Wi-fi applied sciences in in the present day's manufacturing

Do you remember those annoying communication cables? Not only were they frequently damaged or disconnected, but they also required frequent maintenance and were responsible for many unexpected downtime.


By Digital Transformation Leader for ANZ Jozef Ceh.

Fast forward to 2011 at the legendary Hanover Fair in Germany, where the words "Industry 4.0" were pronounced for the first time, and more recently to the innovations that have taken the manufacturing industry to unimaginable heights.

The industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past ten years and will continue to do so. For many companies at home and abroad, smart factories have once again focused on industrial networking capabilities. Newer communication protocols and technologies such as EtherNet / IP, RFID and Bluetooth are making their presence known in the factory. Wireless is invaluable in any industry or application where motion applications with communication cables are regularly used. In addition, there is the demand for wireless technologies for robot and cobot applications, which is increasing rapidly from year to year.

Get to know the EX600-W

SMC's answer to wireless technologies is the recently introduced EX600-W field bus system. It was developed in response to the ever increasing need for reliable wireless communication technologies in the factory. The system enables industrial companies to have consistent, noise-free communication. Data is encrypted and can be quickly connected and changed.

This innovative flexibility means fewer problems with cables, maintenance, breakage and disconnection in the factory. The EX600-W can start communicating with remote units in just 250 ms. The base unit is connected to a standard industrial Ethernet connection such as Ethernet / IP or PROFINET. The base can communicate wirelessly and control up to 127 remote units within a range of up to 10 meters.

These remote units can be attached to analog, digital and pneumatic devices to provide control functions for I / O and valves. The system has an IP address and therefore has decentralized point-to-multipoint communication.

Cabling options

There are two main types of cables used in modern industrial environments: copper and fiber optic cables. Traditionally, copper wiring was preferred in the factory setting, but more recently there have been some shortcomings and safety concerns.

First, the volume of data that it can allow is limited – which is becoming increasingly problematic with the further development of Industry 4.0 technologies. Second, if damaged, it can present a spark risk that makes it unsafe. After all, it's inherently susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) from other industrial applications.

Fiber optic cabling overcomes many of these problems. It offers data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps and can be used for much longer runs of up to 2 km. In addition, fiber optic cables address security concerns. However, it is important to note that these are more expensive and require a specialist to install them.

EX600-W and (OEE)

What is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)?

When developing products in the modern world of manufacturing, SMC uses the term “OEE”. OEE is more than a buzzword, it's a key metric to measure the performance of your production processes. The focus is on production losses and can be classified as follows: availability, performance and quality.

Availability × performance × quality or (good number × ideal cycle time) / planned production time.

We are proud to say that the EX600-W meets these requirements and plays a critical role in the uptime of plants across the continent.

About SMC

SMC was founded over 60 years ago and operates in 83 countries. The company employs 19,000 people worldwide. The company has an R&D engineering team of 1,450 people and 8,200 sales people who are experts in their fields and who work closely with SMC's customers. To provide automation solutions for its diverse customer base, SMC offers more than 12,000 basic products with over 700,000 variations. SMC is the world's leading pneumatics company and has been selected as one of the world's most innovative companies by leading business magazine Forbes for three years in a row. FORBES Global 2000 is listed as one of the world's largest listed companies.

More information is available at smcanz.com.

For sales inquiries, contact AUsales@smcanz.com or NZsales@smcanz.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Rene Rose rrose@positiv.co.com or M +61 474 476344.

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