischer MiniMax™ Series are 5,000 mating cycles, 360° EMC shielding, IP68 sealing -20m/24h, gas tightness to 10-6 mbar l/s, high corrosion resistance, operating temperatures from -40 °C to +135 °C, blind mating, three secure locking mechanisms (quick-release, push-pull, screw), and cable assemblies with straight or angled bend relief overmolding. Two use cases: Robust, high-density miniaturization applied Lidar (laser imaging detection and ranging) for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). YellowScan, based in southern France, designs lightweight UAV-lidar mapping

YellowScan’s Mapper uses three Fischer Minimax™ connectors: 4 pins for the external power port; 24 pins (RJ45 and Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter, UART) for the LiveStation port; and 19 pins (USB and General Purpose Input/Output, GPIO) for the optional camera port

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The 6-axis force sensors of ME-Meßsysteme use the powerful, robust MP11 connectors in the Fischer MiniMax™ Series.

solutions for surveying operations such as a survey of ruins, topographic studies of road and rail corridors, and an airborne survey of the Amazon in French Guyana that maps both canopy and terrain to study the impacts of climate change. The key connectivity requirements for lidar systems such as the YellowScan’s Mapper using three Fischer MiniMax™ connectors are: space and weight, rugged material, vibration resistance, dust and rain proofing with high IP sealing, large pin count and EMI shielding. Strain gauge sensors. To ensure that machines and systems in robotics, medical technology or the automotive industry are operated safely and precisely, the forces and torques need to be monitored constantly. One proven methodology for obtaining reliable results is strain gauge technology. Since the sensors are very small, connectivity also has to be suitably minimized, and data transmission must remain stable even when there are high vibrations. The engineers of ME-Meßsysteme based in Germany have chosen the compact and robust Fischer MiniMax™ Series to meet these requirements in data transmission and vibration resistance.

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CEO and CTO quotes Jonathan Brossard, Fischer Connectors CEO: “Special know-how, skillsets and miniaturization and ruggedization processes and techniques are required from our R&D and Operations teams to design and manufacture our ultraminiature, high-density and high-speed connectivity solutions. We are very proud we can provide the design engineering community with some of the smallest and densest connectivity solutions in the world, combined with unparalleled ergonomics and robustness.” Jérôme Dabonneville, Fischer Connectors CTO: “The multiplication of sensors – reflecting a growing need for data acquisition and transmission – as well as the constant scale reduction of electronic components are the two main innovation drivers for ever-smaller, lighter and more capable high-density, ultraminiature connectors, cable assemblies and electronic solutions. Demands for connectivity tailored to electronic devices and systems ensuring signal integrity and maximizing power & data functionality, performance and reliability, while containing or maintaining footprint to a minimum, are on the rise. The new solutions we are now making available to the market completes our Fischer MiniMax™ range in this direction. Tested to IEC, EIA and MIL-SPEC quality and reliability standards, they allow design engineers to accelerate innovative designs

for various challenging applications in defense & security, UAVs and industrial instrumentation, to name just a few of the harsh operating environments for which our ultra-miniature connectivity solutions are particularly well suited.” More info: • F ischer MiniMax™ Series with full technical specifications • YellowScan’s lidar and Fischer MiniMax™ in Connector Supplier’s article “Lidar Systems Give Vision to Vehicles” • ME-Meßsysteme’s 6-axis force sensors and Fischer MiniMax™ in case study “Smooth data transmission even with vibrations” • Miniaturization technology on Fischer Connectors NEW WEBSITE with new tech insights


INNODISK RELEASES THE WORLD’S FIRST 10GBE LAN MODULE IN M.2 FORM FACTOR Innodisk has announced its all-new EGPL-T101 M.2 2280 10GbE LAN module, the first 10GbE LAN designed in M.2 form factor, features flexible integration and excellent compatibility with existing network infrastructure for crucial backward compatibility.


ooking into the booming markets and scenarios ranging from surveillance to gaming, networking, and industrial uses, the growing demand for high-speed LAN solutions is promising. Additionally, interference issues are also occurring more often as the size of the PCIe form factor cannot fit in the smaller design of IPC platforms nowadays. Being the leading global provider of industrial embedded flash and memory, Innodisk is introducing the first M.2 10GbE LAN module designed to meet the demand for increased speed and reduced size, highspeed LAN solutions.

Innodisk’s EGPL-T101 is the first M.2 2280-to-single 10GbE Base-T Ethernet module which is also the smallest 10GbE expansion solution available today and ten times faster than standard Ethernet. By supporting PCI Express Gen 3x2, the EGPL-T101 module can provide sufficient bandwidth for one 10GbE LAN port suitable for server and industrial applications’ high-speed network demands.

EGPL-T101 is suitable for various highspeed scenarios, including: Machine vision in industrial applications High throughput network data transmission High-resolution imaging for surveillance Low-latency for gaming Mass production of the EGPL-T101 is expected to begin in December 2021 to meet the growing demand for innovative high-speed LAN solutions.

As an Innodisk high-speed LAN solution, EGPL-T101 boasts flexible integration. Its standard RJ45 LAN port on a tiny daughterboard provides an easy solution for upgrading to a 10GbE network using existing Cat6/6A copper cables. The EGPL-T101 also features excellent compatibility with its six network standards supported in 10/5/2.5/1Gbps and 100/10Mbps, providing excellent backward compatibility with existing network infrastructure. Lastly, the EGPL-T101 features high-performance computing (HPC) which is ten times faster than the widely used Gigabit Ethernet with low power consumption.

