Manufacturing 4.0: Balluff at Bosch Connected World

Balluff presents itself at Bosch Connected World 2018 as an enabler for the Industrial Internet of Things

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) begins with sensors, as demonstrated by Balluff at Bosch Connected World 2018 and the accompanying Hackathon Bosch Connected Experience.

Press kit (ZIP file)

Production Performance panel discussion

Balluff Managing Director Florian Hermle (center) presents the advantages of an IO-Link gateway for monitoring and managing equipment status during the Production Performance panel discussion.

Together with more than 3800 participants, the sensor and automation specialist demonstrated at one of Europe’s largest IoT conferences how its solutions are making the industrial Internet of Things possible. They provide developers with the information that innovative software solutions are based on. Balluff showcased specific applications for predictive maintenance and supported the integrated hackathon as a hack enabler. More than 700 software specialists from all over Europe spent two days developing innovations for the IIoT at Bosch Connected World 2018.

Balluff has been a supplier to Bosch for more than 20 years. The sensor and automation specialist has enjoyed that status of preferred supplier for six years now, and has implemented a variety of joint sensor developments together with Bosch in that time. Last year, Bosch honored Balluff with the Bosch Global Supplier Award for the third year in a row. At Bosch Connected World, Balluff used industrial applications to demonstrate how its IO-Link solutions with data collection and transport can provide the necessary data basis for the IIoT. The first application was an intelligent machine bed with two Rexroth linear drives. Sensors measure the temperature of the coolant they contain. For demonstration purposes, one drive was adequately lubricated while the other was not. The temperature sensors were connected to an IO-Link hub. This hub converts the signals into IO-Link, making the analog temperature sensor intelligent. The exhibit will also be on display at the Bosch stand at the Hannover Messe 2018.

Open industry standard: the PPM protocol

The entire system communicates via a Balluff IO-Link master and the PPM protocol (PPMP—Production Performance Management Protocol) developed by Bosch. The open source IIoT protocol enables small and mid-sized companies to transmit data from their sensors to the production systems of large corporations—quick, easy and secure. When an increase in temperature is measured, conclusions can be drawn about the current wear status of the drives. The collected data is immediately visualized and analyzed in the Bosch Production Performance Manager. “Our sensors serve as sources of data. The data they collect is transported via our networking technology and PPMP and is then available for analysis,” explains Project Manager Philipp Echteler. “In this way, manufacturers of machines and equipment have the opportunity to provide predictive maintenance for their products and replace worn parts in a timely manner. This prevents machine downtime, significantly reducing costs.”

Easy installation through IO-Link

The two application examples —a non-circular lathe from the Weisser company and a machine bed from the Rampf company—demonstrated the strengths of IO-Link technology. The lathe identifies the tools it needs using a RFID system from Balluff and IO-Link. In the machine bed, a Balluff IO-Link master serves as the data collector for the cloud via PPMP interface. IO-Link has decisive advantages when connecting intelligent sensors or actuators: “The more sensors users want to connect, the more these advantages become evident: Installation is simple, fast and above all error-free. Furthermore, IO-Link is synonymous with streamlined cabling and system concepts and conserves space in the control cabinet,” explains Dr. Elmar Büchler, Industry Manager at Balluff.

Genuine IIoT data sources

Thanks to IO-Link, sensors can be used as genuine IIoT data sources. Easy installation is just one of IO-Link’s strengths. Its greatest added value for IIoT applications comes from bidirectional communication with the sensor. Internal data such as temperature, service life or information on switching functionality are now available thanks to IO-Link. For example, the new optical sensor BOS21M ADCAP can be used to determine how much light is returned by an object. This measurement can be used to predict when a machine may stop working due to coating with debris.

Balluff as a hack enabler

Balluff supported participants in the Connected Manufacturing segment of the Bosch Connected Experience by providing three of its own employees as “hack coaches.” In just two days, the resulting combination of products from Balluff and the development skills of the participants led to innovative new applications for predictive maintenance, condition monitoring and data analysis. For example, Team WeldDone, which came in first place at the hackathon, developed a solution to evaluate welding seams. The team used among others an optical laser sensor from Balluff to detect the welding seam. In contrast to similar solutions they did not use any control technology. “The hackathon presents the opportunity for us to see how our robust industrial products—already in use in industrial automation for decades now—can be made to perform even better in new application fields in the Internet of Things, thereby opening the door to entirely new business models,” says Managing Director Florian Hermle. “Being present firsthand to watch 700 hackers, automation specialists and business model experts spend two days testing the limits of existing technology was a very special experience for us as well,” says Hermle in summarizing his impressions of the hackathon.

About Balluff

Founded in 1921 in Neuhausen a.d.F., Balluff employs 3,600 people worldwide and represents innovative technology, quality and cross-industry experience in industrial automation. As a leading sensor and automation specialist, the family-owned company in its fourth generation offers a comprehensive portfolio of innovative sensor, identification and network technologies and software for integrated system solutions.

In 2016, Balluff Group reported revenues of around EUR 378 million. In addition to the main headquarters in Neuhausen a. d. F., Balluff has sales, production and development locations around the world and can boast 37 wholly owned subsidiaries and other representatives in 68 countries. This guarantees customers rapid worldwide availability of products and high consulting and service quality on site.

About Bosch ConnectedWorld

The IoT sector is gathering for the fifth time at the Bosch ConnectedWorld (BCW) conference to discuss trends and topics while gaining new insights into the networked world of tomorrow. With over 140 presentations from leading industrial companies and more than 3,500 visitors, Bosch ConnectedWorld is one of the largest international conferences on the Internet of Things for board members, businesspeople and journalists.

About Bosch ConnectedExperience

Bosch ConnectedExperience (BCX) is a two-day Internet of Things hackathon held within the scope of Bosch ConnectedWorld. It is the largest hackathon of its kind in Europe. More than 700 developers compete in various categories such as autonomous driving, manufacturing and connected buildings. Bosch and other partners like Balluff are present as hack enablers to assist participants with hardware and expertise.