Multitasking Controllers for IIoT Machines

IIoT is all about communication, and the latest machine controllers are at the heart of this new extended infrastructure. Machine controllers were part of the operational technology (OT), but this is changing. Now, the crossover with information technology (IT) and internet enabled systems is multi-layered, thus demanding multitasking controllers.

Delivery of high-end machine performance is often via a PLC / Machine controller that also communicates with other machines in real-time. This provides live production data and feeds information into upper-level systems such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). As well as managing safety monitoring systems, supporting OEE frameworks, sending big data to Edge controllers and cloud-based processing solutions, it provides MES layers with operational data and even helps manage active AI enabled maintenance systems.

Multitasking Controllers

The need to multitask while maintaining precise control over machines suits a modular PLC construction. The latest IoT Gateway available for Mitsubishi Electric’s advanced iQ-R Series PLC is an ideal example. It uses the OPC-UA standard designed to provide a direct exchange from smart OT devices to cloud based systems.

In conjunction with an ICONICS SCADA suite the IoT Gateway can access real-time-data from multiple automation devices and robot controllers. It makes them accessible for effortless on-screen monitoring and management, both on-premises or in a cloud environment.

This allows users to benefit from the predictive maintenance functions built-in to the robots that use AI to predict conditions in advance and make suggestions for servicing or parts replacements. Accessing this information anywhere in the world empowers personnel to work remotely and enjoy the advantage of their Smart factory.

The machine controller and its communication modules can also drive plant-wide automation system efficiencies and lead to higher productivity. Using an IoT Gateway and iQ-R modular PLC as a hub simplifies IIoT enabled control and management environments. It makes more of the controller’s capability while creating transparency within the IT systems.

Time Sensitive Networks

Introducing a time sensitive network such as CC-Link IE TSN can increase the speed and synchronisation of a production line. Synchronising everything in real-time, from in-feed machinery to CNC machines tools, conveyors, assembly systems, testing, marking, robot loading systems, and packing and palletising minimises micro-delays and choke points.

Moreover, implementing OPC UA, MQTT and an Azure IoT Hub linking ERP and MES layers to the PLC at the heart of the system via the IoT gateway allows production staff and management to plan and report factory output based on demand and availability.

Control at the Edge

Using multitasking controllers in the IIoT ecosystem integrates with Edge controllers or cloud processing platforms with additional operational benefits. Edge computing has become more important for data analytics. It provides a low latency solution for interpreting big-data and monitoring the trends recorded. Alongside this, cloud computing is useful for complex but less time-sensitive analysis on larger data sets required for deep learning.

Mitsubishi Electric’s MELIPC Edge controller captures data from the PLC for local processing for data needing fast analysis. It also uses the same protocols as the IoT Gateway, for integration with the Cloud, including OPC UA and MQTT.

It is also an example of enabling artificial intelligence (AI). The MELIPC uses machine learning to analyse collected data and generate a model of the machine’s operational state. This model can detect variations in the machine’s performance in real time. By providing feedback, it offers early warnings and advice on factors that can impact on quality, efficiency, and output volumes.

These practical examples illustrate how smart multitasking controllers are finding their place in machines for the IIoT era.

If you would like us to explain how we work closely as Mitsubishi Electric Innovation Parners, and how we can help you with on your journey to smart energy management, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, by calling, emailing or using our contact form below.

Multitasking Controllers for IIoT Machines

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