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ROBOT SOLUTION FOR AUTOMATING THE LETTUCE HARVEST British research team of agricultural engineering and machinery experts develops harvesting robot with IDS camera.


ettuce is a valuable crop in Europe and the USA. But labour shortages make it difficult to harvest this valuable field vegetable, as sourcing sufficient seasonal labour to meet harvesting commitments is one of the sector’s biggest challenges. Moreover, with wage inflation rising faster than producer prices, margins are very tight. The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class. In England, agricultural technology and machinery experts are working with IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH (Obersulm, Germany) to develop a robotic solution to automate lettuce harvesting. The team is working on a project funded by Innovate UK and includes experts from the Grimme agricultural machinery factory, the Agri-EPI Centre (Edinburgh UK), Harper Adams University (Newport UK), the Centre for Machine Vision at Harvesting Services Ltd.,” explains IDS the University of the West of England Product Sales Specialist Rob Webb. “The (Bristol) and two of the UK’s largest salad prototype harvesting robot being built producers, G’s Fresh and PDM Produce. incorporates a GigE Vision camera from the uEye FA family. It is considered to be Within the project, existing leek harvesting particularly robust and is therefore ideally machinery is adapted to lift the lettuce suited to demanding environments. ‘As clear from the ground and grip it in this is an outdoor application, a housing between pinch belts. The lettuce’s outer, with IP65/67 protection is required here,’ or “wrapper”, leaves will be mechanically Rob Webb points out. removed to expose the stem. Machine vision and artificial intelligence are then The choice fell on the GV-5280FA-Cused to identify a precise cut point on HQ model with the compact 2/3” global the stem to neatly separate the head of shutter CMOS sensor IMX264 from Sony. lettuce. “The sensor was chosen mainly because “The cutting process of an iceberg is of its versatility. We don’t need full the most technically complicated step resolution for AI processing, so sensitivity in the process to automate, according can be increased by binning. The larger to teammates from G subsidiary Salad sensor format means that wide-angle 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021


optics are not needed either,” Rob Webb summarised the requirements. In the application, the CMOS sensor convinces with excellent image quality, light sensitivity and exceptionally high dynamic range and delivers almost noisefree, very high-contrast 5 MP images in 5:4 format at 22 fps - even in applications with fluctuating light conditions. The extensive range of accessories, such as lens tubes and trailing cables, is just as tough as the camera housing and the screwable connectors (8-pin M12 connector with X-coding and 8-pin Binder connector). Another advantage: camerainternal functions such as pixel preprocessing, LUT or gamma reduce the required computer power to a minimum.


Machine vision and AI are used to determine a precise intersection point on the stem

The prototype of the robotic mower will be used for field trials in England towards the end of the 2021 season. “We are delighted to be involved in the project and look forward to seeing the results. We are convinced of its potential to automate and increase the efficiency of the lettuce harvest, not only in terms of compensating for the lack of seasonal workers,” affirms Jan Hartmann, Managing Director of IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH. The challenges facing the agricultural sector are indeed complex. According to a forecast by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), agricultural productivity will have to increase by almost 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2012 due to the dramatic increase in population. Such a

yield expectation means an enormous challenge for the agricultural industry, which is still in its infancy in terms of digitalisation compared to other sectors and is already under high pressure to innovate in view of climatic changes and labour shortages. The agriculture of the future is based on networked devices and automation. Cameras are an important building block, and artificial intelligence is a central technology here. Smart applications such as harvesting robots can make a significant contribution to this.

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THE COMPLETE SAFETY SOLUTION FOR ACCESS GUARDING ON PALLET MAGAZINES FROM LEUZE Pallet magazines with automatic restart contribute to increased system efficiency. This requires a reliable access guarding system. A new safety solution with induction loops, light curtain and monitored signal sequence satisfies the requirements of revised standard EN 415-4, thereby ensuring maximum safety.

The access area is protected by a safety light curtain. In addition, induction loops are embedded in the floor in front of and behind the safety sensor. The safety system can thereby distinguish between forklift truck and persons.

Normative framework: revised EN 415-4 Manufacturers and operators of machines and systems must comply with legal regulations. Applicable to manufacturers are, among other things, the Product Safety Act – for operating companies, the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health. Standards play another important role. They describe requirements and provide support in ensuring safety at machines and systems. These are, however, not legally binding in Europe. For manufacturers or 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021


operators of machines or systems, type C standards are especially relevant. These are machine-specific safety standards. Among these are EN 415-4 “Safety of packaging machines – Part 4: Palletizers and depalletizers and associated equipment”. The content of the standard from 1997 was significantly revised. In the forthcoming version of the standard, new requirements are placed on manufacturers and operating companies. This also affects the access guarding of pallet magazines with automatic restart.

