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      • Published 27 Mar 2023
      • Last Modified 4 Sept 2023
    • 3 min

    Industry 4.0

    Industry 4.0

    The fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, driven by technologies, such as IoT, advanced robotics and cloud computing, is dramatically impacting how manufacturing and production sectors operate. The factories are becoming smarter, more autonomous and less wasteful while reducing overall operating costs.

    The new era of industrial automation will have implications for industrial motor control. With more than 40% of global electricity being used for running electric motors and systems, the industry is gradually transitioning towards improving its efficiency as well as reliability.

    One of the pillars of adopting Industry 4.0 is a reliable and secure communication infrastructure. It is an enabling factor for various advanced platforms and applications in an industrial setting, such as predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, industrial edge computing and more.

    With more sensors being installed on the machines, communication and connectivity solutions that can withstand harsh environmental conditions are being adopted.

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    Brushless Motor Solutions for Industry 4.0

    According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than 40% of global electricity is used for running electric motors and systems that are often outdated and inefficient. With increasing rates of pollution and depletion of world energy reserves, industry is gradually advancing towards optimising the efficiency of industrial motors and drivers.

    For industrial motor control, safety and reliability are important factors that also need to be taken into consideration when selecting which motor control technology to use. Another emerging trend that has been prevalent in recent years is the integration of several components into a single package to help design solutions with minimal real estate usage.

    Unboxing the EVALKIT-ROBOT-1

    Watch as Kamilla unboxes the EVALKIT-ROBOT-1 reference design kit for brushless servo control from STMicroelectronics.

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    The Next Industrial Revolution

    With the evolution of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), factories are transitioning to a more digitised and connected environment, where data from machines and equipment is continuously monitored to improve manufacturing processes.

    As more sensors are being installed, an increasing number of IP67-rated interconnections that can withstand harsh conditions of the factory floor are being deployed on machines.

    IO-link is a major enabling force for IIoT and smart factories. It is an open communication standard that can enable the integration of various sensors, be they analogue, binary or digital, into the control system. Additionally, with IP-67-rated housing, IO modules can operate in harsh environments where liquids, dust or vibration may be present without the need for a protective cabinet.

    Another trend in the industrial environment that has been prominent with the adoption of Industry 4.0 is shifting from proprietary and serial fieldbus infrastructure towards Ethernet-based networks like PROFINET and EtherNet/IP. There are now Ethernet communication and connectivity solutions available with products specifically rated for the toughest industrial requirements in applications such as food and beverage, automotive, material handling and much more.

    Wireless Connectivity and Sensors

    Reliable and secure communication infrastructure is of paramount importance to adopting Industry 4.0, along with sensing and data processing technologies.

    Today the use cases for wireless communication are gradually increasing within the industrial environment in applications such as the Internet of Things, monitoring and control, and industrial automation.

    Featured products include:

    • Bluetooth components: for IoT and M2M communications
    • Wi-Fi modules: easy hardware and software integration to existing Wi-Fi network
    • Proprietary: RF modules tailored to your specific needs
    • Wireless m-Bus: automated data collection from energy/water metering devices

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