Industry 4.0 + IIoT
4IR is a term often loosely used to encompass seemingly all new technologies, in every application, despite its origins as Industrie 4.0. The programme was developed in Germany in 2011/12 to address Germany’s concerns around its declining population, with not enough young people to take up the roles of the country’s highly qualified but aging manufacturing workforce, and to ensure its competitive manufacturing position into the future. Yanesh Naidoo, Sales and Design Director at Jendamark Automation, makes the point that South Africa, Africa, and most of the developing world face quite the opposite population picture and quite different challenges. He cautions against an attempted ‘copy and paste’ of the 4IR model from the developed world to Africa, and says, “We should, instead, be using new technologies to address our own problems and create African solutions.” These in turn could be exportable. Naidoo highlights some examples of where and how this is already happening.
From the perspective of the developed world, on the other hand, John Browett, General Manager, CLPA-Europe, highlights the potential of leading edge, time-sensitive networking technology to unify multiple different industrial Ethernet protocols on the same network infrastructure. Where industry is already highly automated, TSN will enable different islands of automation in a production plant to be connected and can extend that connectivity to asset management, predictive maintenance and related information and operational technologies.
Energy management + the industrial environment
The energy landscape is changing worldwide – and similarly so in South Africa. The shift to clean, renewable energy sources, the use of alternative fuels such as gas, the drive to onsite hybrid power generation and localised micro-grids, all raise new challenges – and multiple opportunities. Just this week government is talking of relaxing the regulations restricting industry in its scope for onsite self-generation of power and the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has introduced the idea of a new power generation company in the country. There are a number of new players in this field offering industry new options in securing and managing power supply.
Plant maintenance, test + measurement
Schneider Electric outlines seven strategies to maintain electrical distribution equipment and highlights the benefits of a consistent maintenance programme encompassing those maintenance options that will deliver best value for the individual plant.
Taking a specific focus on the case of a six-tonne induction motor recently fully repaired by LH Marthinusen, Electrical Engineer Boris Breganski explains the combination of factors that led to stress corrosion cracking of the component materials of the rotor and the repair work required.
Sensors + switches
Intelligent sensors and switches are essential components in industrial automation – and particularly so in IIoT. In this feature, Endress+Hauser presents a ‘behind the scenes’ view on the work of the product developers who are changing the way sensors, switches and measurement instruments inform smart industrial processes today – and will do so into the future.
ifm presents a case study that illustrates how photoelectric sensors and a fully updated PLC – put to work in a furniture finishing line – have improved the reliability of the process and the precision and quality in the finished product.