Traditional concept with external induction loops Up to now, many material transfer stations with automatic restart were safeguarded as follows: electro-sensitive protective equipment (ESPE) secured the access point – if the ESPE is interrupted, the machine and conveyor are stopped. To avoid needing to restart the stopped machine after loading by a corridor supply vehicle, such as a forklift truck, two induction loops are used as muting signals. These are located in the floor in front of the ESPE. When the forklift

LEUZE moves over the induction loops, the electro-sensitive protective equipment is temporarily bridged. This solution no longer corresponds to the current state of safety technology: The system often ends in a single-channel evaluation logic; as a result, the safety performance is no longer adequate for the given application under certain circumstances. A new type of access guarding for a pallet magazine aims to prevent the entry of persons but simultaneously allow pallets to enter by means of a forklift truck. Compliance with standards through sequence monitoring Manufacturers and operating companies can now make use of a new solution that is described in the future version of standard EN 415-4. This thereby corresponds to the current state of the art. Two induction loops are also used for this type of access guarding on pallet magazines. The difference to traditional concepts: Both of the induction loops are not located in front of the danger zone. Instead, one is located outside of the danger zone and the second is located behind the electro-sensitive protective equipment, i.e, within the danger zone. The ESPE – the optoelectronic protective device – also remains at the previous position. As before, it separates the traffic zone and danger zone. In addition, there is also a safety system that monitors a defined sequence of signals and initiates the automatic restart. Various possibilities for safeguarding areas of systems For this solution, the following technical framework conditions must be implemented: the pallet magazine must be safeguarded at the adjacent areas. A person who passes through the ESPE must not be able to enter other areas of the system unnoticed. This can be ensured mechanically, e.g., by means of a height limitation. This allows an empty pallet to pass through, but not a person. Alternatively, a second piece of electro-sensitive protective equipment can be installed to detect the entry of a person into the danger zone. Another requirement: the outer induction loop over which the forklift truck travels requires sufficient space. This is somewhat larger than the inner loop. In addition, the operating personnel must be instructed because this involves an automatic restart. The driver of the

forklift truck is responsible for ensuring that no one gains access to the danger zone by moving alongside the forklift truck. If, there is still a person in the inner area at this time, the driver must not drive out, as the pallet magazine will otherwise be started. Alternatively, this risk can also be eliminated by means a safeguard that provides stepping behind protection. Step-by-step to more safety This type of access guarding functions along a defined process. Working in the background is a safety system that monitors precisely this process flow. Only once the sequence has been concluded does the system initiate the automatic restart of the machine. This process is also described in revised standard EN 415-4: 1. The forklift truck arrives, the machine is in operation and the electro-sensitive protective equipment is active. 2. T he forklift travels over the outer induction loop and is thereby detected by the system. The pallet magazine continues to run. 3. The ESPE is interrupted by the forklift truck. The pallet magazine is stopped. This also applies if a person passes by the ESPE. 4. The forklift truck continues to move and is located within all sensors: over the outer and inner induction loops and in the protective field of the interrupted ESPE. 5. The forklift deposits the pallet(s) and travels in reverse. This first frees the inner induction loop and then the ESPE. 6. The forklift exits the outer induction loop. The sequence is concluded and automatic restart of the pallet magazine is initiated. In summary, this means: If the presence of a forklift truck is detected by the induction loops and if the forklift then correctly executes the specified process sequence, the safety system initiates the automatic restart of the work process. Perfect for performance level d With this concept, operating companies benefit from a standards-compliant safety solution corresponds to the current state of the art. The requirements of EN 415-4 “Safety of packaging machines – Part 4: Palletizers and depalletizers and associated equipment” are thereby satisfied. The system is

designed for performance level d, the second-highest safety level. Thanks to the automatic restart of the machine without manual operator interventions, the packaging system can be optimally utilized. In addition to increased reliability, the advantages also include optimum protection against manipulation: the sequence- and time-monitored process contributes to high protection against bypassing. Furthermore, the system can easily be integrated in the safety circuit of the primary control and service costs remain minimal. Another plus is the flexible usability: The solution is suitable for both palletizers as well as for depalletizers and offers freedom for transport materials to the left and right. Thanks to scalability, the safety system can be adapted to various applications through the use of appropriate components. Ready-to-use system Leuze offers the described safety solution for access guarding on pallet magazines with automatic restart as a complete package that has been tested and validated with respect to safety with the following components: • Induction-loop set with evaluation unit • MLC 500 safety light curtain, with device columns for floor mounting • MSI 400 safety control, programmable and with induction loop controller • Leuze safety program • 2-channel safety output • Acknowledgement box as electromechanical reset apparatus The reset apparatus is used if a sequence is not correctly completed. Or a person interrupts the electro-sensitive protective equipment. The button is used to confirm to the system that the process can be correctly restarted and that persons are no longer located in the danger zone. As a ready-to-use system, the solution from the Sensor People at Leuze can be used immediately after installation. System owners are, thus, always on the safe side and already satisfy the requirements of the future EN 415-4 today.

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elta, a world-class provider of industrial automation solutions, announced the launch of its new compact and high-efficiency servo system ASDA-B3 Series, which offers a user-friendly operation environment with precise motion control functions, a newly- added safe torque off (STO) function, high responsiveness up to 3.1kHz and high positioning precision with over 16.7 million pulses per revolution to optimize production efficiency and output value in a wide range of applications, such as machine tools, electronics, semiconductors, industrial robots, printing, packaging, textiles, warehousing, and medical. Concurrently we have also launched the new generation motor of ECM-B3 Series, offering improved power density, stability, and stiffness while reducing 40% space requirements. Nevertheless, torque has increased 350% and the maximum speed is now 6000 rpm. With the new ASDASoft GUI, the time of commissioning and troubleshooting is shorter.

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“Customers across a broad range of manufacturing and industrial automation applications are going to be really excited about our new generation of servo drives,” said Davide Bagnacani, product manager, Industrial Automation Business Group at Delta Electronics EMEA region. “The ASDA-B3 Series is a big step up in performance and we think this will make it attractive for applications, such as machine tools, electronics, semiconductors, industrial robots, printing, packaging, textiles, and warehousing. Moreover, applications that might not have used a servo drive before will see a noticeable increase in throughput. This drive is going to make the decision to use a servo motor much easier.”


A new level of performance Among the many performance highlights of the new 230VAC ECM-B3 motor from Delta is an auto tuning feature that ensures optimized operation without the need for manual adjustments. Responsiveness has been bumped up to 3.1 kHz from the 1 kHz of the preceding model. Delta has programmed new motor control algorithms and increased the computing power of the drive to achieve this superior result. A 40% reduction in settling time also contributes to improved production line productivity. Load tolerances have increased, allowing for better control resolution and system stability as well as higher response bandwidth for the same load conditions. Further contributing to efficiency are the low cogging torque, increased speed, and lower acceleration and deceleration times. As with the previous line of Delta servo drives, customers can choose from motors with varying inertia ranges to achieve the most efficient inertia ratio.

The new drive enables a number of motion functions, for instance in PR mode. Operators can use up to 99 PR paths for flexible motion command planning. The Capture feature makes it possible to capture coordinates instantly from a single set of digital inputs.

Positioning is now several orders of magnitude more precise thanks to the 24-bit encoder, which results in 16,777,216 pulses per turn and 46,603 pulses for a single degree. This absolute encoder also retains the motor’s position when the power is off.

State-of-the-art safety, communications, and control Safety features include built-in STO with no additional module required (B3A family), reaching a safety integrity level of 2 (SIL-2) and performance level D (PLD). The ASDA-B3 Series can also operate using several different control modes from traditional pulse train and analog input to the more current fieldbus systems including CANopen and EtherCAT. These different control modes were achieved with three different hardware designs to ensure good segmentation and achieve cost efficiency for the respective application. The EtherCAT command frequency has been raised to 125 µs / 8kHz for greater accuracy.

Flexibility, compatibility, and enhanced usability The new configuration application ASDASoft employs wizards to guide users through a fast and easy setup procedure. Onboard diagnostics features and usability have been improved with a new and intuitive layout. The new servo drives of ASDA-B3 Series are compatible with the existing motors of ASDA-A2 Series and ASDA-A3 Series. Configurations are available with IP20 connectors and IP65 connectors are in planning.

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SEEQ CORPORATION ACHIEVES AWS ENERGY COMPETENCY STATUS The designation recognizes Seeq’s expertise in enabling faster insights for energy customers with advanced analytics features and innovations.

The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class.


eeq Corporation, a leader in manufacturing and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) advanced analytics software, announced that it has achieved Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) Energy Competency status. This designation recognizes that Seeq has demonstrated deep expertise helping customers leverage AWS cloud technology to transform complex systems and accelerate the transition to a sustainable energy future.

Achieving the AWS Energy Competency differentiates Seeq as an AWS Partner with extensive knowledge and technical proficiency within this unique industry, including proven customer success developing solutions across the value chain from production operations and optimization to commodities trading, new energy solutions, and more. To receive the designation, AWS Partners undergo a rigorous technical validation process, including a customer reference audit. The AWS Energy Competency provides energy customers the ability to more easily select skilled Partners to help accelerate their digital transformations with confidence. “Seeq is proud to be among the first AWS Partners to achieve the AWS Energy Competency status,” says Dr. Lisa Graham, CEO at Seeq. “Seeq and AWS are complementary solutions for the advancement of the energy industry. By choosing Seeq on AWS, energy

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companies can leverage the big data, machine learning, and computer science innovations they need to improve production and business outcomes.” AWS is enabling scalable, flexible, and cost-effective solutions from startups to global enterprises. To support the seamless integration and deployment of these solutions, AWS established the AWS Competency Programto help customers identify AWS Partners with deep industry experience and expertise. To receive the designation, AWS Partners undergo a rigorous technical validation process, including a customer reference audit. Seeq also achieved theAWS Industrial Software Competency in 2019. Seeq’s advanced analytics application is a preferred solution for upstream production optimization in AWS Marketplace, enabling customers to rapidly investigate and share insights from process data stored on premise or in the cloud. Energy industry customers can also use Seeq to improve sustainability efforts, including carbon recapture, greenhouse gas detection and mitigation, and more. Examples of use cases for energy customers using Seeq on AWS include one company that is deploying a realtime event detection model for analyzing well production performance across its asset base, and another that is reducing unplanned downtime and unifying data to optimize asset uptime by using Seeq to connect to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and its on-premises historic data. Seeq on AWS can be procured in AWS Marketplace, which simplifies the procurement process and provides incentives for enterprise customers through the AWS Enterprise Discount Program. In addition, all AWS Marketplace sellers are verified as “ready-to-run” on AWS, expediting the purchase process. This streamlined approach to technology

deployment enables companies using Seeq to quickly and easily realize the benefits of advanced analytics. In addition to AWS data services, Seeq connects to an extensive set of data storage platforms from vendors including OSIsoft, Siemens, GE, Honeywell, Inductive Automation, AVEVA, AspenTech, Yokogawa, InfluxDB, Snowflake, and others. Seeq is available worldwide through a global partner network of system integrators, which provides training and resale support for Seeq in over 40 countries, in addition to its direct sales organization in North America and Europe.

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SEEQ ANNOUNCES EXPANDED MICROSOFT AZURE MACHINE LEARNING SUPPORT New Seeq Azure Add-on feature enables rapid deployment of Azure Machine Learning algorithms to frontline plant employees.

The BXT motors deliver considerably higher torques than those usual in this drive class.


eeq Corporation announced additional integration support for Microsoft Azure Machine Learning. This new Seeq Azure Add-on, announced at Microsoft Ignite 2021, an annual conference for developers and IT professionals hosted by Microsoft, enables process manufacturing organizations to deploy machine learning models from Azure Machine Learning as Add-ons in Seeq Workbench. The result is machine learning algorithms and innovations developed by IT departments can be operationalized so frontline OT employees can enhance their decision making and improve production, sustainability indicators, and business outcomes. Seeq customers include companies in the oil & gas, pharmaceutical, chemical, energy, mining, food and beverage, and other process industries. Investors in

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Seeq, which has raised over $100M to date, include Insight Ventures, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, Altira Group, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Cisco Investments. Seeq’s strategy for enabling machine learning innovations provides end users with access to algorithms from a variety of sources, including open source, third party and internal data science teams. With the new Azure Machine Learning integration, data science teams can develop models using Azure Machine Learning Studio and then publish them using the Seeq Azure Add-ons feature, available this week on GitHub. Using Seeq Workbench, frontline employees with domain expertise can easily access these models, validate them by overlaying near real-time operational data with the model results, and provide feedback to the data science team. This enables an iterative set of interactions between IT and OT employees, accelerating time to


insight for both groups, while creating the continuous improvement loop necessary to sustain the full lifecycle of machine learning operations. “Seeq and Azure Machine Learning are critical and complementary solutions for a successful machine learning model lifecycle,” says Megan Buntain, Director of Cloud Partnerships at Seeq. “By capitalizing on IT and OT users’ strengths, the Seeq Azure Add-on expands the Seeq experience and creates new opportunities for organizations to scale up model deployment and development.” Along with increased access to machine learning models through this integration, Seeq’s self-service applications enable frontline employees to perform ad hoc analyses and use the models themselves, rather than rely on an IT team member for support. As the models yield results, Seeq empowers users to scale them across the organization to improve asset reliability, production monitoring, optimization, and sustainability. In addition to launching the Azure integration, Seeq is also expanding its list of published open source algorithms this week with the addition of a new Seeq Add-on to GitHub for multivariate pattern search. Seeq’s open source gallery also includes algorithms and workflows for correlation and clustering analytics, which users can modify and improve based on their own needs.

countries, in addition to its direct sales organization in North America and Europe.

Seeq has been available as a SaaS application in the Azure Marketplace since 2019, with support for many Azure cloud services including Synapse, Azure Data Lake, and Active Directory. Seeq also supports connectivity to Azure Data Explorer, Time Series Insights, and Power BI. Seeq is available worldwide through a global partner network of system integrators, which provides training and resale support for Seeq in over 40 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



ROTARY POWER INVESTS £3 MILLION IN ROBOTIC MACHINING CELL AT NORTH EAST FACTORY Rotary Power, part of the British Engines Group, has invested over £3 million in an automated DMG Mori machining cell which has been installed at the company’s manufacturing facility in the United Kingdom.

DMG Mori, headquartered in Japan, is one of the world’s leading CNC machine tool manufacturers. Following a merger between German company, DMG, and Japanese company, Mori Seiki in 2010, their joint cutting-edge technology leads the way in the development of high-tech, automated manufacturing machinery.


he automated capability of the new cell has improved Rotary Power’s manufacturing efficiency by reducing the set up time by 87.5%. The average cycle time has also been reduced by 33% thanks to the machine’s latest cutting technology.

Measuring 19 metres by 10 metres, the customised cell installed at Rotary Power consists of one automated robot travelling between two machines via a 13 metre track. The robot automatically loads and unloads parts, sets the machines and collects completed products. The cell is primarily used to manufacture components for Rotary Power’s range of motors and pumps. The cell became fully operational last month and sets Rotary Power apart by improving quality and reducing wastage. The new machine also standardises the length of time each tool is used for by assigning a tool life span. Removing set-up variations in this way improves consistency, whilst reducing wastage on consumable items.

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Ian McGeorge, Manufacturing Manager at Rotary Power, who has been leading the project said: “The addition of the new cell represents an exciting time for the company as it has allowed us to position ourselves more competitively within the market by improving our quality and reducing costs.” A huge effort has been made by the team at Rotary Power to prepare for the implementation of the new cell and the business looks forward to seeing the positive impact that this investment will have in the future. Part of the British Engines Group, Rotary Power is a manufacturing company based in South Shields that specialises in the design, development and manufacture of hydraulic pumps and motors. Rotary Power has three subsidiaries in the USA, Germany and India, as well as a worldwide network of distributors and agents.


RED LION LAUNCHES A NEXT GENERATION GRAPHICAL PANEL METER, PM-50 The simplicity of a panel meter meets the power of a connected future.


ed Lion introduces the next generation of panel meters, PM50. This graphical panel meter, PM-50, expands Red Lion’s existing award-winning panel meter portfolio. The PM-50 is available as a 3.5-inch or 4.3inch graphical touchscreen display. Using simple “swipe” technology, users can easily switch between relevant screens and receive comprehensive operational data for monitoring equipment and production. Visual alerts notify the user that immediate action is necessary, either on the unit itself or via PM-50 app, available on Google Play or Apple Store.

The PM-50 offers built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for users to remotely access critical workflow and process data from the confines of the plant floor to create a smarter plant floor. Wired connectivity is also an option via Ethernet and Modbus. Rod Smith, Senior Director, Product Management for Red Lion offered: “Today’s manufacturing environment is changing quickly and there is a greater need for data visibility, connectivity, and collection. So, when developing this next generation panel meter, the team at Red Lion challenged themselves to create a product that would help solve these challenges and allow manufacturers to take additional steps in creating a smarter factory floor. The PM-50, with its innovative graphical display, does just that - allowing for more efficient processes, improved uptime, and lower operational costs.” The PM-50 is easy to install, program, and expand. The PM-50 can replace a meter with a 1/8 or 1/16 DIN panel cut out. An on-device programming wizard, mobile app, or web browser provides an easy and intuitive setup. Additional capability is available with field-installable modules to provide outputs, communications, and AC power functionality when needed.

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BAR CODE IDENTIFICATION WITH THE BEST RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AI Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be very worthwhile when it comes to identifying the bar codes on goods. Interfering factors can be identified quickly and easily both during commissioning of a system and during operation.

No need for time-consuming searches Bar code readers are sensors used to identify goods and materials in production or logistics. They do so by detecting bar codes that meet one of a number of standards and then supplying the IDs of the bar codes to a superior system. When using these devices in automated applications, the main objective is to achieve the highest possible reading quality: Essentially, when bar code readers detect the labels, the quality with which they perform this task varies, and this quality can be indicated as a percentage. The percentage relates to the contrast detected. If the value is below a certain threshold, the label is no longer read. One challenge faced by system operators is to find bar code readers as quickly as possible when they are no longer providing sufficient reading quality, and to determine the reasons for this – without additional data regarding the possible sources of error, this can be a time-consuming task. Particularly in large systems, for example in intralogistics, that have up to 1,000 bar code readers 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021


and kilometer-long transport routes, the search is like looking for a needle in haystack: If in doubt, a technician must trace the entire route of a transport material in order to identify a poorly aligned sensor or the interfering factors in its direct environment, all while under time pressure. The situation is made worse by borderline cases, such as when the bar code reader is somewhat aligned and reads successfully most of the time, but occasionally does not detect labels. This may be because the bar code reader is slightly inclined or only reads in the border area, or other factors may play a role, for example labels of insufficient quality. Factors that influence reading quality However, generating corresponding data to find the causes of errors using the bar code reader itself is only possible under certain circumstances. It is true that the sensors monitor their own status and transfer data to the superior system via OPC UA if required. However, this self-monitoring has only very limited

functionality – a sensor only considers its own view. This means that it sends information such as “I’m currently reading,” “Excellent reading,” or “Very poor reading” – i.e. its calculated percentage reading quality. The reason for the poor reading quality cannot be identified by the individual device. There are three possible influential factors in this case: The device itself, the bar code label and interfering factors in the environment. Possible sources of error relating to the bar code reader itself include poor alignment to the labels to be detected or a technical fault. In turn, labels can be damaged, soiled or poorly printed, which, depending on the degree of damage or printing quality, may only reduce the reading quality or may prevent identification entirely. Interfering factors in the environment include vibrations, dust, and glare caused by sunlight or emitters in the background. Humidity, for example in cold stores, can be an interfering factor if this causes fogging on the scanning window of the bar code reader.


Artificial intelligence provides the context AI can help to distinguish the various causes from one another and in doing so identify the reasons for interferences or poor reading quality. Leuze is working with an automobile manufacturer to develop a solution that enhances sensors with data from the overall context. The advantage of this is that the bar code readers remain operational as usual without additional work being generated for the customer during installation. The data volumes are large: Many labels pass by many bar code readers during the process and are read at various installation locations. This is where the overall context comes from. In mathematical terms, this overall context can be described as an equation with many unknowns – countless bar code readers, labels that crop up even more frequently and the various installation locations of the readers. At every station and for every label there is a different result in terms of reading quality percentage. AI solves this complicated equation system and answers the questions about whether a

poor reading quality occurs always with a particular bar code reader, only with one label or a particular label type or always at a particular installation location. Machine learning via recommendation algorithms To a c h i e v e t h i s , L e u z e u s e s recommendation algorithms, i.e. AI-based recommendation methods. These are the same methods that are used by streaming services, for example, to evaluate user behavior and recommend corresponding films or series based on this analysis. In this user behavior analogy, the bar codes correspond to the films and the bar code readers to the users of the streaming services. The recommendation algorithm rates a label as more or less “attractive” for different bar code readers. In this way, it is possible to determine which sensor or which label with a certain percentage is “unattractrive”, i.e. borderline or noticeably problematic.

Per edge device or cloud In technical terms, an AI-based solution of this kind can be implemented via edge devices or a cloud, depending on the customer requirements and the respective system. An edge device is a separate device that is located in the vicinity of a sensor group and gathers, analyses and passes on the data of the sensor group. Multiple edge devices can be connected to one another. Since an edge device is capable of two-way communication, not just gathering and evaluating data but also sending the analysis back to the sensors, a bar code reader can also pass on this information and report that there is a problem. The advantage of this is there is no need to make any changes to the IT architecture of the customer. Alternatively, the solution can be operated via a cloud if data from separate locations is to be merged. Significant potential for savings Leuze’s approach of using AI-based recommendations to identify errors offers huge advantages both during commissioning and during operation of a system. Fast commissioning saves time and money. In this case, it is useful if the causes of poor reading quality are identified immediately. During operation, this method enables predictive maintenance. This means that if a shutdown will soon be required, system operators can take suitable measures in good time and, for example, manufacture and outsource in advance so that they can continue to supply their customers. In some cases, data from multiple years can be used to facilitate this early detection. In addition, the system learns continuously. Therefore, using AI is always worthwhile when it comes to quickly and reliably identifying factors that interfere with the identification of bar codes on goods.

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QUICK-ACTION INTEGRATION VIA IO-LINK New MD7 system from Leuze makes automation easier: IO-Link master, hubs and sensors enable high-performance systems to be implemented in the smart factory.


he new MD7 system from Leuze enables powerful automation. It is easy to integrate: IO-Link hubs are a cost-effective way for users to integrate additional digital sensors into the system as required and extend the system in a flexible and economical manner. This ensures that users benefit from consistently transparent data and processes. Thanks to the synchronized system of IO-Link masters and Leuze sensors, the connected machines have a high level of standardization. All of the IO-Link modules as well as connected sensors and actuators can be quickly and easily commissioned, configured and centrally monitored via a web browser. Future security is guaranteed with IOLink: Backward compatibility means that, even years later, sensors with older dates of manufacture can be integrated into systems with the latest specification.

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IO-Link masters with multi-protocol capability The IO-Link masters work with a variety of protocols. In a single device, they support the Ethernet-based fieldbus protocols for real-time communication. Communication via Modbus TCP is also possible. This can be used to connect to simpler PLCs, operating terminals or SCADA systems, for example. The advantage: Flexibility when choosing the modules and a high level of standardization with lower complexity. This reduces the stocking costs and streamlines maintenance. A Leuze device model facilitates communication via OPC UA. This variant can be integrated directly into cloud-based systems and, with its web-based configuration, it can also be operated as a stand-alone solution. The integrated web server with IODD interpreter allows all the connected IO-Link devices to be configured. The masters offer a multitude of ways to retrieve diagnostic and status information – either on the device or via a web server.

device information, diagnostic data and event messages. Ethernet-based I/O modules combine the data and connect the machine modules to the control and superior systems. This allows modular expansion of the machine. Time-saving and practical for maintenance: If a sensor needs to be replaced, the master automatically uploads the configuration to the new device.

Flexible integration of sensors IO-Link sensors integrated into the MD7 system transmit not only process data,

Wiring made easy The IO-Link modules have an M12 Power connector. This enables power connection of the modules irrespective of the used Ethernet protocol. The connectors deliver around 80 percent more power than 7/8” connectors. In daisy-chain applications – where hardware components are connected to one another in series – significantly more modules can be wired together without requiring any additional power. This reduces installation and wiring requirements and offers an advantage in cases where space in the machine is limited.


The IO-Link master can be flexibly integrated into the control and the cloud thanks to its multiprotocol capability.

Wiring is easy thanks to standard M12 Power connectors.

The integrated web server provides easy access to diagnostics and configuration.

IO-Link components from Leuze are easy to integrate across manufacturers.

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FROM GOOD WOOD Fully automatic wood parts inspection.


ou always need and see them everywhere: in metalworking, on the construction site, in almost every toolbox … the good old hand brush. Whether classic all-purpose brushes or brushes for special applications, the German-based company Lessmann GmbH has virtually all of them in its range. The shape is varied, from straight to ergonomic. But they all have one thing in common: The wooden bodies are made exclusively from untreated red beech. Depending on the model, they also have two hanging holes at the end of the handle. Production is fully automatic and highly rational. In order to ensure its own claim to the excellent quality of the hand brush woods, Lessmann has been relying on classic image processing for many years. But now “The German Brush Company” has implemented an image processing system from the Bavarian system house Simon IBV GmbH that uses robust IDS industrial cameras and SIMAVIS® H image processing software to detect even barely perceptible tolerance deviations particularly reliably.

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Application The brush woods, which are milled fully automatically at a production rate of 1500 pieces per hour, are removed from the milling machine by a timed circulating chain with quiver-shaped receptacles and pushed onto a longitudinal conveyor belt. A multi-camera system is installed on the conveyor belt, which checks the 2 to 6-row hand-brushed timbers for defects such as cracks, splintering and size. “The testing task is particularly demanding because the untreated copper beech varies greatly in its colour and grain. For example, cracks cannot always be clearly distinguished from dark grains,” explains Daniel Simon, authorised signatory at SIMON IBV. But the choice of wood type has good reasons: On the one hand, red beech is recommended for the production of hand brushes due


such as length, width, height, symmetry and shape deviations are evaluated. The holes in the brush body are checked for position and overlap, followed by step-by-step surface inspection.

to its excellent properties, such as a special degree of hardness. On the other hand, sustainability plays a major role. Lessmann can source the brush wood from the surrounding area and thus both support regional forestry and avoid transport routes. While the timbers pass through production on a conveyor belt, a total of four IDS cameras of the type GigE uEye FA are triggered by a so-called incremental encoder. This sensor reacts to the belt position so that any change in position of the brush body is detected by the belt movement. The image capture is offset by 2.5 mm per camera, so each camera takes a new image every 10 mm. The captured images are discarded until the first camera detects that there is a wooden body in the field of view. From

this point on, the other three cameras are activated and up to 35 pictures are taken per camera. The number of images is limited by camera 1, as it outputs as soon as no more brush body is visible. The images captured by the IDS cameras are pre-processed and composited simultaneously with the image capture. Thus, during the time of evaluation, the image acquisition as well as the preprocessing of the next brush can already take place. The individual images of the same situation from the four offset cameras are cropped, scaled and merged into one overall image by the software. The brush bodies are evaluated with differently weighted criteria for each camera. The weighting is done via the test sequence of the evaluation criteria. In a first step, rough geometric factors

“First, dark areas are segmented and evaluated according to setpoint specifications,” explains Matthias Eimer, system integrator at Simon IBV. “After that, deviating discolourations are searched for, singled out and evaluated according to setpoint specifications.” Even the tolerances for rough spots can be set in the target values and are subsequently evaluated. Only in the last step of the frame-by-frame evaluation do the cameras search for cracks. Finally, the overall result is formed and merged from the individual evaluations of the views. The system checks a total of 32 setpoints, 27 of which alone for compliance with precisely defined tolerance specifications. The uEye cameras used from the FA family are particularly robust and therefore predestined for use in such a harsh environment as the brush factory. Camera housings, lens tubes and the screwable connectors meet the requirements of protection class IP65/67. They are also optimally suited for the multi-camera operation required here due to the integrated image memory, as this decouples the image capture from the image transmission and enables the buffering of images before transmission in this application. The GV-5280FA industrial cameras with GigE Vision firmware are equipped with Sony’s IMX264 2/3” global shutter CMOS sensor, which also provides excellent image quality, high light sensitivity and 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



Illustration of shape testing: Are the outer dimensions of the brush body within the tolerance? Is the brush body asymmetrical or deformed? Do the holes have the correct diameter and position?

Surface inspection: Are the dark or coloured areas permissible? Are there any rough spots or cracks?

Dark spots are segmented and evaluated according to setpoint specifications.

an exceptionally high dynamic range. The four CMOS cameras used deliver almost noise-free, very high-contrast 5 MP images. With exactly these features, the camera model recommended itself for use in demanding brush testing. “The camera has the right resolution, the Sony sensor is very good and the protection class is met,” says Daniel Simon, summing up the selection criteria. IDS cameras are easy to integrate, true to the company motto “It’s so easy”, as Daniel Simon knows from his many years of cooperation with IDS. The heart of the solution is the solution provider’s specially developed software. Software SIMAVIS® H is an image processing software with which complete solutions 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021



Results output

can be quickly assembled. This machine vision software is based on ProVision® (former SIEMENS development) and HALCON, a comprehensive standard software for industrial image processing with integrated development environment. This allows individual adaptation to the requirements of testing the wooden brush bodies: “The check for defects was programmed by us individually by hand, we have a lot of experience in the field of wooden surfaces. The tolerance thresholds can be set by the many setpoints depending on the feature,” Daniel Simon emphasises. SIMAVIS® H offers an intuitive user interface for the operating personnel of the finished system, including manual and automatic operation with type management, setpoint menu, authorisation concept, language switching, statistics module and much more. Outlook “Through the control, automatic further processing is possible. With the new imaging solution, wood defects can now be detected more reliably. The proportion of defective wood bodies classified as good has fallen from around 2 per cent to less than 1 per cent,” explains Managing Director Jürgen Lessmann. The

subsequent filling of the brush bodies with wire is already fully automatic, and the packaging of the finished hand brushes can be carried out in future with the help of robotics. Due to the improved control of the wooden bodies, the previously necessary manual quality control of the finished hand brush can be omitted. Before packing, which is carried out by a SCARA robot, only a brief visual inspection is necessary. This relieves the machine personnel and increases productivity. In this exemplary application, the use of artificial intelligence also offers further potential in the future. “AI will probably further improve the inspection result, which will allow further automation of production, as manual inspection operations can be eliminated,” Jürgen Lessmann predicts. And not only for brushes made of good wood: the multicamera testing system can be adapted for countless products and materials.

the form of technical brushes “Made in Germany” since 1948. State-of-the-art production facilities, consistent quality controls and permanent tests ensure the high quality of the brushes. SIMON IBV GmbH is a manufacturer of solutions in the field of industrial image processing. Furthermore, the company is the developer of its own standard software for image evaluation as well as the manufacturer of hardware components specially designed for optical inspection systems.

Client Lessmann GmbH is one of the leading producers of surface finishing tools in Europe. At its production sites in Oettingen in Bavaria and Solingen in North Rhine-Westphalia, Lessmann has been manufacturing surface tools in 05 - AUTOMATION Mag - June 2021